HomeEntertainment‘Dukes of Hazzard’: What Happened to Actors Behind Cousins Coy and Vance Duke?

‘Dukes of Hazzard’: What Happened to Actors Behind Cousins Coy and Vance Duke?

by John Jamison
(Photo by Fotos International/Courtesy of Getty Images)

When Dukes of Hazzard fans tuned in to watch their favorite Georgia family in the fall of 1982, they were shocked to find a brand new pair of Duke cousins. Due to a contract dispute with Bo and Luke actors John Schneider and Tom Wopat, the show was forced to replace them for nearly an entire season. Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer were brought in to play Coy and Vance Duke. How did that work out?

For Dukes of Hazzard fans? Not too well. For Byron and Christopher’s acting careers, though? The Coy and Vance parts were a big deal.

Fans were rightfully confused by the addition of two new Dukes who looked, talked, and behaved the same way as their predecessors. Dukes of Hazzard hadn’t mentioned them before, and the explanation the show gave was that Bo and Luke went off to pursue opportunities on the NASCAR circuit.

And when the show finally settled the contract dispute with Schneider and Wopat? Same story. No further mention of Coy and Vance. They simply welcomed Bo and Luke back, saying Coy and Vance went to help a relative.

Coy and Vance After ‘Dukes of Hazzard’

Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer also appeared as Coy and Vance in The Dukes—a short-lived animated spinoff series. From there, they went in different directions.

Cherry appeared on Murder, She Wrote in 1985, and a few movies, including The Fix and Blood Salvage, until 1990 when he stepped away from acting. In 2018, he stepped back into the spotlight and has since appeared in a few projects helmed by none other than John Schneider.

Christopher Mayer, on the other hand, pursued his acting career in earnest after Dukes. He landed big roles on Glitter and Santa Barbara in the 1980s, sticking around for 180 episodes on the latter. From there, he made the leap into movies during the 1990s. Fans may recognize him from roles in Liar, Liar, and The Hunted. Tragically, Mayer passed away in 2011 to natural causes.

Byron Cherry Thought He Was Being Called in So the Show Could Give Him the Bad News, Was Greeted with Champagne and Christopher Mayer Headlock Instead

Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer auditioned for weeks to land their roles on Dukes of Hazzard. Cherry was so unsure of his performance that when they called him in to give him the job, he thought they were letting him go.

“The next morning, we come in, and there’s champagne on the table. I go, ‘Why is all this champagne on the table? What’s going on?’ and they say, ‘You got the job!’ I said, ‘Well, I can’t do it by myself!’ and somebody gives me headlock, and I turn around and it’s Chris Mayer!” Cherry told Entertainment Weekly in 2011 as part of a Christopher Mayer remembrance.