‘The Virginian’ actor Sara Lane dies at 73 after long battle with breast cancer

A black-and-white closeup shot of a young woman wearing a collared shirt and resting her head on her arm
Sara Lane in a 1966 publicity portrait for the TV series “The Virginian.”
(NBC / Getty Images)

Sarah Lane, the former actor best known for playing horse-loving teenager Elizabeth Grainger on the long-running western series “The Virginian,” has died after a six-year battle with breast cancer. She was 73.

Lane died Friday at her home in Napa, Calif., her husband of 43 years, Jon Scott, confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter. She made her “Virginian” debut as the granddaughter of Charles Bickford’s John Grainger in the show’s fifth season and appeared in more than 100 episodes of the period drama.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Lane — daughter of actors Rusty Lane and Sara Anderson — landed her role on “The Virginian” partially because she was already skilled at riding horses.


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Before joining the cast of “The Virginian,” Lane starred opposite the legendary Joan Crawford in the 1965 thriller “I Saw What You Did.” Lane and Crawford later reunited for a 1970 episode of “The Virginian.”

After exiting “The Virginian,” Lane also appeared in handful of films under the stage name Russell Lane. Rounding out her big-screen credits are 1973’s “Schoolgirls in Chains,” 1974’s “The Trial of Billy Jack” and 1977’s “Billy Jack Goes to Washington.” In the late 1970s, she retired from acting, according to the Hollywood reporter.

She is survived by her husband, as well as their children, Sara and James; their granddaughter, Olivia; and her sister, Margretha.

Times news researcher Jennifer Arcand contributed to this report.

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