American actor Don Collier, best known for his portraying cowboy roles in Westerns and on television shows like The High Chaparral, Bonanza, Gunsmoke and Outlaws, passed away on Monday due to lung cancer in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. He was 92. Having also starred alongside legendary actor John Wayne in films like El Dorado (1966), The War Wagon (1967) and The Undefeated (1969), Collier made appearances in Audie Murphy's Seven Ways From Sundown (1960), including the Val Kilmer-starrer Tombstone (1993).
Starting his career in acting in the 1970s, Don Collier played the "Gum Fighter" for several years in commercials for Hubba Bubba bubble gum. His first major break came in 1960 when he was cast as Deputy Will Foreman on NBC’s Outlaws for two seasons alongside Barton MacLane. He played a cowboy once again in another NBC Western as ranch foreman Sam Butler on The High Chaparral and remained throughout the entirety of its four seasons till 1971. In a 1968 interview, Collier said, "Mine is a simple part to play, a man who punches cattle for a living. And I play it pretty straight." He then landed a recurring role on the 1989-92 ABC Western The Young Riders as shopkeeper William Tompkins.
Born Donald Mounger Collier in Inglewood on October 17, 1928, the actor attended Hardin–Simmons College in Texas and Brigham Young University in Utah. He later served with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Merchant Marine before grabbing the attention of actor Francis Lederer and agent Henry Willson in California. Collier's horse-riding skills landed him the role on Outlaws. He is survived by his children, Pamela, Diane, Steven and Mike; 11 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.
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