The longtime host of “Hour Magazine” and former master of ceremonies for the Miss America Pageant, Gary Collins, passed away at the age of 74 on Saturday in Biloxi, Mississippi. Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove said that Collins passed away from natural causes after he arrived at the Biloxi Regional Medical Center.
Collins moved to Mississippi in 2011, which is the home state of Mary Ann Mobley, his wife. Mobley is an actress and was Miss America in 1959. In 2011, Collins was arrested and then fined for not paying his dinner bill at a restaurant in Biloxi. In California, Collins was convicted in separate DUI cases in 2007 and 2009.
Collins was the host of “Hour Magazine” from 1980 to 1988. The show was much lighter than the ones hosted by Geraldo River and Phil Donahue. In 1989, Collins said the following in an interview with The Times after his show was canceled:
“It seems that the viewing public and producers of those programs have tapped into this insatiable desire for stronger formats, stronger issues, stronger confrontations, a stronger examination of subject matter and reality subject matter. And that was never ‘Hour Magazine.’ I am inquisitive, sensitive, caring, likable, nonconfrontational. I don’t think all television has to be on that hard edge.… That’s basically not a part of my character.”
In the decade of the 1980s, Collins was the master of ceremonies for the Miss America Pageant. Collins joined the Army after he enrolled in Santa Monica City College. While in the Army, Collins was a disc jockey for the Armed Forces Radio. In 1965, Collins was cast for a role in the sitcom “The Wackiest Ship in the Army.” He then acquired regular roles on “Iron Horse,” “The Sixth Sense” and “Born Free.” Collins also made multiple guest appearances on prime-time programs.
Collins was born on April 30, 1938 in Venice. He is survived by his three children.