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While filming “Cimarron City”, Robert was summoned to the office of Patrick Kelly, Revue Studio’s Vice President of Talent.  He went there actually thinking he was going to be fired.  However, Kelly told Robert he liked the work he had done in a number of shows over the previous year and wanted him to do a TV series.

This was a very exciting prospect for Robert; however excitement soon turned to disappointment when Kelly offered him the second lead in "Markham", a detective series starring Ray Milland.  Robert refused the role on the grounds he wanted to do a western.

Kelly was naturally dumbfounded that his offer was being refused but he accepted Robert's decision.  Then a couple of weeks later Robert was summoned once again to Patrick Kelly's office.  This time Robert was offered a part in a new 30 minute western called “Laramie”.  Robert read the script and loved it, but again things were about to turn awkward.  

Robert was offered the role of Slim Sherman, but Robert wanted the part of Jess Harper!!!

So again Kelly found himself being refused.  He explained to Robert that John Smith, under contract with Revue Studios, had already been signed to the role of Jess Harper. Yet again Robert stuck to his guns and the two men parted without agreement.

Robert left Patrick Kelly’s office thinking that was the end of his career – you don’t turn down those opportunities once, let alone twice!  

However there was a twist - The very same day Robert's agent called to say Patrick Kelly wanted him to test for the part of Jess Harper.  The next day Robert Fuller was given the role that he wanted so much, a role that was truly made for him, a role that would make him an international star and transform his life.

John Smith took the role of Slim Sherman and hindsight shows that these were the right roles for each of them.  Robert Fuller WAS Jess Harper and John Smith WAS Slim Sherman.  Had that role reversal not taken place “Laramie” would not have worked nearly as well as it did.

Over the next four years Robert immortalized the character of JESS HARPER and gained millions of fans worldwide. Robert said of this role that it was the best part he ever played.

In February, 1959, Robert appeared on an episode of “Cimarron City” titled “Blind is the Killer”.  Robert’s career had progressed to the point where he was getting guest star billing.  John Smith, one of the series leads on “Cimarron City” and Robert had first worked together in the movie “Friendly Persuasion”.

It was this appearance that led to Robert Fuller being offered the role of Jess Harper in “Laramie”.

The story goes as follows:

Following “Friendly Persuasion”, Robert had a number of small speaking parts and then in 1956 came his first big break in “Teenage Thunder”.

Robert and his good friend Chuck Courtney staged a fight to convince the director, Paul Helmick, he was the right man for the part. Originally Helmick had wanted Edd Byrnes, but after seeing Chuck and Robert perform, Helmick gave the role of bad guy Maurie Weston to Robert.

That same year Robert did “The Brain from Planet Arous” starring John Agar, working for the same company and production team as “Teenage Thunder”.

"The Brain from Planet Arous" has become a science fiction cult favorite and after over 50 years is still available on DVD.

“Brain” was followed by a part in a science fiction series called “Outpost in Space” where Robert played a bad guy who was killed in the 3rd episode.

Robert spent the next couple of years doing featured and guest star roles in a variety of TV programs, primarily westerns, details of which can be found in our FILMOGRAPHY.

Joe Cole In

Cimarron City

In December 1962, while Laramie was still at its peak Robert married Patty Lyon.