It is always a sincere pleasure to talk with Don Collier. He not only has the classic look of a cowboy, but also an incredible voice that is rich and deep. Don has been kicking back and relaxing in Florida enjoying the white sandy beach of the Gulf Coast. However, he will return to Tucson in time for this year’s High Chaparral Reunion scheduled for March 19th – 22nd, which is the perfect time to visit Arizona, where it already feels like springtime.
How were you cast in The High Chaparral?
“I worked on the Outlaws for two years and on Bonanza episodes during 1960-65, knew everybody. Kent McCray was working on Bonanza and on High Chaparral. He asked me to join the cast.”
Which of the cast did you meet first?
“I knew Bobby Hoy from a 1956 Dramatic workshop in Hollywood and Jerry Summers on the Outlaws. There was a group meeting at Paramount, with everyone then they sent us to get our costumes.”
What was the most challenging episode?
“The lead in for Follow Your Heart. I felt good with it and things flowed nicely.”
Has Old Tucson Studio changed much over the years?
“Well, it burned down 20 years ago. Everything except the High Chaparral ranch house. They rebuilt with lots of improvements. Now they also have an Indian Village with a guided tour. The tour guide speaks Apache”
When did you first attend the reunion?
“The first one I attended was in 2007, at the Sportmen’s Lodge in Studio City, California, organized by Bobby Hoy. Penny McQueen got involved in 2007. It moved to Tucson in 2009 when Penny started running the event.”
What are you working on now?
“I have a little part in The Scars of Sins, scheduled to shoot in Tucson in September. Haven’t seen the script yet. Eric Estrada and a great local Tucson actor, Jeff McCarrol are in the cast..
If you were in a Western with today’s talent, who would you cast?
“Sam Elliott, Tom Selleck, William Devane, Jeff McCarrol, and Freddy Lopez from Santa Fe.”
“Have you worked with Sam Elliott before?
“Yes, in Tombstone and The Sacketts. In 1971, I did a Head and Shoulders Shampoo commercial with Sam. We were both in a bathroom. One of us was shaving and one was in the bathtub. When we were on the Tombstone set I asked Sam if he remembered who was in the bathtub and we both think it was Sam.”
What is the most exotic location where you’ve worked?
“Monument Valley. I did a Rayovac Battery commercial there.”
Thank you, Don, for your time. You are a charming cowboy and I look forward to talking with you again soon.