Actor and TV personality Gary Collins, 74, died early today of natural causes in Biloxi, Mississippi. He was pronounced dead at the Biloxi Regional Medical Center.
Among his many television and film credits, Collins was the master of ceremonies for the Miss America Pageant in the 1980s.
TMZ notes that “Collins’ resumé is a mile long … having appeared on episodes of such hit shows as Fantasy Island, Charlie’s Angels, Alice, The Love Boat, Police Story … the list goes on.” He also had guest-appearance roles in Perry Mason, The Virginian, the original Hawaii Five-O, TheSix Million Dollar Man, Friends, and JAG. As a lead actor, Gary Collins starred in The Wackiest Ship in the Army, The Sixth Sense, and Born Free on TV. Collins also had supporting roles in several movies.
He was also the host of talk show Hour Magazine from 1980 to 1988 and The Home Show from 1989 to 1994. He was nominated for an Emmy six times, winning in 1983 for Outstanding Talk Show Host. Gary Collins recently separated from his wife, former Miss America May Ann Mobley; they married in 1967.
In the last few years, Collins had several run-ins with law involving drinking and driving. Last year, he was arrested for a dine and dash, i.e., leaving without paying a restaurant ab.
The LA Times provides Collins’ own assessment of his media persona:
“Describing himself as ‘inquisitive, sensitive, caring, likable, non-confrontational,’ Collins added, ‘I don’t think all television has to be on that hard edge. … That’s basically not a part of my character.’ “