Actor Stuart Whitman has died at the age of 92 following a battle with skin cancer. According to a family friend who spoke to TMZ, Whitman, best known for his westerns and a staple of television and movies throughout the '60s, '70s and '80s, passed away Monday afternoon at his Montecito, California home surrounded by loved ones. At this time, a cause of death has not been revealed, though the famed actor had reportedly been in and out of the hospital due to skin cancer that had spread into his bloodstream.
Born on Feb. 1, 1928 in San Francisco, California, Whitman's interest in acting began at the age of five, and when he was 12, he appeared in three summer stock plays in New York, according to his biography on the People Pill. After relocating to Los Angeles with his family and graduating high school in 1945, Whitman enlisted in the United States Army and served in the Corps of Engineers for three years. He was honorably discharged in 1948, and although he initially intended to follow in his father’s footsteps with a career in law, he used the G.I. Bill to enroll in Los Angeles City College with a minor in drama. It was there that he was noticed by an acting scout, and he made his screen debut in 1951's When Worlds Collide.
In all, Whitman racked up more than 150 credits throughout his three-decade-long acting career, quickly becoming a major face in westerns. He was best known for his role opposite John Wayne in 1961's The Comancheros.
His other credits include The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), One Minute to Zero (1952), Hell Bound (1957), Johnny Trouble (1957), These Thousand Hills (1958), and The Mark (1961). His last credit was in 2000's The President's Man. His role as Jim Fuller in The Mark even earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
"I was living in North Hollywood and heard the nomination on the radio while driving," Whitman recalled in a 2014 interview with The Oklahoman. "I was shocked and almost crashed the car."
Whitman eventually retired from acting and spent his time at his 30-acre California ranch.
"I've lived there for 45 years, in between the mountains and the ocean," he said. "It's a beautiful spot."
Whitman is survived by his five children, four of which he had with his first wife and one of whom he had with his second wife.