Gary Vinson
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Gary Vinson
Gary Vinson
Gary Vinson Lisa Seagram Ernest Borgnine McHale's Navy 1964.JPG
Gary Vinson (left) with Lisa Seagram and Ernest Borgnine in the October 7, 1963 episode of McHale's Navy "Is There a Doctor in the Hut?"
Born(1936-10-22)October 22, 1936
DiedOctober 15, 1984(1984-10-15) (aged 47)
Cause of deathSuicide
Resting placeEvergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles
Years active1957-1982
Height6 ft (183 cm)

Gary Vinson (October 22, 1936 - October 15, 1984) was an American actor who appeared in significant roles in three television series of the 1960s: The Roaring 20s, McHale's Navy, and Pistols 'n' Petticoats.

Early years

Vinson was born in El Segundo, California.[1] He graduated from El Segundo High School[2] and El Camino Junior College.[3]

In 1951, at age 15, Vinson was cast in a 27-minute film, Does Christ Live in Your Home?, produced in Hollywood by Sam Hersh and directed by William F. Claxton.[] Hersh had started Family Films, Inc. in 1948 for the religious market, with funding provided by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.[4]


Vinson began acting professionally when he was 18; his television debut came in the role of a page boy on Milton Berle's first program from NBC's new Burbank studios.[1] In an interview, he stated:

"I started during the Marlon Brando era when guys my age in Hollywood were all wearing pouts, torn shirts, mussed hair, and looked like they needed a bath. I refused to go that route so whenever anyone needed an all-american-boy type I was the only all-american-boy type available."[1]

Among his early TV roles was one as defendant Marv Adams in the fourth Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Drowning Duck." He guest-starred on other various television series, including Whirlybirds, Gunsmoke, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Bachelor Father, Cheyenne, Maverick, Sugarfoot, Wagon Train, Laramie, Bat Masterson, Harbor Command, Colt .45, The Rough Riders, Hawaiian Eye, and in three episodes of 77 Sunset Strip.[]

In 1962 he was cast as Bruce Randall in the episode "The Parish Car" of the ABC series, Going My Way, starring Gene Kelly as a Roman Catholic priest in New York City. That same year he was cast as Charlie Fox in the episode "The Runaway Groom" of the NBC western series The Tall Man, starring Barry Sullivan and Clu Gulager.[]

In 1960 Vinson was cast in his first recurring role in a series as copyboy Chris Higbee in 39 episodes of the ABC/Warner Brothers drama series The Roaring 20's.[5] The series ended its run in January 1962, and Vinson then appeared as Alvin in the episode "This Gun for Sale" of the sitcom, Room for One More, the ABC/WB replacement series for The Roaring 20s. Earlier he had appeared as a guest star in another ABC/WB series, The Alaskans.[]

That same year Vinson was cast as Quartermaster George "Christy" Christopher on the ABC sitcom McHale's Navy, starring Ernest Borgnine.[5] Vinson appeared in 79 episodes from 1962 to 1966, when the series ended. He wrote one episode. After McHale's Navy Vinson was cast as Sheriff Harold Sikes in CBS's Pistols 'n' Petticoats.[5]

Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway, Vinson and Carl Ballantine in the 1962-66 ABC World War II sitcom McHale's Navy.
Vinson (right) as Sheriff Harold Sikes in the 1966-67 CBS western sitcom Pistols 'n' Petticoats.

In 1968 he starred as Beau Graves in two episodes of the ABC crime drama series Mod Squad. In 1969 Vinson guest-starred as Sheriff Tom Wade in the episode "Crime Wave in Buffalo Springs" on James Drury's The Virginian. He portrayed the character Joseph Foxx in "Moment of Truth" on Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.'s The F.B.I. crime series.[]

During the 1970s and 1980s Vinson continued with guest roles on episodic television appearing again in Mod Squad, Love, American Style, McCloud, The Streets of San Francisco, The Waltons, S.W.A.T., Baa Baa Black Sheep, Battlestar Galactica and Barnaby Jones.

Vinson's last on-screen appearances were as the Air Marshal in the 1982 episode "No Way Out" of ABC's The Fall Guy, as Sperling in the 1982 episode "A Minor Problem" on CBS' The Incredible Hulk and as Jake Cord in the 1983 episode "Chance of a Lifetime" on the NBC family drama Boone.[]


Vinson's feature film debut came in Rockabilly Baby (1957).[6] In 1959, he signed a term contract with Warner Bros.[3]


On October 15, 1984, a week before his 48th birthday, Vinson committed suicide by self-inflicted gunshot in Redondo Beach, California.[7]


Year Title Role Notes
1957 The Young Stranger Boy in Courtroom (scenes deleted)
1957 Fear Strikes Out High School Ballplayer Uncredited
1957 Perry Mason Marv Adams Case of the Drowning Duck, s1e4
1957 The Invisible Boy Young soldier Uncredited
1957 Rockabilly Baby Jimmy Carter
1958 The Restless Years Bruce's Friend Uncredited
1958 Bat Masterson Billy Thompson S1E7 "A Noose Fits Anybody"
1959 Yellowstone Kelly Lieutenant
1960 High School Caesar Bob Williams
1961 A Majority of One Mr. McMillan
1964 McHale's Navy Quartermaster George Christopher
1965 McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force
1968 Nobody's Perfect Walt Purdy
1975 Half a House Golfer


  1. ^ a b c Johnson, Erskine (December 31, 1966). "Gary Is Bungling, But Only for Role". The Ithaca Journal. New York, Ithaca. p. 33. Retrieved 2018 – via open access
  2. ^ "They Can't Send Gary Back To El Segundo, He's There". Arizona Republic. Arizona, Phoenix. May 14, 1961. p. 4-F. Retrieved 2018 – via open access
  3. ^ a b "Sign Man of Year". Press and Sun-Bulletin. New York, Binghamton. December 20, 1959. p. 50. Retrieved 2018 – via open access
  4. ^ "The Family Films Story".
  5. ^ a b c Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 673. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  6. ^ "Music and Romance Keynote Attractions on View Today". Joplin Globe. Missouri, Joplin. February 2, 1958. p. 11. Retrieved 2018 – via open access
  7. ^ "The Tragedy of Actor Gary Vinson". The Life and Times of Hollywood.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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