Linda Cristal Dies: ‘The High Chaparral’ Actress Was 89

The High Chaparral
Cameron Mitchell, Linda Cristal, Henry Darrow, Leif Erickson, 'The High Chaparral' Shutterstock

Linda Cristal, the Argentine-born actress who played Victoria Cannon, wife of Leif Erickson’s stoic, heroic rancher Big John Cannon on NBC’s popular 1967-71 Western The High Chaparral, died in her sleep at her Beverly Hills home Saturday. She was 89.

Her death was reported to The New York Times by son Jordan Wexler.

Cristal had built a career as an actress during the 1950s in Mexico’s film industry when she was cast in an English-speaking role in 1956’s Comanche, directed by George Sherman and starring Dana Andrews.

Film and TV credits throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s included roles in Rawhide, Seven Sins, The Alamo, The Tab Hunter Show and Iron Horse, among others. For her performance in Black Edwards’ 1958 comedy The Perfect Furlough, she shared a New Star of the Year Golden Globe Award with Tina Louise and Susan Kohner.

Her highest profile role arrived in 1967 with the hourlong Western The High Chaparral, a series that ran for four seasons and starred, in addition to Erickson and Cristal, Cameron Mitchell, Henry Darrow and Mark Slade.

Subsequent credits include Barnaby Jones, The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. She joined the cast of the soap General Hospital for a year in 1988.

Cristal is survived by sons Jordan Wexler, Gregory Wexler, and two grandchildren.

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