Patricia Blair, an actress who played resourceful women in 1960s television westerns like “Daniel Boone” and “The Rifleman,” died on Sept. 9 at her home in North Wildwood, N.J. She was 80.
The cause was breast cancer, Amber Hennessey, a friend and neighbor, said.
Standing 5 feet 9 inches tall, Ms. Blair could fit in the same frame as lanky co-stars like Fess Parker, who played Daniel Boone, and Chuck Connors, the star of “The Rifleman.” She played the hotel owner Lou Mallory on “The Rifleman” starting in 1962 and Rebecca Boone, Daniel’s wife, for the show’s six-year run on NBC beginning in 1964.
Patsy Lou Blake was born in Fort Worth, Tex., on Jan. 15, 1933. She started modeling as a teenager and was 17 when she moved to Los Angeles to act. Producers there persuaded her to change her name to Patricia Blake, and later Blair, because, they said, it sounded more sophisticated.
Her first movie was “Jump Into Hell” (1955), about the battle of Dien Bien Phu in French Indochina. She appeared in the horror film “The Black Sleep” (1956), starring Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr., and the 1959 film “City of Fear” before turning to television. Ms. Blair also acted in “The Virginian,” “Bonanza” and other westerns as well as the dramas “Perry Mason” and “Surfside 6.” Her last role was in the 1979 Robert Redford-Jane Fonda movie “The Electric Horseman.”
Her marriage to Martin Colbert ended in divorce. She did not have any immediate survivors, Ms. Hennessey said.
Ms. Blair said she had enjoyed westerns but thought their time may have passed. “They’re a wonderful form of entertainment, but they’re simplistic, almost like passion plays,” she told The Charlotte Observer in 1996. “I don’t know if people want that kind of mythology anymore.”
Born: 1/15/1933, Ft. Worth, Texas, U.S.A.
Died: 9/9/2013, North Wildwood, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Patricia Blair’s westerns – actress:
Yancy Derringer (TV) – 1959 (Goldy)
The Rifleman (TV) – 1962-1963 (Lou Mallory)
The Virginian (TV) – 1963 (Rita Marlow)
Bonanza (TV) – 1964 (Lila Conrad)
Temple Houston (TV) – 1964 (Leslie Hale)
Daniel Boone: Frontier Trail Rider – (TV) – 1966 (Rebecca Boone)
Daniel Bone (TV) – 1964-1970 (Rebecca Boone)
Dusty’s Trail (TV) – 1973 (Mary Ellen Barstow)
The Electric Horseman – 1975 (fashion narrator)