Gary Vinson

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.

Gary Vinson
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)

Early years

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


Vinson began acting in 1957. His television debut came in the role of a page boy on Milton Berle's program.[1]

Among his first 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.[4]:899 The series ended its run in January 1962, and Vinson then appeared as Alvin in the episode "This Gun for Sal3" 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.[4] 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.[4]:837

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 film debut came in Rockabilly Baby (1957).[5] 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.


Year Title Role Notes
1957The Young StrangerBoy in Courtroom(scenes deleted)
1957Fear Strikes OutHigh School BallplayerUncredited
1957Perry MasonMarv AdamsCase of the Drowning Duck, s1e4
1957The Invisible BoyYoung soldierUncredited
1957Rockabilly BabyJimmy Carter
1958The Restless YearsBruce's FriendUncredited
1959Yellowstone KellyLieutenant
1960High School CaesarBob Williams
1961A Majority of OneMr. McMillan
1964McHale's NavyQuartermaster George Christopher
1965McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force
1968Nobody's PerfectWalt Purdy
1975Half a HouseGolfer


  1. Johnson, Erskine (December 31, 1966). "Gary Is Bungling, But Only for Role". The Ithica Journal. New York, Ithaca. p. 33. Retrieved August 30, 2018 via
  2. "They Can't Send Gary Back To El Segundo, He's There". Arizona Republic. Arizona, Phoenix. May 14, 1961. p. 4-F. Retrieved August 30, 2018 via
  3. "Sign Man of Year". Press and Sun-Bulletin. New York, Binghamton. December 20, 1959. p. 50. Retrieved August 30, 2018 via
  4. 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.
  5. "Music and Romance Keynote Attractions on View Today". Joplin Globe. Missouri, Joplin. February 2, 1958. p. 11. Retrieved August 30, 2018 via
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