Ronald G. "Ron" Hayes (February 26, 1929 – October 1, 2004), was an American television actor who, as an activist in the environmental movement, worked for the establishment of the first Earth Day, observed on April 22, 1970. He was a member of the Sierra Club and a founder of the ecological interest group, Wilderness World.
Hayes was born to Sam Hayes and the former Marion de Rode Brune in San Francisco. Both parents were heavily involved in the theater and acting. Hayes graduated in 1952 from nearby Stanford University with a degree in foreign relations. Hayes was a United States Marine in the Korean War. After military service, Hayes worked for radio station KSJO in San Jose, California.
In 1957, Hayes moved with his wife, Joan, and their three children, Vanessa, Peter, and Heidi, to Hollywood to launch an acting career. He was soon cast in his first engagement in 1957 as Jeff Miller in the episode "A Case of Sudden Death" of the NBC legal drama On Trial, or The Joseph Cotten Show starring Joseph Cotten. He was further cast as Lieutenant Harry Summers in the episode "Family Portrait" of Lee Marvin's NBC police drama, M Squad.
Late in 1957, Hayes was cast as "The Durango Kid" in the episode "Town of Fear" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Cheyenne, starring Clint Walker in the title role. Walter Coy played Sheriff Sam Townley in this episode, in whose jail the Kid was being held prior to his ill-fated escape. John Doucette was cast as Bill Jenkins, the leader of a lynch mob that plans to remove the Kid from jail and to hang him.
Hayes appeared again with Walter Coy, along with Paul Birch, and Robert Knapp, in the 1959 film Gunmen from Laredo, the story of a man seeking revenge for the murder of his wife and the unlikely path to closure for his grief.
In the 1961-62 season, Hayes appeared in all 38 episodes as Lincoln Vail, officer of Florida's Everglades County Patrol, in the half-hour syndicated adventure series The Everglades. After The Everglades, Hayes appeared in more Westerns, including the last season of NBC's Laramie in two episodes "Shadow of the Past" and "Protective Custody". He then appeared in Jeffrey Hunter's Temple Houston as Lambert in the episode "Billy Hart" and on The Virginian as Marshal Brett Cole in the episode "Siege", both on NBC. From 1960 to 1964, Hayes appeared as different characters in eight episodes of Wagon Train. In 1964, he appeared once on John Gavin's Destry as Jethro Jellico in "Blood Brother-in-law". In 1965, he was cast as Jamie Brewster in the episode "A Long Way Home" of A Man Called Shenandoah.
From 1966, Hayes co-starred as Ben Jones in M-G-M's short-lived ABC comedy-Western series The Rounders about cowpokes on a Texas cattle ranch, with Chill Wills as rancher Jim Ed Love and Patrick Wayne, a son of John Wayne, in the role of Howdy Lewis. Other co-stars included Walker Edmiston and Strother Martin. He also appeared on three 1966 episodes of the CBS animal drama Daktari playing Roy Meadows, an escaped murderer.
In 1967, Hayes appeared twice as George Moran on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, with Roger Mobley in the title role. He appeared that same year in several episodes of the ABC soap opera General Hospital. In 1968, he appeared in the last episode of the first season of Ironside. He remained in demand for appearances on television westerns, having guest starred twice in 1968-69 on The High Chaparral in the episodes "Threshold of Courage" and "A Fella Called Kilroy". Hayes appeared in eight segments of James Arness's CBS series Gunsmoke.
From 1969-72, after Robert Bray, as Forest Ranger Corey Stuart, had departed the series, Hayes appeared seven times on CBS's Lassie, six of those in 1971-1972 in the role of rancher Garth Holden. His co-stars at the time were Larry Pennell, as his brother, and Larry Wilcox as a friend of his son's.
In 1979, Hayes portrayed a Sheriff Pinter in Arness's ABC series How the West Was Won. Otherwise, most of his work in the 1970s was on drama series, including Raymond Burr's Ironside on NBC and The Mod Squad on ABC. He also appeared in three CBS series, Jack Lord's Hawaii Five-O, William Conrad's Cannon (as Harry Gibbons in the episode "Press Pass to the Slammer"), and Buddy Ebsen's Barnaby Jones (as Sheriff Oscar Hamlin in "Target for a Wedding"). His last recurring work was as Hank Johnson in 1980-1981 in six episodes of CBS's prime time soap opera Dallas. Thereafter, in 1983, he appeared as Tim Coulton in "Children of Jamestown" of NBC's The A-Team starring George Peppard.
Hayes died at the age of 75 of complications of a subdural hematoma as the result of a fall near his residence in Malibu, California. He was survived by his three children (his son Peter later passed away in September 2015) and five grandchildren.
From 1958-69, Hayes appeared in at least twenty-one western series:
- Clint Walker's Cheyenne as the Durango Kid in "Town of Fear" (1957) and as Cote Martin in "Reprieve" (1959) on ABC
- Wayde Preston's Colt .45 as Rick in "The Golden Gun" (ABC, 1958)
- 26 Men, syndicated series about the Arizona Rangers, a force limited to twenty-six members, with Edgar Buchanan in episode entitled "Cross and Doublecross"
- James Garner's and Jack Kelly's Maverick in the episodes "Seed of Deception" and "Passage to Fort Doom" on ABC
- Ty Hardin's Bronco in "Trail to Taos" and "Red Water North" on ABC
- Rory Calhoun's The Texan, as Rich Taber in "The Ringer" (1959), as Walt Dawson in "Thirty Hours to Kill" (1960), and as Ty Embry in "Showdown" (1960)
- Steve McQueen's Wanted: Dead or Alive on CBS, as Paul Bradley in the episode "Reckless"
- Earl Holliman's Hotel de Paree in the episode "Sundance Goes to Kill" on CBS
- Rory Calhoun's The Texan in episodes "The Ringer" and "Showdown" on CBS
- Joel McCrea's Wichita Town as Scotty in "Sidekicks" on NBC
- Henry Fonda's and Allen Case's The Deputy as Ralph Jenson in "Marked for Bounty" on NBC
- Overland Trail as Luke in "Mission into Mexico" on NBC
- The syndicated Tombstone Territory as Chuck Umber in "Day of the Amnesty" and "The Innocent Man"
- The syndicated Death Valley Days as Dan Bartlett in "Devil's Bar"
- Dale Robertson's Tales of Wells Fargo as Ira Kyle in "Run for the River" on NBC
- Chuck Connors's The Rifleman as Bruce in "Six Years and a Day" on ABC
- Klondike as Harold Enright in "Sitka Madonna" on NBC
- Charles Bateman's syndicated Two Faces West, as Toley in "Music Box"
- Bonanza in the following episodes: "Desert Justice", "The Rescue", "Mirror Of A Man", "The Bridegroom", "Night Of Reckoning" and in "Emily".
- Rawhide as Owen in "Incident of the Haunted Hills" and as Frank Lawden in "Incident of the Four Horsemen" on CBS, and
- Bat Masterson on NBC, starring Gene Barry, in which Hayes played his most significant role to date, four appearances as Marshal Wyatt Earp.
- "Social Security Death Index". Rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved February 6, 2009.
- "Farewells: Ron Hayes". gcrg.org. Retrieved February 6, 2009.
- "Ron Hayes profile". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 6, 2009.
- "Town of Fear on Cheyenne". Internet Movie Data Base. December 3, 1957. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, 4th ed., p. 710
- Lynch, Ken, and Susan Bailey, Daktari Season One Episode Guide, daktaritvshow.wordpress.com, May 15, 2013; accessed May 22, 2015.
- "Colt .45". ctva.biz. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
- "The Texan". Classic Television Archive. Retrieved January 31, 2013.