Erin Gray | Srivideo
Born/Date of Birth: January 7, 1950
Place of Birth: Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, United States
Occupation: Film, television actress
Height: 1.71 m
Education: Palisades Charter High School, Redwood High School, University of California, Los Angeles
Children: Samantha Gray Hissong, Kevan Gray Schwartz
Spouse: Richard Hissong (m. 1991), Ken Schwartz (m. 1968–1990)
Erin Gray (born January 7, 1950) is an American actress, perhaps best known for her roles as Colonel Wilma Deering in the science fiction television series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and as Kate Summers-Stratton in the situation comedy Silver Spoons.
Gray was born on January 7, 1950, in Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii (now, the state of Hawaii), the daughter of Diane and Daniel Gray. When Gray was eight, her parents separated. Gray lived with her grandparents in Palm Springs for a few years. Eventually she and her mother moved to Larkspur, California. Gray attended Redwood High School and finished her last semester at Pacific Palisades High School. She briefly attended college at UCLA, majoring in mathematics, but she left school to pursue a career in modeling and moved to New York.
Gray started her career in modelling. She entered her first contest and won a modelling assignment in St Louis when she was 14 years old. Commercials followed suit in Los Angeles. She also appeared on television in 1967 as a dancer in Malibu U. However, she decided to move to New York to further her modeling career. "By 1975 Gray was one of the nation's top TV models, earning $100,000 a year." Having developed an interest in acting, she auditioned for parts during her frequent trips to Los Angeles.
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. Gray's trim, shapely figure, augmented by a tight one-piece jumpsuit uniform, was popular with the show's predominantly young male audience.
In response, Gray commented that she was aware of the sexiness of her uniform which was so tight that she had to be sewn into it. Her character was also high-profile within the show, being the female lead and second only to Gil Gerard in the starring role, thus representing one of the early examples of a strong female character in a science fiction setting. Because of this Gray was seen as an important role model for female viewers. She once told 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.
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 planned to become recurring, even possibly a spin-off series, but neither occurred, and it was the character's only appearance in the series. In 1982, she played the role of Lilah in the summer movie Six Pack as a love interest opposite Kenny Rogers. Gray's role as Kate Summers in the TV sitcom Silver Spoons lasted for several years in the 1980s. When that show ended, she took regular film and TV work; she appeared in an episode of Superboy and Murder, She Wrote. In 1993, she had a featured role in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, the ninth entry in the Friday the 13th series. In 2005, she appeared in the 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. She has also worked in commercials, including a 2010 spot for Pup-Peroni dog treats.
Gray is also a casting agent. Her agency, Heroes for Hire, specializes in booking sci-fi and fantasy stars for personal appearances, speaking engagements, and charity events. Gray also teaches T'ai chi.
In 1998, Gray wrote a book Act Right with Mara Purl which contains advice for novice television and movie actors. A revised edition was published in 2002.
Gray starred in the 2011 film Dreams Awake (with "Alien Nation" co-star Gary Graham). She also plays the role of Madeline Twain on the webseries The Guild.
Gray has also guest-starred in the 2014 webisode "Lolani" from the web series Star Trek Continues as Commodore Gray, an episode that also starred Lou Ferrigno. She reprised the role in the episode "Embrace The Winds."
Gray has been married twice. She met her first husband, Ken Schwartz, in high school. Although Schwartz was a successful real estate executive, he eventually became her manager after her acting career became significant. The marriage lasted from 1968 to 1990. They had one son, Kevan Ray Schwartz, born in 1976.
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.
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