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Marcus Welby, M.D. .jpg

Marcus Welby, M.D. is an ABC network medical drama series created by David Victor, starring Robert Young as the title character.

The series aired from September 23, 1969 to July 29, 1976, lasting for seven seasons and 169 episodes.

The pilot episode, "A Matter of Humanities" aired as an "ABC Movie of the Week" on March 26, 1969.

In the 1980s, two TV movies, "The Return of Marcus Welby, M.D." (in 1984) and "Marcus Welby, M.D.: A Holiday Affair" (in 1988) were made.


The series centered on Marcus Welby, a family practitioner with a kind bedside manner, who was on a first name basis with many of his patients and also made house-calls.


  • Robert Young as Marcus Welby, M.D.
  • James Brolin as Steve Kiley, M.D.
  • Elena Verdugo as Consuelo Lopez
  • Anne Baxter as Myra Sherwood
  • Christine Belford\Anne Schedeen as Sandy
  • Gavin Brendan as Phil
  • Sharon Gless as Kathleen Faverty
  • Pamela Hensley as Janet Blake


During the show's second season (1970–1971), it ranked #1 in the Nielsen ratings, becoming the first ABC show to top the list. During that same year, both Robert Young and James Brolin won Emmy Awards for their work, as did the show for "Outstanding Dramatic Series."

Robert Young won a Golden Globe in 1972 for his performance and members of the American Academy of Family Physicians served as technical advisers for the series and reviewed every script for medical accuracy.

Medical Features

The show's handling of many varied medical cases (some common, some uncommon) made it an instant hit for ABC.

Story lines included impotence, depression, brain damage, breast cancer, mononucleosis, sexually transmitted diseases, epilepsy, learning disabilities, leukemia, dysautonomia, rape, Alzheimer's Disease and addiction to painkillers, among others.


"Marcus Welby, M.D." found itself at the center of controversy and protests by gay activists.

In response to the 1973 episode "The Other Martin Loring", about a middle-aged man whom Dr. Welby advised to resist his homosexual impulses, the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) zapped ABC, occupying its New York headquarters and picketing.

The next year, the episode, "The Outrage" sparked nationwide demonstrations because its story of a teenage student being sexually assaulted by his male teacher conflated homosexuality with pedophilia.

Seven sponsors refused to buy television advertising time and seventeen television network affiliates refused to air the episode; this was the first known instance of network affiliates refusing a network episode in response to protests.

In a addition, an episode dealing with abortion was refused by San Diego area ABC affiliate XETV, a station licensed to Tijuana across the border in Mexico, due to that country's views on the practice at the time.

Crossovers with Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law

During its run, the show had two crossover stories with "Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law."

In the episode, "Men Who Care", Marshall defends the father of Welby's patient when the man is accused of murdering his daughter's boyfriend.

In the episode, "I've Promised You a Father", Marshall defends Kiley in a paternity suit filed by a nurse claiming that Kiley is the father of her child.


By the mid-1970s, the popularity of medical dramas began to wane and ratings for both "Marcus Welby, M.D." and CBS's series, "Medical Center" began to drop, as did the ratings for daytime dramas "General Hospital" and "The Doctors."

Previous episodes initially went into syndication in the fall of 1975 as "Robert Young, Family Doctor" (to avoid confusion with the first-run episodes still airing on ABC). The show ended its run in 1976 after a total of 169 episodes were made.