Hugh O'Brian, who shot to fame as Sheriff Wyatt Earp in what was hailed as television's first adult Western, has died. He was 91.

A representative from HOBY, a philanthropic organisation O'Brian founded, said he died at home today in Beverly Hills.

Until The Life And Legend of Wyatt Earp debuted in 1955, most TV Westerns were aimed at pre-teenage boys.

Actors James Stewart, left, and Hugh O'Brian confer on the set of "Cheyenne Autumn" in Los Angeles.

Wyatt Earp was based on a real-life Western hero, and some of its stories were authentic. It made O'Brian a star.

After that show left the air in 1961, O'Brian continued to work in movies, television and theatre until the 1990s.

He also made his mark in philanthropy in 1958 as founder of the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership organisation, which continues to bring together promising high school students for leadership seminars.