06 September 2016

Western actor Don Collier

True West has an article by Don Collier, a Western actor, about himself:

The father of six kids, Don Collier is well known as a Westerns actor. He broke into the genre in 1948, graduating from an extra in Massacre River to acting in the John Wayne movie Fort Apache. In the 1960s, he earned the lead role in NBC’s Outlaws, following that up with appearances in other shows, before getting cast as the ranch foreman in the long-running series The High Chaparral. On March 17th to 19th, 2017, in Tucson, Arizona, Collier plans to reunite with cast members for the fiftieth anniversary of The High Chaparral
My character on The High Chaparral was not supposed to be Bobby Hoy’s character’s younger brother. But, when we filmed it, I called him my younger brother, and director Bill Claxton said “Guess what? He is your younger brother now, ’cause I’m not shooting the scene again.”
On Outlaws, I learned never to let your costar pick out his own spurs. Bruce Yarnell put on some big Mexican rowels. Away he went, and those spurs almost got him killed!
I became a 1980s icon as Gumfighter in the Hubba Bubba commercial for Wrigley’s gum. I was the bubble gum-toting sheriff who got the bad guys by blowing bubbles for eight years, and I made seven hundred thousand dollars. My Pick up the Pace commercials for Pace Picante sauce happened because they liked the way I delivered the line.
While serving in the Navy, I cut one of my fingers off in an accident aboard the USS Astoria, a light cruiser. It happened in the handling room of a 5-inch gun. The breech caught the middle finger of my right hand. (That’s an important finger, you know.)
I got into the movie picture business through Francis Lederer, a European actor who did quite well in Hollywood. When I got out of the Navy in 1946, I worked on his San Fernando Valley ranch, branding calves and horseback riding.
On a John Wayne movie, after the director yelled Cut, you never left the set. I liked working with Wayne, though he was a taskmaster, but you’d better know your lines and show up on time.
Elvis Presley pushed me into a dessert cart in a movie called Paradise, Hawaiian Style.
I had a football scholarship in 1949, in Abilene, Texas; I only lasted one season. I played left end. I was good at it, but I wasn’t any kind of a scholar.
I didn’t kiss many women on screen, but I sure enjoyed kissing Rhonda Fleming. That was on Death Valley Days.
My favorite acting experience was The High Chaparral, because it functioned like a working ranch, and it was like a real family. It lasted four seasons. I wish it had been ten, but I’ll take it.
I just watched The Revenant, and I thought it was fantastic. DiCaprio was just excellent, and the movie deserved every award it got.
Fred Imus was a great guy, and I worked with him on Fred’s Trailer Park Bash radio show for about five years. He was a terrible slob though, and left trash all over his trailer, but he was a pretty good slob!
Nobody knows that I like working with a wood lathe. I make plates, lamp bases, and dishes. I mostly use mesquite that is native to Arizona; it makes me happy.
A project I am working on now is called The West of the Story, about nineteenth-century events; stagecoach robberies, bank robberies,  hangings, and that sort of thing. I’m almost 88 in October, so I better get it done.
Rico says he loathes DiCaprio, so didn't watch The Revenant, nor (not being partial to Elvis, either) Paradise, Hawaiian Style, but liked Death Valley Days and The High Chaparral...
 

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