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Erin Gray

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Erin Gray
Gray at the Big Apple Comic Con in 2009
Born (1950-01-07) January 7, 1950 (age 74)
EducationUniversity of California, Los Angeles
Years active1967–present
Known forColonel Wilma Deering – Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Kate Summers-Stratton - Silver Spoons
Ken Schwartz
(m. 1968; div. 1990)
Richard Hissong
(m. 1991)

Erin Gray (born January 7, 1950)[1] is an American model, casting agent, and actress whose roles include Colonel Wilma Deering in the science fiction television series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Kate Summers-Stratton in the situation comedy Silver Spoons.

Early life[edit]

Gray was born on January 7, 1950, in Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii (now state of Hawaii), the daughter of Diane and Daniel Gray.[citation needed] When Gray was eight, her parents separated.[2] Gray lived with her grandparents in Palm Springs, California, for a few years. Eventually she and her mother moved to Larkspur, California.

Gray attended Redwood High School[2] and finished her last semester at Pacific Palisades High School. She briefly attended college at UCLA, majoring in mathematics,[2] but she left school to pursue a career in modeling and moved to New York.


Gray started her career in modeling. She entered her first contest and won a modeling assignment in St. Louis when she was 14 years old.[3] Commercials followed in Los Angeles. She also appeared on television in 1967 as a dancer in Malibu U. However, she decided to move to New York City to further her modeling career. "By 1975, Gray was one of the nation's top TV models, earning $100,000 a year."[2] Having developed an interest in acting, she auditioned for parts during her frequent trips to Los Angeles.[4][5][6][7]

In 1978, she landed her first starring role, on the miniseries Evening in Byzantium. Following good notices, Gray was put on a seven-year contract at Universal Studios, which led directly to her taking the role of Colonel Wilma Deering in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, at first for a theatrically released movie, then for a weekly TV series.[8] Gray, wearing a Spandex jumpsuit, was popular with the show's predominantly young male audience.[9]

Gray was aware of the sexiness of her tight uniform. Her character, the female lead, also had a high profile in the show, second only to Gil Gerard in the starring role and representing an early example of a strong female character in a science fiction setting.[citation needed] Gray was seen as an important role model for female viewers, as she explained to an interviewer:

I was the first female colonel. I enjoyed being that kind of role model for young women watching the show. A woman can be a colonel! A woman can be in charge! Those were new ideas then.[10]

Shortly after Buck Rogers, Gray appeared in the first season Magnum, P.I. episode, "J. 'Digger' Doyle", in which she played security expert Joy 'Digger' Doyle. The role was intended to become recurring, and even possibly spun off into a separate series, but neither happened, and it remained the character's only appearance in the series.[11] In 1982, Gray played the role of Lilah in the summer feature film Six Pack as Kenny Rogers' love interest. Gray's role as Kate Summers in the TV sitcom Silver Spoons lasted for several years in the 1980s.[8] When that show ended, she took regular film and TV work; she appeared in an episode of Superboy and Murder, She Wrote. In 1993, Gray had a featured role in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, the ninth entry in the Friday the 13th series. She also appeared in the 2005 film Siren.

In 2010, Gray and Gil Gerard returned to Buck Rogers by playing the characters' parents in the pilot episode of the Buck Rogers web series.[12] Among her work in commercials[13] was a 2010 spot for Pup-Peroni dog treats.[14]

Gray is now a casting agent[13][15] whose agency, Heroes for Hire, specializes in booking sci-fi and fantasy stars for personal appearances, speaking engagements, and charity events.[8][16] Gray also teaches tai chi.[13][17][18]

In 1998, Gray wrote a book, Act Right, with Mara Purl which contains advice for novice television and movie actors.[19] A revised edition was published in 2002.[20]

Gray starred in the 2011 film Dreams Awake (with Alien Nation co-star Gary Graham). She also played the role of Madeline Twain on the web series The Guild.

Gray guest-starred in the 2014 webisode "Lolani" from the web series Star Trek Continues as Commodore Gray, an episode that also starred Lou Ferrigno. Commodore Gray reappears in 2016, with the seventh episode "Embracing the Winds."

Personal life[edit]

Gray has been married twice. She met Ken Schwartz in high school[2] and their marriage lasted from 1968 to 1990, during which they had one son, Kevan Ray Schwartz, born in 1976. Ken Schwartz, a successful real estate executive, remained in New York with their young son when Gray first started working on Buck Rogers, and eventually moved to Los Angeles to work as her manager when her acting career flourished.[2]

Gray married Richard Hissong in 1991, and their daughter Samantha was born the same year. Samantha plays Buck Rogers' girlfriend, Maddy, in the pilot episode of James Cawley's Buck Rogers Internet video series.[21]



Year Title Role[citation needed] Notes
1979 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Colonel Wilma Deering
Winter Kills Beautiful Woman Three
1982 Six Pack Lilah
1989 The Princess and the Dwarf Unknown
1993 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday Diana Kimble
1994 A Dangerous Place Audrey
T-Force Mayor Pendleton
2000 The Last Producer Dee Freeman
Woman's Story Laurel Warner
Delicate Instruments Jessica Livingston Short
2001 Serial Intentions Virginia Madden
Touched by a Killer Liza Collins
Social Misfits Sharon Cox, Mitsy's Mom
2002 Clover Bend Betty Clayton
Special Weapons and Tactics The Mayor Short
2003 Manfast Gloria Day
2005 Caught in the Headlights Mrs. Jones
2006 Siren Sharon Cox
2007 Jane Doe: How to Fire Your Boss Laura Sands
The Wedding Video Carol
2008 Loaded Susan Price
My True Self Mrs. Ellen Fields
2009 Hunter Prey Clea
2011 Dreams Awake Hope Emrys
2012 Nesting Mrs. Deegan
2014 Christmas in Palm Springs Mayor Tomlin
2017 In-World War Mother
2019 Finding Grace Judge Ariel Harper
A Christmas Princess Queen


Year Title Role[citation needed] Notes
1976 Maude Model (uncredited) 1 episode: The Game Show
1978 Police Story Laurie Tice 1 episode: Day of Terror... Night of Fear
Evening in Byzantium Gail McKinnon TV movie
1979 The Rockford Files Margaret 'Alta' Hatch 1 episode: With the French Heel Back, Can the Nehru Jacket Be Far Behind?
The Ultimate Impostor Beatrice 'Bucky' Tate TV movie
B. J. and the Bear Samantha Evans 1 episode: Cain's Cruiser
1979–1981 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Colonel Wilma Deering Female lead, entire run (32 episodes)
1980 Vegas Jennifer Stallings 1 episode: Black Cat Killer
Coach of the Year Paula DeFalco TV movie
1980-1982 Fantasy Island Laura Jensen / Carla Marco 2 episodes: Face of Love/Image of Celeste, Skater's Edge/Concerto of Death/The Last Great Race
1980 The Love Boat Maggie Cook, Agent to Mr. Swaggart Season 4 Episode 9: Maggie Cook
1981 Magnum, P.I. Joy 'Digger' Doyle 1 episode: J."Digger" Doyle
1982 The Fall Guy Bonnie Carlson 2 episodes: License to Kill: Parts 1 & 2
Simon & Simon Vicki Whittaker 1 episode: Matchmaker
Born Beautiful Betsy Forrest TV movie
1982–1987 Silver Spoons Kate Summers-Stratton 5 seasons; 116 episodes
1985 Code of Vengeance Nadine Flowers 1 episode: Code of Vengeance
1986 Hotel Vanessa Clark 1 episode: Façades
1987 Starman Jenny Hayden 2 episodes: Starscape: Parts 1 & 2
Breaking Home Ties Carol TV movie
1988 Perry Mason: The Case of the Avenging Ace Captain Terry O'Malley TV movie
Addicted to His Love Jenny Barrett TV movie
Murder, She Wrote Andrea Dean 1 episode: Wearing of the Green
1989 The Hitchhiker Leslie 1 episode: Together Forever
Hunter Kate Lawson 1 episode: On Air
1990 L.A. Law Rochelle Peters 1 episode: Ex-Wives and Videotape
Laker Girls Julie Lawrence TV movie
Jake and the Fatman Jill Crockett 1 episode: I Know that You Know
1991 Evening Shade Madeline Hall 1 episode: Wood and Ava and Gil and Madeline
The New Lassie Maggie Sullivan 1 episode: Leeds, the Judge
1992 Superboy Samantha Meyers 1 episode: Cat and Mouse
Dark Justice Chelsea Manning 1 episode: The Specialist
Les Danseurs du Mozambique Kathryn Saint TV movie
1993 Almost Home Jennifer 1 episode: Sleeping with the Enemy
Bonkers Shirley 1 episode: Quibbling Rivalry
Official Denial Annie Corliss TV movie
1993-1996 Silk Stalkings Connie Bayliss / Jillian Borson 2 episodes: Dead Weight, Exit Dying
1994 Honor Thy Father and Mother: The True Story of the Menendez Murders Pamela Bozanich TV movie
Burke's Law Brenda Palmer 1 episode: Who Killed the Anchorman?
Heaven Help Us Unknown 1 episode: The Belle's Farewell
1995 Crowfoot Nora TV movie
Renegade Donna MacKenzie 1 episode: Dead Heat
1997–1998 Baywatch Chief Monica Johnson 5 episodes
1999–2000 Port Charles Nicole Devlin
2000 Profiler Congresswoman Karen Archer 3 episodes: Paradise Lost, The Long Way Home, Mea Culpa
2007 The Wedding Bells Candy Heller 1 episode: Wedding from Hell
Nuclear Hurricane Jane TV movie
2008 Ghouls Liz TV movie
2010 Elf Sparkle and the Special Red Dress Josette Peacock TV movie
2011 The Guild Madeleine Twain 5 episodes
2012 I Married Who? Ethel Swift TV movie
2013 TableTop Herself 1 episode: "Unspeakable Words"
2014 Star Trek Continues Commodore Gray 2 episodes: Lolani, Embracing the Winds
2016 A Perfect Christmas Patricia TV movie
2017 Mystery Science Theater 3000 Martha Masters 1 episode: Reptilicus
2018 The Thundermans "Nana" Thunderman Episode: Make it Pop Pop

Video game[edit]

Year Title Role class
2009 Ghostbusters: The Video Game Spider Witch / Additional Voices


  1. ^ "UPI Almanac for Monday, Jan, 7, 2019". United Press International. January 7, 2019. Archived from the original on September 21, 2019. Retrieved September 21, 2019. actor Erin Gray in 1950 (age 69)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Calio, Jim (July 7, 1980). "Buck Rogers Wouldn't Dare Tell Erin Gray What She's Heard for 14 Years from Ken Schwartz: Go Fly a Kite". People. Vol. 14, no. 1. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012.
  3. ^ Eastman, Janet (June 1981). "Erin: The beautiful star of 'Buck Rogers' is out of this world". Orange Coast Magazine. p. 19.
  4. ^ "Erin Gray Biography". Quotesquotations.com. January 7, 1952. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  5. ^ "Erin Gray - Buck Rogers in the 25th Century". October 24, 2009. Archived from the original on October 24, 2009. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  6. ^ Lee, Helen Angela. "Scifi TV Talent Profile - Erin Gray, Actor". bellaonline.com.
  7. ^ "Siren - Erin Gray". sirenthemovie.com. Archived from the original on January 15, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  8. ^ a b c Kelly, Suzanne (September 6, 2010). "Conventions: Another day at the office for celebs". CNN. Retrieved September 6, 2010.
  9. ^ "Erin Gray Talks the Impact 'Buck Rogers' Had on Her Life". Closer Weekly. September 10, 2019. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  10. ^ "Erin Gray". Filmbug.com. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  11. ^ "15 Backdoor Pilots That Never Became TV Shows". mentalfloss.com. February 15, 2015. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  12. ^ "Buck Rogers Returns". PressRepublican.com. November 9, 2009. Archived from the original on January 4, 2013.
  13. ^ a b c "Erin Gray interview with Movie Mikes". deskofbrian.com. October 10, 2010. Archived from the original on December 10, 2010.
  14. ^ Keller, Joel (September 7, 2010). "Is That Really Erin Gray of 'Silver Spoons' in a Pup-Peroni Commercial?". TVSquad.com. Archived from the original on January 1, 2011.
  15. ^ "Erin Gray to bring a Sci-Fi Star Lineup to Hayden Black’s The Cabonauts on Dailymotion", Business Wire, June 10, 2009.
  16. ^ "Heroes for Hire website". Heroesforhire.info. Archived from the original on October 4, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  17. ^ Anderson, Martin. The Den of Geek interview: Erin Gray, DenofGeek.com, January 8, 2008.
  18. ^ Biography page, Erin Gray's official website; accessed September 6, 2010.
  19. ^ Gray, Erin; Purl, Mara. Act Right: A Manual for the On-Camera Actor, Haven Books, 1998. ISBN 0-9659480-0-5
  20. ^ Gray, Erin; Purl, Mara. Act Right: A Manual for the On-Camera Actor, 2002 expanded edition, ISBN 1-58436-000-3
  21. ^ McKinstry, Lohr. "Buck Rogers returns" Archived January 4, 2013, at archive.today, Press Republican, November 9, 2009.

External links[edit]