Western Legend Don Collier, Star in ‘The High Chaparral’ and Others, Dead at 92

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Don Collier, the western film icon who starred in various films such as The High Chaparral, Outlaws, and The Young Riders, had passed away at the age of 92 in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

The Hollywood Reporter reported on Monday (September 13th) that Don Collier’s friend and casting director Susan McCray announced the actor died after his fight against lung cancer. Born in Santa Monica, California on October 17, 1928, Collier is known for his acting in Western films, as well as TV shows Bonanza and Gunsmoke.

Prior to becoming an actor, Don Collier served in both the Navy and the Merchant Marines. According to his IMDb, Collier has made over 200 credit movie and television appearances. He also acted alongside various Hollywood icons, including John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Tom Selleck, Anthony Quinn, and Elvis Presley. His first role was notably as an extra in the 1949 film Massacre River. Collier recently just wrapped his latest film No Name and Dynamite Davenport. 

The Hollywood Reporter went on to note that the actor’s death comes just a little over a year after Don Collier: Confessions of an Acting Cowboy was released. He has four children, 11 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren. 

Don Collier Opens Up About Working With John Wayne 

During a 2016 interview with Classic Film & TV Cafe, Don Collier recalled the first time he worked alongside fellow Western film legend, John Wayne, in El Dorado, but the actors didn’t really work together due to the fact that Collier was in the Paramount Studios and Wayne was in Arizona.

But that wasn’t the last time Don Collier worked with Wayne. “It was great working with him. In The War Wagon, I worked the whole 13 weeks. In one scene, I get out of the war wagon with two of the stunt guys. Duke’s character has an argument with us and he decks the two stunt guys. He slams the coach door in my face.”

The actor does state that there were no hard feelings about Wayne’s actions on set. “He says, ‘Don, do you want us to get a stunt guy to do your part?’ I said, ‘Oh, hell no. Go ahead and shame the door. I’ll catch with it one arm.’”

The duo went on to film The High Chaparral and Wayne even asked Collier if he was going to Mexico to film The Undefeated.

I said I hadn’t even heard about it. He said, ‘Get your butt over to Fox and talk to Andy McLaglen. I’ll call him and tell him you’re coming over.’”  Collier goes on to reveal that he ended up talking to McLaglen and ending up being hired for the 1969 western film. “See, Duke liked the fact I took that stagecoach door in the face.”