“I’m very excited to be joining the High Chaparral Reunion and it’s great line up of Cowpokes in Tucson. I look forward to having a fun time there with some great old friends and getting to meet and make new ones. If at all possible, you should make sure to come on by and say howdy!!”
~ Darby Hinton
By Jane Rodgers
Tucson, ARIZONA—The High Chaparral Reunion has grown its guest list. Not only will stars, guest stars, stuntmen and producers of the iconic television western be featured, but other western greats are also scheduled to ride the stage in Tucson March 17-20, 2016, to mix and mingle with fans as the event expands its focus to honor the entire western film and television genre.
“The High Chaparral” star Don Collier, who played ranch foreman Sam Butler, will again attend the event. Collier, a veteran actor with over 200 television and feature film roles to his credit, starred in the TV series “The Outlaws” (1960-62). Collier has acted with John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Anthony Quinn, Dean Martin, Tom Selleck, James Arness and Elvis, among many others, appearing in five John Wayne movies. With his deep, resonant voice, Collier continues to stay busy as a commercial spokesman for Arbuckles coffee and in the past has endorsed such varied products as Hubba-Bubba bubble gum and Pace picante sauce. His one-man show, “Confessions of an Acting Cowboy,” garners rave reviews wherever it is performed.
Also attending from “The High Chaparral” cast will beRudy Ramos, who played the half-breed Pawnee Wind in the final season of the series. Ramos’s other TV credits include recurring roles on “Resurrection Boulevard” (2000) and “Hunter” (1984). He starred in the made-for-TV movie “Helter Skelter,” among many other TV movie credits and performed more than 60 guest spots on episodic television. Ramos appeared in feature films such as “Beverly Hills Cop II” (1987) with Eddie Murphy and “The Enforcer” (1976) with Clint Eastwood. He has acted with Sean Penn, Ryan O’Neal, Kevin Bacon, Art Carney, Laurence Fishburne, Robert Duvall and Steve Railsback, among others. A veteran of stage as well as screen, Ramos is currently appearing nationally in his one-man show, “Geronimo: Life on the Reservation.”
Robert Fuller nearly turned down the role of Dr. Kelly Brackett in the television series “Emergency!,” the Jack Webb production which ran from 1972-76, because Fuller preferred to act in westerns. Fuller’s career, which spanned more than 60 years, included regular roles in westerns, a genre for which his rugged good looks and deep voice made him a natural. He played Jess Harper in “Laramie” (1959-63), Cooper Smith in the iconic series “Wagon Train” (1963-65) and guest starred in over 60 television series and made-for-TV movies. In addition to the two western series in which he was a regular, he also appeared on “The Big Valley,” “Death Valley Days,” “The Virginian,” “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp” and “Cimarron City,” among others. His final TV role was a guest appearance on “Walker, Texas Ranger,” in 2001. In addition, Fuller acted in nearly 30 feature films, including the 1966 “The Return of the Seven,” the sequel to “The Magnificent Seven.” Among the many awards garnered during his long career, Fuller was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Golden Boot award, induction into the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the Silver Spur award, the inaugural Spirit of the Cowboy Lonestar Legacy Award, and the Japanese and German equivalents of the Emmy awards for best actor. Retired from acting today, he appears at film festivals and is a rancher in Texas.
BarBara Luna was born in Manhattan and grew up on Broadway, so her career choice as a performer is not surprising. Known to “High Chaparral” fans as Conchita, the sexy girlfriend of El Caudillo (Fernando Lamas) The High Chaparral’s “The Firing Wall,” Luna has appeared in hundreds of television shows and feature films. She played the recurring role of Theresa Modesto in “Zorro” (1958) and created the role of Maria Roberts in the soap opera “One Life to Live” (1968). Among her feature films, Luna appeared in “Firecreek” (1968) with James Stewart and Henry Fonda; “Ship of Fools” (1965) with Vivien Leigh, Simone Signoret, and Lee Marvin; and “The Concrete Jungle.” She played Frank Sinatra’s love interest in “The Devil at 4 O’Clock” (1961). In addition to her guest spot on THC, Luna appeared in many western TV shows such as “Gunsmoke,” “The Wild Wild West,” “Laredo,” “The Big Valley” and “Lancer.” Versatile, Luna is as likely to appear at a Star Trek convention as she is at a western film festival. “Star Trek” fans remember her as Lt. Marlena Moreau in the original series. Other TV guest spots included roles on “Fantasy Island” (1977), “Dallas” (1978), “The Bill Cosby Show” (1969), “Hunter” (1984) and “Mission: Impossible” (1966). A talented singer, Luna also performed on Broadway in “South Pacific,” “The King and I,” “A Chorus Line,” and a revival of “West Side Story” at the Lincoln Center. Luna stays busy performing today. Her latest film, “Unbelievable!!!!!,” is currently in post-production.
Actor/director Ed Faulkner is familiar to any fan of movie and TV westerns. Faulkner decided to give Hollywood a go in 1958. Actor Richard Boone became a mentor. With Faulkner’s physique, wholesome looks, and horsemanship skill, he soon won guest spots on many television shows, especially westerns, including multiple appearances on “Bonanza,” “Gunsmoke,” “Rawhide,” and “Have Gun-Will Travel.” Over the next two decades, Faulkner would appear in over 250 television shows and 30 feature films and made-for-TV movies, including six John Wayne films (“Rio Lobo,” “McLintock,” “Hellfighters,” “The Green Berets,” “Chisum,” “The Undefeated”). He worked with Elvis Presley, James Stewart, Jack Lemmon, Dean Martin, Maureen O’Hara, Doris Day, Jean Arthur, Brian Keith, Rock Hudson, Jim Hutton, Vera Miles and Katharine Ross, among others.
Former animal trainer, stuntman, and body builder Dan Haggertyis best known for his portrayal of rugged frontiersman Grizzly Adams in the television series “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams” (1977-78), an iconic role he originated in the 1974 feature film of the same name. Haggerty reprised the part in the 1981 film “Legend of the Wild,” and again in the 1982 TV movie “The Capture of Grizzly Adams.” In addition to guest appearances on television shows such as “Charlie’s Angels,” “CHiPs,” and “The Love Boat,” Haggarty has acted in over 50 feature and made-for-TV films. He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994. Among other honors, Haggerty was named Harley-Davidson’s Humanitarian of the Year in 1986 and won the People’s Choice Award as most popular actor in 1980. In recent years, Haggerty played Foreman Bill in the 2013 film “Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan,” and Merle in 2013’s “Dead in 5 Heartbeats.” Two film projects: “The Untold Story,” and “40 Nights” are currently in post-production. Haggerty also recently appeared on the reality TV show “American Pickers.”
What baby boomer didn’t want to be Israel Boone of the 1960s television series “Daniel Boone” (1964-70)? Child star Darby Hinton, whose acting career began at six months of age, was the envy of all in his role as Israel, the son of frontiersman Boone. Fess Parker, who played Boone, proved to be both an on-screen father to Hinton and an off-screen surrogate dad as the young actor’s own father died when Darby was just over a year old. The two remained close until Parker’s death in 2010. In addition to his work on “Daniel Boone,” Hinton guest starred on many series as a child actor, including “Disney’s Wonderful World of Color,” “Route 66,” “Mister Ed,” “Wagon Train,” “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” and “The Big Valley.” Adult TV roles included spots on “Hawaii Five-O” (1975), “The Fall Guy,” “Jake and the Fatman,” “Hunter,” “Lois and Clark” and “Magnum, P.I.,” among many others. Hinton has also acted in over two dozen films, TV movies and video shorts. His most recent role is of President Burnet in “Texas Rising,” a five part mini-series distributed in 2015 by The History Channel.
High school prom queen and Disney actress Roberta Shore made her mark in television westerns with the role of Betsy Garth for three seasons in “The Virginian.” Her career began long before the 1960s series when Shore, age 10, began singing with Tex Williams, who featured her on his weekly TV show from Knott’s Berry Farm. Shore next became a cast member of “The Pinky Lee Show,” NBC’s top rated children’s TV program. Disney Studios cast her as Annette Funicello’s romantic rival in “Annette,” a separate show that was a part of “The Mickey Mouse Club.” Shore played a similar role in the popular feature film “The Shaggy Dog” (1959), also performing the movie’s theme song. Never a Mouseketeer herself, Shore voiced Mouseketeer animated projects and recorded on the Disney label. She acted often on network TV, including a recurring role as a school friend of Elinor Donahue in “Father Knows Best,” multiple appearances on “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” and a regular role on “The Bob Cummings Show,” all of which led to her being cast on “The Virginian.” Shore also played supporting parts in such films as “A Summer Place” (1959), “Blue Denim” (1959),“Strangers When We Met” (1960), “Because They’re Young” (1960) and “The Young Savages” (1961). She left acting to raise her family in Salt Lake City, working as a disc jockey for a Utah radio station in the 1980s. In 2003, she was cast as Ishmael’s wife in the Gary Rogers’s film “The Book of Mormon Movie: Volume 1: The Journey.” Most recently, Shore played Grandma in “Billy and the Bandit,” a TV movie currently in post-production.
Actor Stan Ivar performed the role of John Carter from 1982-83 on “Little House on the Prairie,” a part he reprised in three TV movies: “Little House: Look Back to Yesterday” (1983), “Little House: The Last Farewell” (1984) and “Little House: Bless All the Dear Children” (1984).
The role of John Carter is only one of scores the veteran character actor has portrayed on television and the big screen. Ivar’s resume includes major parts in the feature films “Creature” (1985), the animated “Rock-A-Doodle” (1991) and “Ed” (1996). He has guest starred on some 50 television series and soap operas, including “Highway to Heaven,” “General Hospital,” “Matlock,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Star Trek Voyager,” and most recently, the popular “NCIS.” Ivar has also appeared in over a dozen TV movies, including those produced by the “Little House” franchise.
Like Stan Ivar, actor, author and legendary stuntmanNeil Summers is no stranger to The High Chaparral Reunion. Summers, who worked as a stuntman under the direction of stunt coordinator Henry Wills on “The High Chaparral,” often also appeared in the series in small acting roles. Born in London, UK, Summers’s Hollywood career spans five decades and includes stunt work on well over 100 feature films, TV movies and television series. As an actor, Summers performed in nearly 50 television shows and TV movies, including “Kenny Rogers as The Gambler,” “The Fall Guy,” a regular role as Deputy Virgil on “Lucky Luke” (1992) and multiple appearances on “Gunsmoke.” His feature films as an actor include “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “RoboCop,” “Dick Tracy” and many others. Although an accomplished actor, Summers is best known for his stunt work on TV and films, including “Glory” (1989), “Harry and the Hendersons” (1987), Tim Burton’s “Mars Attacks” (1996) and “The Jackal” (1997). He worked as a stuntman on Clint Eastwood’s ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales,” and John Wayne’s “True Grit,” “Rio Lobo,” “El Dorado,” and “McLintock,” among scores of western and other films. Summers also performed stuntwork on dozens of TV series and mini-series, including “Little House on the Prairie,” “Centennial” and “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman.” Summers is the author of The Official TV Western Round-Up Book (2002), The Unsung Heroes: Hollywood Stuntmen and Stuntwomen and Your Favorite Stars in Classic Action Scenes (1996) and The First Official TV Western Book (1987). He is a regular contributor to Western Clippings magazine.
New to the High Chaparral Reunion in 2016 will beWyatt McCrea, grandson of legendary actors Joel McCrea and Frances Dee. A rancher, producer and actor, Wyatt McCrea is the co-owner of Third Point Productions, producers of television content, music videos, and commercials. He is an associate producer of the TV series “Gen’s Guiltless Gourmet” (2009). He is also known for his work on “Bowery Rhapsody: The Rise and Redemption of Hollywood’s Original ‘Brat Pack’” (2016) and “Big History” (2013). As an actor, McCrea has appeared on the “Call 911” cable television series and has also appeared in advertisements in print and electronic media. McCrea is a founding member and board president of the Joel and Frances McCrea Ranch Foundation. He is a past member of the Executive Committee of the Golden Boot Awards. McCrea serves or has served on the boards of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the Will Rogers Ranch Foundation and RideOn Therapeutic Horsemanship. He is also a member of the Rodeo Historical Society and the American Quarter Horse Association.
No High Chaparral Reunion would be complete without “Big Daddy” Kent McCray and his beautiful wife,Susan McCray. Kent McCray was the production manager for “The High Chaparral,” but his other stellar credits include show-running duties on “Bonanza,” “Highway to Heaven” and “Little House on the Prairie,” the latter two projects with his good friend Michael Landon. The McCrays, married since January 28, 1984, met during the run of “The High Chaparral,” when Susan worked as an administrative assistant to the casting director at Paramount Studios in charge of the David Dortort series. Susan’s father, the legendary composer Harry Sukman, wrote the musical score for “The High Chaparral.” An accomplished singer herself, Susan was under contract to Monument Records as Susan Sands. She worked in the casting departments of both Paramount and Warner Brothers before Michael Landon tapped her to become casting director of “Little House on the Prairie” in 1974. She would also cast Landon’s “Highway to Heaven” (1984) and “Sam’s Son,” a feature based on Landon’s life. The many other shows for which Susan worked in casting included “Hawaii Five-O” (1968), “Kung Fu,” “The New Land,” “Happy Days, “Laverne & Shirley,” “Mannix” and “The Odd Couple.” Reunion guests will be treated to a vocal performance by Susan McCray.
Rounding out the High Chaparral Reunion weekend will be appearances by Buck Montgomery, Jeff McCarroll, Charlie LeSueur and Boyd Magers.
Montgomery, a.k.a. Dr. Buck, a stuntman, cowboy re-enactor, artist, producer, and actor, was hired at 19 as an animation artist at Disney Studios. He found a career as a stuntman when a studio employee asked him if he could fall off a horse for fifty bucks. He could. In addition to stunt work and acting projects, Montgomery produces Arizona’s biggest Wild West event, co-produces two signature events with and at Old Tucson and is the founder of the Wild West Performing Arts Society. He also runs True West Casting Company. Jeff McCarroll appears with Montgomery in “C-Bar,” a 2015 film produced and directed by Patrick Ball. In addition to film work, McCarroll performs with Montgomery’s stunt group, Dr. Buck’s Wild Bunch, and is a founding member of Dr. Buck’s Ricochet Radio Ranglers, a live onstage radio show performing ensemble.
Charlie LeSueur, with the well-deserved title of Arizona’s Official Western Film Historian, has written books on the subject and teaches classes on western film. In 2014 he was honored by the placing of his “bootprint” on the Apacheland Wall of Fame at Arizona’s Superstition Mountain Museum. LeSueur studied at the Lee Strasburg Institute, Theatre of the Arts, Off the Wall-Improv group and Lonny Chapman’s Group Repertory Theatre. Since returning with his family to his hometown of Mesa, Arizona, in 1985, LeSueur has appeared in over 200 commercials and hosted such TV shows as “At Home in Arizona,” “Dining Out in Arizona,” “Hoover’s Place” and “Chrome Highway.” He frequently moderates panel discussions and conducts interviews at western film festivals across the country.
Author, publisher and journalist Boyd Magers is also well known to fans of western films, books and television series. Magers has organized and moderated over 150 western celebrity panel discussions and seminars at film festivals across the country, including events at the Herbert Hoover and Bill Clinton presidential libraries, where he also staged exhibits of his vast collection of western TV and film memorabilia. A prolific author with a background in radio broadcasting, Magers has contributed research, photos and articles for dozens of authors including Leonard Maltin. Magers appeared in the 2007 TV documentary “Gene Autry: White Hat, Silver Screen.” He has written dozens of articles and six books on western film. Magers also publishes the bi-monthly western film newsletter Western Clippings.