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October 22, 1936|
Los Angeles, California, USA
|Died||October 15, 1984
Redondo Beach, California
|Cause of death||Suicide|
|Resting place||Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles|
|Height||6' (1.83 m)|
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.
Early life and career
Born in Los Angeles, California, Vinson began acting in 1957. 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, with co-stars Dorothy Provine, John Dehner, Rex Reason, Donald May and Mike Road. 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. Vinson appeared in 79 episodes from 1962–66, 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.
In 1968 he starred with Doug McClure and David Hartman in the film Nobody's Perfect, a naval comedy about the USS Bustard, and 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.
On October 15, 1984, a week before his 48th birthday, Vinson committed suicide by self-inflicted gunshot [clarification needed] in Redondo Beach, California, apparently because of impending legal trouble.