Wesley Eure is an American actor, singer, author, producer, director and lecturer possibly best known for his roles in "Land of the Lost" and the American soap opera "Days of Our Lives."
Born Wesley Eure Loper on August 17, 1951 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he was raised by a single mother in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where Eure's grandmother lived. He also has an older sister, Gai. While Eure grew up in Mississippi, his mother got a bachelor's degree in psychology and began teaching with jobs in Texas and Illinois and later as a drug abuse counselor in Las Vegas,, where his mother ran a methadone clinic and hosted a radio talk show about drug abuse. Eure spent his senior year of high school in Las Vegas.
Wanting to be an actor since the age of five, Eure had enrolled in a summer program at Northwestern University in Illinois, where he took acting lessons and won an award. His first break came when he was seventeen years old and working part-time at the New Frontier Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas selling artwork. He was also hired as a driver for Robert Goulet and Carol Lawrence during their summer tour for most of 1968 and 1969 as their driver.
After the Goulet-Lawrence tour ended in New York City, Eure decided not return to high school and stayed to follow a string of auditions and odd jobs. In 1970, he became a cast member at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut. Hired more for his ability to make the cast and crew laugh than his acting skill, he worked with a dialect coach to get rid of his deep Southern accent, and during his time in Stratford, he worked with Jane Alexander in "The Tempest" and appeared in "Mourning Becomes Electra," "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Twelfth Night" and many original works produced by the company. At the Bucks County Playhouse in Pennsylvania, he performed in "West Side Story" and later joined a musical comedy revue, traveling throughout the East Coast resort areas.
Moving to Los Angeles in 1973 after discovering it was cheaper to live there, Eure was hired to star in a pilot for a Kaye Ballard TV series, "The Organic Vegetables," created and produced by the team behind The Monkees. After the pilot wasn't picked up, he was offered to replace David Cassidy on "The Partridge Family" when Cassidy left the series, but Cassidy instead stayed on to the series end. Eure also worked as a singer between gigs and became friends with Shaun Cassidy and Leif Garrett; some of his music was produced by Bobby Sherman, though a full album was never completed. He also sang a few times with the Jackson Five and had a Las Vegas act at Harrah's casino.
In 1974, Eure had a recurring role on "Days of Our Lives" during which time he had auditioned for producer Sid Krofft to star on "Land of the Lost." Originally apprehensive to audition for Krofft due to his commitment to "Days of Our Lives" and because of the age of Will Marshall, he actually won the role of Will Marshall and kept his commitment to both shows, staying on "Days" long after "Lost" had ended.
As a publicity stunt, Eure agreed to be billed simply as "Wesley" on Land of the Lost, although he later regretted the decision. This was changed for the third and last season of the series. He also provided the vocals for the theme song for which he did get a full credit. Though he his initial apprehension with the show, he became proud of the series and became friends with his co-stars, Kathy Coleman and Philip Paley. His stardom in the 1970s led to a number of appearances on game shows, such as "Password" and "Match Game," appeared on Password so often that he became a semi-regular on the show. He earned $2,000 to do a week's worth of shows, which took a single day to shoot. His stage work includes "Bus Stop," "Butterflies Are Free," "Love, Sex and the IRS," and the musicals, "I Love My Wife" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."
In 1987, Eure became host of the Nickelodeon children's game show "Finders Keepers" and continued in this role through 1988, although he declined to continue when the show was sold to Fox for its final 1989 season.
Through his career, he became friends with several actors and celebrities, including Betty White, Alan Ludden, Deirdre Hall, Charles Nelson Reilly, Brett Somers, Fannie Flagg and Richard Chamberlain with whom he lived with until their break-up in 1976. He stayed on "Days of Our Lives" until 1981 when he was dismissed over his homosexuality, a fact that was kept from him until years later. He did not act in film or television for six years after leaving the series, falling back on his musical career. During the 1980s, Eure lost most of his gay friends to AIDS, including one of his best friends, director John Allison.[
Eure later co-produced, wrote and acted in Fox Television's hidden-camera shows "Totally Hidden Video" which aired from 1989 to 1992. In 1992, he published his first children's novel, "The Red Wings of Christmas," which was optioned by Disney for a full-length animated feature. The book was illustrated by actor Ron Palillo who played Arnold Horshack on the 1970s TV series "Welcome Back, Kotter." Eure would go on to write and publish several more books.
After "Totally Hidden Video," Eure briefly lived in Bali and later returned to the States to co-create "Dragon Tales" for PBS in 1999 and directed "Spy TV" for NBC in 2001. He also hosted an educational DVD called "Power Over Poison" for WQED, the PBS station in Pittsburgh. Channel 9 TV in Australia also hired Eure to be the permanent host of their "Tonight Show," but he lost a ten-month immigration battle with Actor's Equity in Australia.
Between projects, Eure also starred in the movies "The Toolbox Murders," "Jennifer" and 1979 comedy "C.H.O.M.P.S.," which also starred Valerie Bertinelli, Red Buttons, Jim Backus, Hermione Baddeley and Conrad Bain. In 2009, he and his "Land of the Lost" co-star Kathy Coleman filmed cameo appearances for the 2009 film version Land of the Lost with Will Ferrell, but their scenes were edited out of the final movie. He also appeared in the 2014 independent thriller film, "Sins Of Our Youth." For several years, he worked on "The Blues Brothers 2000" live stage show appearing at Universal Studios Hollywood. He co-produced a Stephen Schwartz musical titled "Snapshots."
Eure's company, Games at Sea, has created, produced and directed on-board entertainment for cruise ships such as Crystal Cruises and Celebrity Cruise Line. He was the Travel Editor for Palm Springs Life magazine, writing a bi-monthly travel column and for many years, he was a fundraiser for the March of Dimes and for a number of HIV/AIDS causes. He has also raised money through telethons and fund-raising campaigns for groups like the Variety Club and the Special Olympics. In 2007, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.