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Don Durant

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Don Durant

Jeff and Heidi

Actor and Businessman

Trudy Durant (m. 1959)

Don Durant wwwjohnnyringonetPicturesInsideComicDonjpg

Full Name
Donald Allison Durae

November 20, 1932 (

Resting place
Pacific View Memorial Park, Corona del Mar, California

Monarch Beach, California

March 15, 2005, Monarch Beach, Dana Point, California, United States

Movies and TV shows
Johnny Ringo, She Gods of Shark Reef

Vintage Vocal Jazz / Swing No. 140 - EP: Are You Satisfied?

Similar People
Gladys Cooper, Donna Douglas, Ronald Stein, Buddy Ebsen, Art Carney

Cause of death
Leukemia and lymphoma

Don Durant -- Cry Me A River (

Don Durant (born Donald Allison Durae; November 20, 1932 – March 15, 2005) was an American actor and singer, best known for his role as the gunslinger-turned-sheriff in the CBS Western series Johnny Ringo, which ran on Thursdays from October 1, 1959 to June 30, 1960.


Don Durant autodurant1jpg



Don Durant Goodbye Johnny Don Durant

Durant was born Donald Allison Durae in Long Beach, California. His father was killed in a truck accident near Bakersfield two months before Durant's birth; his mother remarried three times before she died of lung cancer at the age of only forty-six in 1959. Durant himself was seriously injured a few weeks before his eleventh birthday, when his bicycle chain broke, and he careened into the path of a cement truck. He lay in a coma for three days, his right arm fractured, his right femur and hip so badly damaged that doctors nearly amputated the leg before his family scraped up enough money for a specialist. Young Durant was bedridden for more than a year.

Don Durant Pictures amp Photos of Don Durant IMDb

One of Durant's stepfathers owned a cattle ranch near Elko in northeastern Nevada. Durant spent a summer there and learned to shoot and ride before he returned to California. In junior high school, he was a deejay for a local radio station. In high school, he played on the football team, having worn special plates because of his previous injuries. He enlisted in the United States Navy. At one point, he served in the United States Army as well because of a mixup in paperwork. Toward the end of his commitment, he entertained veterans at Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco.

Singer and actor

Durant then began touring the American West as a singer/actor. He opened at many prestigious nightclubs, such as The Sands and the Sahara in Las Vegas. He garnered a small role in the 1955 Van Heflin film Battle Cry. To supplement his income, Durant taught actors how to ride horses and shoot guns, and worked at RCA as a technician. He helped to build the first kinescopic recorder and stereophonic sound recorder for Warner Brothers. In 1954, he signed with CBS to take small roles as the singer or young lover in a variety of legendary series, including The Jack Benny Show. He sang Groucho Marx's popular "It's delightful, it's Delovely, it's DeSoto" advertising jingle for the former DeSoto automobiles.

In 1955, Durant met big band leader Ray Anthony and began filming various television advertisements. One for Papermate pens featured his future wife, the former Trudy Wroe, but he did not meet her at the time because his voice was dubbed into the commercial to replace her co-star. In 1956, Durant starred and did his own stunts in Roger Corman's She-Gods of Shark Reef, which became a cult classic. Continuing to tour, he sang on Anthony's ABC variety series and recorded an album.

Durant obtained more guest-starring roles, having appeared as Ronnie Mann in the 1957 episode "Ride 'Til You Die", about a love triangle at a dude ranch which explodes into murder, in Rod Cameron's syndicated series State Trooper. He appeared on another syndicated series, Rescue 8, starring Jim Davis and Lang Jeffries, and in the first episode of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series Maverick to feature Jack Kelly as Bart Maverick, the brother of Bret Maverick (James Garner). Durant had auditioned for the role of Bart but was instead cast as a singing bad guy in the episode. For that part, he learned to play the guitar the weekend before filming.

In 1957, celebrity journalist Walter Winchell reported that Durant was courting Carole Mathews, an actress twelve years his senior, who in 1958 joined the cast of the NBC western series, The Californians. About this time, Durant finally met Trudy while they were en route to film an advertisement for the Ford Motor Company. She spent most of the trip gushing over Elvis Presley. Durant told her that he had been to a few Presley parties, and the two began dating. They wed on February 28, 1959, and were together until his death.

On March 1, 1959, the day after Durant's marriage, he appeared on CBS in the role of Pat Sharkey in the episode "Body of the Crime" of the drama series, Richard Diamond, Private Detective, starring David Janssen. The episode also features Richard Devon, Lawrence Dobkin, Sandy Kenyon, and Barbara Bain. Durant also appeared in a first season episode of Wanted: Dead or Alive. He played the bad guy.

In 1958, Durant shot an unsuccessful pilot which caught the attention of actor/director/producer Dick Powell. As the host of Zane Grey Theater, Powell asked one of his writers, young Aaron Spelling, to create a series for Durant. Spelling was then in his first assignment as a creator and producer. In this heyday of the television Western, CBS quickly snapped up the pilot. Durant wrote and sang the theme and did his own stunts. Hence, Johnny Ringo, set in the Arizona Territory, debuted in the fall of 1959 in the Thursday 8:30 Eastern time slot. Costar Mark Goddard played the deputy named Cully, and Karen Sharpe was cast as Laura Thomas, Ringo's girlfriend and the daughter of Case Thomas, another deputy and a storekeeper played by Terence De Marney. Johnny Ringo's main competition came from Walter Brennan's The Real McCoys on ABC, against which Ringo achieved decent ratings. Sometimes it was in the "Top 20".

Many famous actors guest-starred on Johnny Ringo. The Johnny Ringo Playset became the most sought-after television western toy. Surprisingly, the sponsor, Johnson Wax Company, believed that there were too many Westerns (thirty at the time) on network television and wanted to replace one of their own with a sitcom. Dick Powell was out of the country, and Spelling had moved on to another project. With no strong advocates for survival, Johnny Ringo was cancelled after one season of thirty-eight episodes. Neither NBC nor ABC were interested in taking over production of Johnny Ringo.

Durant continued to make personal appearances (which paid more than his television salary had), guest-starred in CBS's Perry Mason and The Twilight Zone, and was nearly cast opposite Lucille Ball in her Broadway debut, Wildcat!, which flopped.

Durant signed a contract with another studio, but aside from a 1963 guest role on NBC's Laramie western series with John Smith and Robert Fuller as Slim Sherman and Jess Harper, respectively, few offers materialized. On Laramie, Durant was cast as Gandy Ross, a likeable safecracker trying to go straight, in the episode "No Place to Run". Ellen Burstyn plays Ross's girlfriend, Amy, and Arch Johnson is cast as the outlaw Sam Wellman, who in the story line forces Ross to open the safe in the bank at fictitious Granite City. Tom Skerritt plays the role of Price. Jess Harper does his best to rescue his friend Ross from the clutches of the outlaws.

Later years

Durant bought out his contract in 1964, and since big bands had faded in the pop music fever, he subsequently retired from show business.

Instead, he spent much of his time with his family and supervised his real estate and investment holdings. He had shrewdly invested his television earnings and became a millionaire many times over. Durant held no bitterness over the end of his fame and in later years communicated extensively with Johnny Ringo fans through his website. Among his last television appearances were two 1966 episodes of CBS's Wild Wild West, with Robert Conrad.

The Durants were benefactors of Chapman University in Orange County, which is known for its school of film and television. They were in attendance when Chapman awarded an honorary degree in 2002 to actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. This was more than a year before Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California.

In 1992, Durant contracted chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and thereafter lymphoma. In early 2005, he contracted a lung infection but was not hospitalized. He soon died at his home in Monarch Beach, California. He was buried at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar, California. The Durants had a son, Jeff, and a daughter, Heidi.


Wagon Train (TV Series) as
Lucas / Victor Harp
- The Kitty Pryer Story (1963) - Victor Harp
- The Cliff Grundy Story (1957) - Lucas
- The John Darro Story (1957) - Lucas
Arrest and Trial (TV Series) as
Lt. Green
- Tears from a Silver Dipper (1963) - Lt. Green
Wide Country (TV Series) as
Jim Bonham
- Yanqui, Go Home! (1963) - Jim Bonham
Laramie (TV Series) as
Gandy Ross
- No Place to Run (1963) - Gandy Ross
The Virginian (TV Series) as
Capt. Larry Langhorne
- Riff-Raff (1962) - Capt. Larry Langhorne
Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV Series) as
- The Twelve Hour Caper (1962) - Lowe
The Twilight Zone (TV Series) as
Gregory Walker
- A Piano in the House (1962) - Gregory Walker
Johnny Ringo (TV Series) as
Johnny Ringo
- Cave-In (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- Lobo Lawman (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- Coffin Sam (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- Killer, Choose a Card (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- Shoot the Moon (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- The Derelict (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- The Stranger (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- Single Debt (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- Soft Cargo (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- The Killing Bug (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- Judgement Day (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- Black Harvest (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- The Vindicator (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- The Gunslinger (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- Border Town (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- Uncertain Vengeance (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- The Raffertys (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- The Reno Brothers (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- The Assassins (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- Mrs. Ringo (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- The Liars (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- Four Came Quietly (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- Die Twice (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- The Poster Incident (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- East Is East (1960) - Johnny Ringo
- Bound Boy (1959) - Johnny Ringo
- Kid with a Gun (1959) - Johnny Ringo
- Love Affair (1959) - Johnny Ringo
- The Cat (1959) - Johnny Ringo
- The Rain Man (1959) - Johnny Ringo
- Dead Wait (1959) - Johnny Ringo
- Ghost Coach (1959) - Johnny Ringo
- The Posse (1959) - Johnny Ringo
- The Hunters (1959) - Johnny Ringo
- A Killing for Cully (1959) - Johnny Ringo
- The Accused (1959) - Johnny Ringo
- Cully (1959) - Johnny Ringo
- The Arrival (1959) - Johnny Ringo
Trackdown (TV Series) as
Frank Dooley / Bobby Carlyle
- Quiet Night in Porter (1959) - Frank Dooley
- Killer Take All (1958) - Bobby Carlyle
Zane Grey Theatre (TV Series) as
Johnny Ringo / Vern Mitchell
- The Loner (1959) - Johnny Ringo
- The Tall Shadow (1958) - Vern Mitchell
Rescue 8 (TV Series) as
Norris Pauson
- Forty Five Fathoms, Dead or Alive (1959) - Norris Pauson
Richard Diamond, Private Detective (TV Series) as
Pat Sharkey
- Body of the Crime (1959) - Pat Sharkey
Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV Series) as
Vic Warsaw
- The Spurs (1959) - Vic Warsaw
Man with a Camera (TV Series) as
Howard Dorn
- Double Negative (1958) - Howard Dorn
Perry Mason (TV Series) as
Johnny Starr / Gary Marshall
- The Case of the Jilted Jockey (1958) - Johnny Starr
- The Case of the Desperate Daughter (1958) - Gary Marshall
Colgate Theatre (TV Series) as
Nicky Weston
- Macreedy's Woman (1958) - Nicky Weston
She Gods of Shark Reef as
Lee Johnston
The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna (TV Series) as
Philip Casper
- Susanna and the Pirates (1958) - Philip Casper
Maverick (TV Series) as
Jody Collins
- Hostage! (1957) - Jody Collins
Suspicion (TV Series) as
- The Story of Marjorie Reardon (1957) - Billy
General Electric Theater (TV Series) as
- Father and Son Night (1957) - Mark
State Trooper (TV Series) as
Ronnie Mann
- Ride Til You Die (1957) - Ronnie Mann
The Silent Service (TV Series) as
Lt. (jg) Jim Calvert
- The Jack at Tokyo (1957) - Lt. (jg) Jim Calvert
Sergeant Preston of the Yukon (TV Series) as
Sam Tanner / Jack Elders / Jack Flynn
- The Black Ace (1957) - Sam Tanner
- Limping King (1956) - Jack Elders
- Phantom of Phoenixville (1956) - Jack Flynn
The Ray Anthony Show (TV Series) as
West Point (TV Series) as
Cadet Stan Colson
- Double Reverse (1956) - Cadet Stan Colson
The Jack Benny Program (TV Series) as
- Jack Is a Contestant (1955) - Sailor
Battle Cry as
Marine (uncredited)
Music Department
Johnny Ringo (TV Series) (title song by - 4 episodes, 1960) (title song written by - 1 episode, 1959)
- Cave-In (1960) - (title song by)
- Coffin Sam (1960) - (title song by)
- Uncertain Vengeance (1960) - (title song by)
- The Raffertys (1960) - (title song by)
- The Accused (1959) - (title song written by)
Wagon Train (TV Series) (composer - 1 episode)
- The John Darro Story (1957) - (composer: ballad)
Johnny Ringo (TV Series) (performer - 37 episodes, 1959 - 1960) (writer - 37 episodes, 1959 - 1960)
- Cave-In (1960) - (performer: "Johnny Ringo" (end theme)) / (writer: "Johnny Ringo" (end theme))
- Lobo Lawman (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- Coffin Sam (1960) - (performer: "Johnny Ringo" (end theme)) / (writer: "Johnny Ringo" (end theme))
- Killer, Choose a Card (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- Shoot the Moon (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- The Derelict (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- The Stranger (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- Single Debt (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- Soft Cargo (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- The Killing Bug (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- Judgement Day (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- Black Harvest (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- The Vindicator (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- The Gunslinger (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- Border Town (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- Uncertain Vengeance (1960) - (performer: "Johnny Ringo" (end theme)) / (writer: "Johnny Ringo" (end theme))
- The Raffertys (1960) - (performer: "Johnny Ringo" (end theme)) / (writer: "Johnny Ringo" (end theme))
- The Reno Brothers (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- The Assassins (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- Mrs. Ringo (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- The Liars (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- Four Came Quietly (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- Die Twice (1960) - (performer: "Johnny Ringo" (end theme)) / (writer: "Johnny Ringo" (end theme))
- The Poster Incident (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- East Is East (1960) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- Bound Boy (1959) - (performer: "Theme Song") / (writer: "Theme Song")
- Kid with a Gun (1959) - (performer: "Child's Prayer", "Johnny Ringo" (end theme)) / (writer: "Child's Prayer", "Johnny Ringo" (end theme))
- Love Affair (1959) - (performer: "Johnny Ringo" (end theme)) / (writer: "Johnny Ringo" (end theme))
- The Cat (1959) - (performer: "Johnny Ringo" (end theme)) / (writer: "Johnny Ringo" (end theme))
- The Rain Man (1959) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- Dead Wait (1959) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- Ghost Coach (1959) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- The Posse (1959) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- The Hunters (1959) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- A Killing for Cully (1959) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- Cully (1959) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
- The Arrival (1959) - (performer: "Title Song") / (writer: "Title Song")
Maverick (TV Series) (performer - 1 episode)
- Hostage! (1957) - (performer: "Cindy, Cindy" - uncredited)
Wagon Train (TV Series) (performer - 1 episode, 1957) (writer - 1 episode, 1957)
- The John Darro Story (1957) - (performer: "The Ballad of Yellow John Thurman") / (writer: "The Ballad of Yellow John Thurman")
The White Orchid (performer: "Femme Fatale")
About Faces (TV Series) as
- Don Durant (1960) - Self
The Arthur Murray Party (TV Series) as
Self - Actor
- Episode #11.3 (1960) - Self - Actor
Archive Footage
Muchachada nui (TV Series)(segment "Mundo Viejuno: El día siguiente al fin del mundo o una isla llena de mujeres y dos hombres que llegan, imaginaros que expectativas más buenas")
- Episode #3.4 (2009) - (segment "Mundo Viejuno: El día siguiente al fin del mundo o una isla llena de mujeres y dos hombres que llegan, imaginaros que expectativas más buenas") (uncredited)


Don Durant Wikipedia

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