Hand color tinted photo of Don Collier
Donald Collier (born October 17, 1928) is an American radio personality and a former actor, particularly known for his role in television westerns during the 1960s. He played U.S. Marshal Will Foreman in the 1960-1962 NBC series Outlaws, with Barton MacLane (1902-1969), Jock Gaynor (1929-1998), and Bruce Yarnell (1935-1973). He appeared as a deputy marshal to MacLane in the first season of Outlaws and was promoted to full marshal in the second season, with Yarnell as the new deputy. MacLane left the series after the first season.
Collier was born in Santa Monica, California. His only sibling, a sister, died when she was thirteen. After graduation from high school, Collier joined the United States Navy at the end of World War II. Upon his return to California, Collier obtained a part in the 1948 film Massacre River. The recipient of a football scholarship, he entered Hardin-Simmons University, a Baptist-affiliated institution in Abilene in Taylor County in West Texas. He transferred to Mormon-affiliated Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he also played football.
Collier has made more than seventy film and television appearances. He starred with John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Anthony Quinn, Dean Martin, Tom Selleck, James Arness, and Elvis Presley. After Massacre River, he acquired roles in Fort Apache (1948) and Davy Crockett, Indian Scout (1950).
Prior to his lead role in Outlaws, Collier appeared in the first seasons of both CBS’s long-running Gunsmoke (1955) and NBC’s powerhouse western Bonanza (1959). He guest starred in 1957 in NBC’s Wagon Train with Ward Bond during its first year on the air. One of his earliest television appearances was in 1952 in the syndicated Death Valley Days anthology series later hosted by Ronald W. Reagan. He appeared in 1965 in Chuck Connors’ NBC western series Branded.
From 1967-1971, he was cast as Sam Butler, the ranch foreman, in sixty-two episodes of NBC’s The High Chaparral, a David Dortort series with Leif Erickson, Linda Cristal, Cameron Mitchell, Mark Slade, and Henry Darrow. In 1972, he appeared in George Peppard’s NBC series Banacek and in CBS’s family drama, The Waltons. In 1974, he guest starred in the initial season of Michael Landon’s NBC family western drama, Little House on the Prairie. A decade later, he starred in the first season of Landon other NBC series, Highway to Heaven, with co-star Victor French.
Collier’s cowboy image enabled him to win the designation of the “Gum Fighter” for Hubba Bubba bubble gum. In 1989, he accepted the recurring role of William Tompkins in ABC’s The Young Riders, based loosely on the Pony Express (1860-1861). He has also been a sidekick of Fred Imus, younger brother of Don Imus, on Sirius Satellite Radio’s weekly program, Fred’s Trailer Park Bash. He has been working on a western radio drama, West of the Story.
Collier is married to the former Holly Hire, a casting director, and is the father of six children.