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In this image released by ABC, actor Clint Ritchie, who played Clint Buchanan on the ABC daytime series, "One Live to Live," is shown. Ritchie, the real-life cowboy and veteran actor best known for originating the role of patriarch Clint Buchanan on the ABC daytime soap opera "One Life to Live," died following a brief illness Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009, in Roseville, Calif., said longtime friend Janie Hickok Siess. He was 70. (AP Photo/ABC, Robert Milazzo)
In this image released by ABC, actor Clint Ritchie, who played Clint Buchanan on the ABC daytime series, "One Live to Live," is shown. Ritchie, the real-life cowboy and veteran actor best known for originating the role of patriarch Clint Buchanan on the ABC daytime soap opera "One Life to Live," died following a brief illness Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009, in Roseville, Calif., said longtime friend Janie Hickok Siess. He was 70. (AP Photo/ABC, Robert Milazzo)

Clint Ritchie, 70, Grafton native who became 'One Live to Live' soap actor, dies

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Clint Ritchie, the tall, handsome actor who played Clint Buchanan for two decades on the ABC soap opera "One Life to Live," died Saturday in Roseville, Calif., after a brief illness, network spokeswoman Lauri Hogan said. He was 70 and lived on a horse ranch in nearby Grass Valley, Calif.

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Ritchie was born Aug. 9, 1938, and grew up on a farm near Grafton, N.D. His family moved to Washington State when he was 7. He moved to California as a teenager and later took acting classes.

He had minor roles in the 1960s and '70s on TV series, including "The Wild, Wild West," "Batman" and "Thunder," and bit parts in films before winning the role of Buchanan. Ritchie's first appearance on "One Life to Live" as the transplanted Texan who was editor of the Banner newspaper in fictional Llanview, Pa., came in 1979. He soon became a popular figure on the show, opposite his on-screen wife, Viki, played by Erika Slezak.

Ritchie was a mainstay of the daytime drama until December 1998, when he retired, only to return to the show the next spring for several weeks. He returned for brief stints in 2003 and 2004.

"We had a very warm and wonderful relationship," Slezak, who still appears on the show, said Tuesday. "He was great fun to work with, and we laughed a lot."

In 1993, Ritchie suffered a serious accident while driving a tractor at his ranch. After he hit a tree stump and was pitched off into the pasture, the tractor ran him over before he could get out of the way. "It took forever," Ritchie told People magazine later that year. "I heard and felt bones breaking like toothpicks."

After months of recuperating from a broken collarbone, shoulder blade and ribs, in addition to a collapsed lung, he returned to the show, whose writers had written a story line to explain his absence.

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