Gary Collins (actor)

Gary Collins

Collins in 1972
Born Gary Ennis Collins
(1938-04-30)April 30, 1938
Venice, California, U.S.
Died October 13, 2012(2012-10-13) (aged 74)
Biloxi, Mississippi, U.S.
Cause of death Natural causes
Nationality American
Alma mater Santa Monica City College
Occupation Actor
Years active 1962–2011
Spouse(s) Susan Lachman (19641967) (divorced)
Mary Ann Mobley (19672012) (his death)
Children 3

Outstanding 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

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

Early life and education

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 career

Collins enlisted in the United States 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 Television

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 Sixth Sense, in syndication part of Rod Serling's Night Gallery, as the parapsychologist and ESP-gifted Dr. Michael Rhodes. In 1974, he starred in the series Born Free, based on the life of George Adamson, a Kenya 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 Jungle Book: Lost Treasure (1998). He also played an American astronaut involved in a UFO cover up 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] He replaced Bob Barker as host 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. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Personal life and death

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 were 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. They had one child: a daughter, Mary Clancy Collins.[2]

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

Collins struggled with alcoholism. 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]


  1. 1 2 3 4 Associated Press, Gary Collins: Actor, TV host dies at 74 in Miss., The Washington Times, October 13, 2012
  2. 1 2 "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. 1 2 Harris, Donna (October 13, 2012). "Actor Gary Collins dies in Biloxi". The Sun Herald. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  6. 1 2 Ken Lee (February 1, 2009). "Gary Collins Arrested for DUI Again". People.
  7. 1 2 "Gary Collins Arrested". The Los Angeles Times. January 5, 2011.
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Media offices
Preceded by
Ron Ely
Miss America host
Succeeded by
Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford
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