At 94 years old, Clu Gulager has this physical status:
In 1958 he appeared as Roy Carter in the episode "The Return of Roy Carter" (written by Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek) in the Western television series Have Gun – Will Travel starring Richard Boone.
Gulager stated, "Lew Wasserman saw me on a Playhouse 90 episode where I played an Elvis Presley-type character. I became the first contract player at Universal". In the spring of 1959, he signed with MCA-TV, where he appeared as Tommy Pavlock in the episode "The Immigrant" of NBC's series The Lawless Years, a 1920s crime drama. In the fall of 1959, he appeared in the episode "The Temple of the Swinging Doll" of NBC's short-lived espionage drama Five Fingers, starring David Hedison.
On June 3, 1959, he guest-starred as the unscrupulous photographer Elliott Garrison in "The Andrew Hale Story" on NBC's Wagon Train. On October 11, 1959, Gulager appeared as a U.S. Navy sailor in the "Appointment at Eleven" episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and again as an escaped convict in "Pen Pal" on November 1, 1960. On The Untouchables, he played the role of real-life vicious mob killer Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll. Gulager was hailed for his utterly chilling performance as the psychopathic Coll. Late in 1959, he was cast as Beau Chandler in the episode "Jessie Quinn" of the NBC Western series Riverboat, starring Darren McGavin and Burt Reynolds. The episode is a tale of intrigue involving the Texas Revolution. Capt. Holden attempts to send weapons to Sam Houston, but forces of Antonio López de Santa Anna in Mexico threaten to blow up Holden's vessel, the Enterprise.
From 1960 to 1962, Gulager played Billy the Kid in The Tall Man, opposite Barry Sullivan as Sheriff Pat Garrett. The episodes portray Billy as a sympathetic character without resorting to the "misunderstood young man" theme used in such films as The Outlaw (1943) and The Left Handed Gun (1958). In 1961, Gulager guest-starred in another NBC Western, Whispering Smith, Audie Murphy's only attempt at series television. Gulager portrayed Deputy Sheriff Emmett Ryker from 1964 to 1968 on The Virginian, the 90-minute Western series in which he starred with James Drury, Doug McClure, Lee J. Cobb, Roberta Shore, Randy Boone, Gary Clarke, and Diane Roter. Gulager appeared more than 60 times in other roles in film and television, including the film Winning (1969) and the CBS series Three for the Road. He also appeared several times on NBC's Bonanza. He starred with Lee Marvin, Ronald Reagan, John Cassavetes, and Angie Dickinson in The Killers (1964), teaming with Marvin as a pair of ruthless hit men. The Killers was intended to be one of the early made-for-TV movies as part of a Project 120 series of films that did not reach the airwaves, but NBC cited it too violent for broadcast; Universal released the film theatrically instead.
In 1971, Gulager appeared in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show. In 1977, long after his role on The Virginian, he appeared in Rod Taylor's unsuccessful NBC Western series, The Oregon Trail, in the episode "The Army Deserter". Gulager also played the boss of Susan Sarandon in a 1977 film drama, The Other Side of Midnight. In 1981, he co-starred as Angela Channing's long-suffering nephew Chase Gioberti, opposite Oscar Award-winner Jane Wyman, Lorenzo Lamas, William R. Moses, and Jamie Rose, in the pilot episode of The Vintage Years, which was later retooled as the primetime soap opera Falcon Crest. When he was not rehired to continue with his role, Robert Foxworth took over the role until his firing in 1987.
In 1985, he was cast as Burt Wilson in Dan O'Bannon's The Return of the Living Dead. He was also a featured player in director John Landis' darkly comedic 1985 film noir satire, Into the Night, a film rife with insider Hollywood cameos, as an FBI agent who is a courier of a cache of clandestine funds, which he grudgingly delivers to secure the safety of the film's two romantic leads (Michelle Pfeiffer and Jeff Goldblum).
In 2005, Gulager appeared as a shotgun-toting bartender in Feast, followed by the film's two sequels, Feast II: Sloppy Seconds (2008), and Feast III: The Happy Finish (2009), all of which were directed by his son, John. He also had a minor role in the critically acclaimed independent film Tangerine (2015). He had a role in the 2012 film Piranha 3DD. Gulager's final screen performance was as an unnamed book store owner in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in 2019.
- The Virginian (TV series) (1966) Bronze Wrangler Award for Best Fictional Television Drama ensemble cast
- A Day with the Boys (1969) (director, short film) Nominated Palme d'Or — Cannes Film Festival "Best Short Film"
- Hunter's Blood (1986) Nominated Saturn Award "Best Supporting Actor"
- Gulager is one of several "Oklahoma Walk of Fame" members represented on medallions in front of Tulsa's Circle Cinema.