HI FOLKS....           

  Hugh O’Brian, star of motion pictures, television and Broadway, has mastered his craft across the entire spectrum of “Show Business.”  But with all his success, he has never lost sight of the civic and philanthropic opportunities that so-called “Stardom” offers to those who are willing to use their popularity and time to motivate others for a worthy cause.  He has reinvested his good fortune in many ways to help others, working tirelessly to develop projects to benefit young people around the world.

Hugh is the Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY), founded in 1958 to seek out, recognize and develop leadership potential in high school sophomores.  O’Brian says, “Over 365,000 have now gone through HOBY’s leadership development  programs.  We get them when they are 15-16 year old sophomores.  My first 15 year olds are now 65 and 66 years old!  -- WOW!   It is our 52th year of motivating and developing tomorrow’s leaders today!”    In 1955, Hugh was also one of the Founders and first President of the Thalians, a group of young Hollywood stars who formed the organization to help children with mental health problems.  In 1964, he also set up the Hugh O'Brian Acting Awards competition at UCLA, designed to bring recognition to the outstanding young actors and actresses at the University.

Born in 1925 in Rochester, New York, Mr. O'Brian's introduction to diversification came early.  Hugh’s father was a key executive with “Armstrong World,” and was transferred to many cities before taking over the Chicago office in 1930, when Hugh was five years old.  Back then, anything west of the Mississippi was run out of the Chicago office.  Hugh attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, Roosevelt Military Academy in Aledo, Illinois and Kemper Military Academy in Booneville, Missouri.  In high school, his sports activities were diversified among football, basketball, wrestling and track, winning letters in all four sports.  After a semester at the University of Cincinnati with studies charted toward a law career, Mr. O'Brian, at 17, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1943..  He became the youngest Drill Instructor in Marine Corps' history, and during his four year “hitch,” won a coveted Fleet appointment to the United States Naval Academy.  After passing the entrance exams, he declined the appointment, deciding instead to enroll at Yale University to study law.

After serving his four years and receiving his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps in 1947, Mr. O'Brian went to Los Angeles where he planned to earn some extra money for his Yale education.  He met Ruth Roman and Linda Christian, very successful actresses at the time, who introduced him to a “little theatre” group.  When a leading man became ill, Mr. O'Brian agreed to substitute.  Originally, he felt the experience might be helpful in his law career; however, he got such good reviews in Somerset Maugham's play "Home and Beauty," that he decided to enroll at UCLA, and continue his little theater appearances as an avocation while continuing his quest for a college education.  About four months later in 1948, Ida Lupino saw one of his performances and signed him for his first starring role in the film "Never Fear" which Ms. Lupino directed.  This brought him a contract with Universal Studios.  During his first year under contract he enrolled at Los Angeles City College and managed to amass 17 college credits in addition to making five pictures at Universal.  Mr. O’Brian left Universal after making 20 films and signed with 20 th Century Fox to do three films, “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Broken Lance” and “White Feather,” along with numerous television shows.  The “big break” in his career came in 1955, when he was chosen to portray the legendary U.S. Marshal, Wyatt Earp, on TV.  Shortly after the series debuted in September, 1955 as the “first Adult Western,” it quickly became one of the top rated shows on television and Mr. O'Brian a much discussed talent.  During its seven year run, “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp” always placed in the top five TV shows in the nation.  In 1972 73 he starred in another TV series, “Search.”

Mr. O’Brian also had an illustrious career in the theatre.  He starred on Broadway in “Cactus Flower,” “The Decision,” “Destry Rides Again,” “First Love,” and in the first Broadway revival of  “Guys and Dolls.”  He also starred in the national companies of “Cactus Flower,” “Mister Roberts,” “The Music Man,” “The Odd Couple,” “Plaza Suite,” "The Tender Trap," and “A Thousand Clowns.”

In 1958, Mr. O'Brian was honored to be invited by Nobel Laureate and great humanitarian, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, to visit him at his clinic in Lambrene, Africa, where he spent nine very inspirational days.  Dr. Schweitzer's strong belief that "the most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves" impressed O'Brian.  Two weeks after his return to the United States, he put Schweitzer's words into action by founding Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY).  Its format for motivation is simple: bring a select group of 15-16 year-old high school sophomores with leadership potential together with a group of distinguished leaders in business, education, government and the professions, and let the two interact. Using a question and answer format, these young future leaders of tomorrow, selected annually to represent over 12,000 public and private high schools, get a realistic look at what makes America’s Incentive System tick, thus better enabling them to “think for themselves” and focus on their career opportunities.  One-hundred percent of the students who have attended one of HOBY’s three to four day Leadership Development Seminars held each spring in their state have  graduated from high school.  There is no cost to the student or parent at the state level.

HOBY Leadership Development Seminars take place in all 50 states, as well as in Canada, China, Israel, Mexico and Taiwan.  Thirty-eight states hold two to five seminars, because of the large number of high schools in that state.  All public and private high schools in the United States receive HOBY’s nomination materials in September each year, and all 10th-graders are eligible, and encouraged to apply.  All HOBY programs are coordinated and executed by an extraordinary group of VOLUNTEERS, who are on the “firing line” in business, education, government and the professions.  Service organizations such as the General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC), Jaycees, Kiwanis, Lions, National Management Association, Optimists, and the Red Cross are the backbone of this “Hugh” volunteer effort.  Mr. O'Brian himself sets a very positive example by donating at least 70 hours a week or more to HOBY.

At the conclusion of the HOBY state seminars held in each state every spring, several boys and girls are selected by the volunteers at each of the local 75 HOBY Leadership Seminar sites to represent their state at HOBY's annual “Superbowl,” the World Leadership Congress (WLC). This eight-day WLC is held each July in Washington, D.C., and coordinated by The George Washington University.  In addition, “outstanding” 10th graders from  25-35 other  countries are also selected to attend HOBY’s annual WLC program.  The cultural differences that exist between countries of the world are explored in friendship by these American 10th graders and their international peers.  The HOBY experience is truly an inspirational event of a lifetime that fosters tolerance, respect and understanding among these future leaders, who comprise tomorrow’s promise in our “World Community.” 

HOBY is a non profit 501c3 organization and is funded solely through the private sector.  It does not seek support from any government source.  HOBY is one of America's finest examples of our "private sector initiative.”            

HOBY’s goal is not to teach these future leaders what to think, but how to think, and what the thinking process is.  In essence, HOBY is a living dream, which through Mr. O'Brian's dedication and vision, along with the steadfast efforts of his army of over 4,000 volunteer supporters, has become a living, giving reality to benefit ALL mankind.   Whether your gift  be in time or $$$, HOBY offers a great return on your investment.

Mr. O'Brian lives with his beautiful wife, Virginia, in a hilltop home overlooking Beverly Hills. Diverse as ever, his leisure activities include swimming, traveling and magic.

The following is Hugh O'Brian's credo:

                                        THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE:  
"I do NOT believe we are all born equal. CREATED equal in the eyes of God, YES, but physical and emotional differences, parental guidance, varying environments, being in the right place at the right time, all play a role in enhancing or limiting an individual's development.

But I DO believe every man and woman, if given the opportunity and encouragement to recognize their own potential, regardless of background, has the freedom to choose in our world. Will an individual be a taker or a giver in life? Will that person be satisfied merely to exist or seek a meaningful purpose?  Will he or she dare to dream the impossible dream?

I believe every person is created as the steward of his or her own destiny, with great power for a specific purpose; to share with others, through service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love.”



1986        Doctor of Humane Letters St. Mary of the Plains; Dodge City, KS

                Doctor of Humane Letters Lebanon Valley College; Annville, PA

                Doctor of Laws St. John's University; Jamaica, NY

1987        Doctor of Public Service University of Denver; Denver, Colorado

1991        Doctor of Humane Letters   Bloomsburg University; Bloomsburg, PA

1991        Doctor of Humane Letters   Green Mountain College; Poultney, Vermont

2000        Doctor of Public Service The George Washington University; Wash., D.C.

2003        Doctor of Fine Arts Troy State University; Troy, Alabama





1971        Freedom Through Knowledge – National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA)

1973        Golden Plate Award -- American Academy of Achievement

1974        George Washington Medal Of Honor -- Freedoms Foundation, Valley Forge

                Globe and Anchor Award -- National Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation

1975        American Patriotic Award -- Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)

1976        Humanitarian Award -- District of Columbia

1978        Governor's Award -- State of Ohio

1979        Service to Mankind Award -- Hollywood Sertoma Club

1980        Silver Helmet Award -- AMVETS

1982        Outstanding Support to the Youth of America -- U.S. Jaycees

1983        Premier Award for Overall Excellence as a Volunteer, Fundraiser and  Philanthropist --

                National Society of Fund Raising Executives (NSFRE)

1984        First Pat O'Brien Memorial Award -- University of Notre Dame Club, Chicago

                First National Family of Man Award -- Family Counselling Service

1985        Semper Fidelis Award -- U.S. Marine Corps

1986       Ambassador Award -- U.S. Jaycees

               Outstanding Love & Concern -- General Federation of Women's Clubs

1987       American Education Award -- American Association of School Administrators

               General William Booth International Humanitarian Award -- Salvation Army

               Holiday Project Award – City of San Francisco, California

1989        Education Award (60th Annual) -- American Assoc. of School Administrators (AASA)

1990        Lifetime Achievement Award -- Los Angeles Business Council

1992        Western Heritage Wrangler Award -- Great Western Performers Hall of Fame

1993        Lifetime Achievement Award -- The Franklin Mint

               The Real Top Gun Award -- HOBY Board of Trustees & Governors

1994        Private Enterprise Exemplar Medal -- Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge

               American Celtic Globe Humanitarian  -- Ireland Chamber of Commerce (ICCUSA)

1995       Foundation Fellow -- Ohio District Kiwanis Foundation

               Award of Honor -- Hearts at Work

               Vision Award -- ESA International (Epsilon Sigma Alpha)

1997       1996 Man of the Year -- KNX Newsradio

               Treasures of Los Angeles -- Central City Association of L.A. (CCA)

1998       Meritorious Public Service Citation - The United States Department of Navy    

2000       Ellis Island Medal of Honor -- Nat. Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO)

               Champions of Children -- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

                Lifesaver Award -- The Thalians

               Teddy Roosevelt Youth Leadership Award (first given) -- Rocky Mountain College

               Certificate of Merit -- Freedom’s Foundation at Valley Forge

                Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy – Nat. Society of Fundraising Executives (NSFRE)                              

               Angel Award -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana

2001      Guest of Honor -- Marine Corps Sunset Parade

2002      Distinguished Service Award -- Nat. Assoc. of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)

 Humanitarian Award -- Lions Clubs International (This included $200,000, which Hugh generously   donated to HOBY)

2006      Excellence in Education -- National Assoc. for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)

2008      Paul Harris Award – Rotary International


Click here to see Mr. O'Brian's Resume