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Gary Collins (actor)

Gary Ennis Collins (April 30, 1938 – October 13, 2012) was an American film and television actor and talk-show host.[1]

Gary Collins
Gary Collins 1972.JPG
Collins in 1972
Gary Ennis Collins

(1938-04-30)April 30, 1938
DiedOctober 13, 2012(2012-10-13) (aged 74)
Alma materSanta Monica City College
Years active1962–2011
Spouse(s)Susan Lachman (1964–1967) (divorced)
Mary Ann Mobley (1967–2012) (his death)
AwardsOutstanding Host Or Hostess In A Talk Or Service Series
For: 'Hour Magazine' (1980) – Won
Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host – 1983

Early life and educationEdit

Collins was born in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Venice, California. He was raised there by a single mother who was a waitress and factory worker.[2] Gary attended Venice High School and graduated with the class of 1955. After attending Santa Monica City College, he went into the United States Army.

Early careerEdit

Collins enlisted in the Army and served in Europe, where he was a radio and television performer for the Armed Forces Network. After his return, he performed at the Barter Theatre, a year-round repertory theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, whose director Robert Porterfield provided chances for many aspiring actors.

Film and televisionEdit

Collins made a career in television, co-starring, with Jack Warden and Mark Slade, in the 1965 series The Wackiest Ship in the Army. He co-starred, with Dale Robertson and Robert Random, in the 1966-68 series The Iron Horse. He starred in the 1972 television series The Sixth Sense, in syndication part of Rod Serling's Night Gallery, as the parapsychologist and extrasensory perception-gifted Dr. Michael Rhodes. In 1974, he starred in the series Born Free, based on the life of George Adamson, a Kenyan wildlife conservationist best known for his work with lions.[1] Collins appeared in two episodes of Perry Mason: in 1965, he played assistant district attorney and defendant Larry Germaine in the 1965 episode, "The Case of the Fatal Fetish", and in 1966, he played murderer Alex Tanner in "The Case of the Crafty Kidnapper".

Collins guest-starred in dozens of television shows beginning in the 1960s, including The Virginian, Hawaii Five-O, The Six Million Dollar Man, ALF, The Love Boat, The Bionic Woman, Charlie's Angels, Roots, Gimme A Break!, Friends, "Yes, Dear", JAG, and most recently Dirty Sexy Money. He appeared in the episode "You're Not Alone" from the 1977 anthology series Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected (known in the United Kingdom as Twist in the Tale).[3]

Collins also had many film roles, including The Pigeon That Took Rome (1962), Angel in My Pocket (1969) also starring Andy Griffith, the original Airport (1970), Quarantined (1970), Houston, We've Got a Problem (1974), The Night They Took Miss Beautiful (1977), the horror thriller Killer Fish (1979), starring Lee Majors, Watchers Reborn (1998), and The Jungle Book: Search for the Lost Treasure (1998). He also played an American astronaut involved in a UFO coverup in the 1980 film Hangar 18.

Collins hosted the Group W television talk show Hour Magazine from 1980 to 1988, and co-hosted the ABC television series The Home Show from 1989 to 1994. He was the host of the Miss America Pageant from 1982 to 1990.[1] His wife Mary Ann Mobley and he replaced Bob Barker as co-hosts of the Pillsbury Bake-Off on CBS from 1984 to 1988 before being replaced by Willard Scott in 1990.


Collins was nominated for an Emmy Award six times and won in 1983 for Outstanding Talk Show Host. In 1985, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Personal life and deathEdit

Collins was first married to Susan Peterson, with whom he had two children: Guy William and Melissa Collins. They divorced.

In 1967, Collins married Mary Ann Mobley, Miss America (1959). They had one child, a daughter, Mary Clancy Collins.[2] They separated in 2011,[4] but reconciled. He moved to her home state of Mississippi to be with her in 2012 while she battled breast cancer.

Collins died around 1:00 am on October 13, 2012, at Biloxi Regional Medical Center in Biloxi, Mississippi, of natural causes.[1][5]

Legal issuesEdit

The final decade of Collins's life was marred by several run-ins with the law. In January 2008, Collins served four days in jail in Glendale, California, for his second DUI conviction.[6] He was arrested a year later, on January 31, 2009, in Santa Barbara County, California, and pleaded no contest to driving a motor home while drunk. He was sentenced to 120 days "home detention" according to a Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office spokesperson. His blood alcohol content was measured at 0.29, more than three times the legal limit.[6]

In November 2010, Collins was charged with a misdemeanor for leaving the scene of an accident in Jackson, Mississippi. He was fined $500.[7] On January 5, 2011, Collins was charged with defrauding an innkeeper, a felony, in Harrison County, Mississippi, for allegedly failing to pay his bill at Jazzeppi's Restaurant, according to a statement released by the Biloxi Police Department. Collins said the restaurant was taking too long to deliver his dinner, so he left and refused to pay the bill.[7] He paid a $500 fine two weeks later and did not appear in court.[5]


Year Title Role Notes
1962 The Pigeon That Took Rome Major Wolff
1962 King Kong vs. Godzilla Submariner Uncredited
1962 The Longest Day Officer On Bridge Uncredited
1965 Stranded Bob
1969 Angel in My Pocket Art Shields
1970 Quarantined Dr. Larry Freeman TV movie
1970 Airport Cy Jordan
1972 Getting Away from It All Mark Selby TV movie
1974 Houston, We've Got a Problem Tim Cordell TV movie
1977 Roots Grill TV miniseries (Part III)
1977 The Night They Took Miss Beautiful Paul Fabiani TV movie
1978 The Young Runaways Lt. Ray Phillips TV movie
1979 Killer Fish Tom
1979 The Kid From Left Field Pete Sloane TV movie
1980 The Secret of Lost Valley Ned Harkness TV movie
1980 Hangar 18 Steve Bancroft
1981 Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls Kevin Gilmore TV miniseries
1992 Secrets Zack Taylor TV movie
1994 Bandit Bandit Governor Denton TV movie
1998 Watchers Reborn Gus Brody
1998 The Jungle Book: Search for the Lost Treasure Professor Warren Miller
2000 Beautiful Miss American Miss Host


  1. ^ a b c d Associated Press, Gary Collins: Actor, TV host dies at 74 in Miss., The Washington Times, October 13, 2012
  2. ^ a b "Gary Collins Biography". Advameg, Inc. 2006. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
  3. ^ Classic Television Archive: Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected (1977)
  4. ^ "TV Actor and Host Gary Collins Dies at 74". Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Harris, Donna (October 13, 2012). "Actor Gary Collins dies in Biloxi". The Sun Herald. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Ken Lee (February 1, 2009). "Gary Collins Arrested for DUI Again". People.
  7. ^ a b "Gary Collins Arrested". The Los Angeles Times. January 5, 2011.

External linksEdit

Media offices
Preceded by
Ron Ely
Miss America host
Succeeded by
Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford