Patrick Douglas Conway (January 9, 1931 – April 24, 1981) was an American actor best known for starring as Sheriff Clay Hollister on the ABC and then syndicated western television series Tombstone Territory (1957–1960).
Conway was born in Los Angeles, California, to director Jack Conway (1887–1952) and the former Virginia Bushman (1908 - 2001). He was a maternal nephew of actor Ralph Bushman (1903–1978), sometimes cited as Francis X. Bushman Jr., and the art director Bruce Bushman (1911–1972). He was a maternal grandson of silent film star Francis X. Bushman (1883–1966).
Work in Westerns
Conway appeared in several Westerns throughout his career. His first film role was in 1951, in the uncredited part of young cowboy Sid Cutler in the film Westward the Women.
In his series, he played the tough Sheriff Hollister in the pre-statehood boom town of Tombstone, located south of Tucson in Arizona Territory and known by the sobriquet, "the town too tough to die". Conway co-starred with Richard Eastham, who played Harris Claibourne, the fictional editor of the town's actual newspaper, The Tombstone Epitaph.
The series ran on ABC in the 1957-1958 season opposite the sitcom Father Knows Best, then on NBC, returned to the ABC schedule for the second half of the 1959 season, and was then placed in syndication before it ceased production in June 1960. Conway, as did Eastham, appeared in all ninety-three episodes.
Quintin Sondergaard played Quint in eleven episodes of the two later seasons. Gilman Rankin starred as Deputy Charlie Riggs in seven episodes, and Dennis Moore (1908–1964) appeared as "Deputy" in five segments. Robert J. Wilke, John Doucette, and Warren Oates all appeared three times, respectively, as Burt Foster, Chief Geronimo, and Bob Pickett.
Among the episodes are "Gunslinger from Galeyville" (the series premiere), "A Bullet for an Editor", "Guns of Silver", "Postmarked for Death", "The Epitaph", "Geronimo", "The Outcasts" (about a religious sect), "The Lady Gambler", "The Black Marshal from Deadwood", and "Doc Holliday in Durango".
Conway guest-starred in numerous other Western series:
(1) Rory Calhoun's CBS series, The Texan in role of Mike Kaler in the 1958 episode "The Troubled Town"
(2) NBC's Laramie as Tom Wade in the episode "The Killer Legend" (December 12, 1961). Wade is a framed ex-convict who returns to Laramie, Wyoming, with the mistaken belief that Sheriff Mort Corey, played by Stuart Randall, had planted evidence against him. While Corey is away, series character Jess Harper (Robert Fuller) is the acting deputy. The plot reveals that Wade was framed, and the culprit was not Corey but Milt Lane, played by Dick Foran, Wade's former employer. Joan Evans plays Wade's wife, Julie, who never stopped believing in him. Kevin Hagen and Harry Lauter play the brothers Roy and Joe Bartell, Lane's henchmen.
(3) NBC's modern-day western Empire as Dan Bishop in the 1963 episode "Season of Growth"
(4) CBS's Rawhide as Reed McCuller in the 1965 episode "Moment in the Sun"
(5) NBC's Chuck Connors series Branded as Johnny Dolan in the 1965 segment "The Bounty"
(6) ABC's The Iron Horse as Brill in the 1966 episode "Big Deal"
(7) ABC's Hondo as Redell in "Hondo and the Singing Wire"; Hondo star Ralph Taeger (born 1936) had also appeared twice with Conway on Tombstone Territory.
(8) NBC's Bonanza, three episodes entitled "The Lonely Runner" as Deputy Sheriff Pete (1965), "The Gentle Ones" as Frank Cole (1967) and "Salute to Yesterday" as Captain Jim Harris (1968)
(9) CBS's Gunsmoke as Quade in "Obie Tater" (1955), as Billy Gunter in "Kitty Caught" (1958), as Toque Morlan in "How to Kill a Friend" (also 1958), and as Varnum in "Shadler" (1973).
He appeared in two western films: (1) as Captain William Maynard in Geronimo (1962), starring Chuck Connors in the title role, and (2) as the villain Jake Irons in Brighty of the Grand Canyon (1967), with co-stars Joseph Cotten and Karl Swenson, a story of a canyon mule filmed in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.
Conway's first on-screen appearance was at the age of 20 in 1951 in the episode "Brief Music" of NBC's Kraft Television Theatre. In 1952, he had the uncredited part of the projectionist in Singin' in the Rain.
In 1955 and 1956, Conway was cast in two historic roles on Walter Cronkite's CBS series You Are There, first as young boxer James J. Corbett, fighting the champion John L. Sullivan, in the segment "The Birth of Modern Boxing: John L. Sullivan—James J. Corbett Battle (September 7, 1892)" and then in the American Revolution segment "Benedict Arnold's Plot Against West Point (September 23, 1780)".
Conway appeared as Mel in the 1955 episode "Radioactive" of Broderick Crawford's syndicated series Highway Patrol. About this time, he appeared in the religion anthology series, Crossroads. In 1956, he portrayed "Joe" in the episode "Woman Afraid" of Four Star Playhouse. In 1957, Conway appeared as Joshua McCabe in the episode "Start Running" of ABC's The West Point Story, a drama about cadets at the United States Military Academy. In 1957, he appeared as Saunders in the episode "Rodeo Rough House" of Rod Cameron's syndicated State Trooper series.
Conway also appeared in two films in 1957, as Sergeant Pete Allen in The Deadly Mantis (science fiction) and as United States Navy Lieutenant Brad Chase in Undersea Girl. While on Tombstone Territory, Conway appeared in the title role of the 1959 episode "The William Courtney Story" of CBS's The Millionaire fantasy drama.
Other dramatic roles were in 1962 as Johnny Bicker in the episode "Devil's Canyon" of the first-run syndicated skydiving adventure series Ripcord, starring Larry Pennell and Ken Curtis, and as Lieutenant Bert Evans in "Squadron" of NBC's The Dick Powell Show. He appeared as Colonel Stone in the 1968 episode "The Professional" of the NBC series Tarzan, starring Ron Ely. His last roles were as Sheriff Townsend in the television movie The Abduction of Saint Anne, and on Karl Malden's ABC police series The Streets of San Francisco, as Victor A. Coyle in "The Bullet" (1972), and as Al Doylen in "Endgame" (1975).