Erin Gray – Age, Career, Marriages, Full Facts

erin gray

We are still in the 21st century but Hollywood has taken us to the 25th century and one of the stars is Erin Gray. She was Colonel Wilmer Derring in the series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century – this was in 1979 and that was her first film. Forty years on, this is where we take a pause to look at the career she has had and the life she has lived. Here are all the facts you need to know about the ex-model.

Age and early life

Erin Gray was born in 1950 in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America. At the time of her birth, the state was not yet a state; it was just an American territory. When she was eight years old, her parents divorced and she moved to Palm Springs, California where she lived with her mother’s parents for a couple of years. Eventually, her mother took her to live with her in Lipskur, California.

Erin Gray attended the Pacific Palisades High School in Los Angeles. But by this time, she was already on her way to stardom. A certain Nina Blanchard saw her in Los Angeles, liked her figure and convinced the young girl to become a model. She must have been convinced that this was her calling so she left the University of California in Los Angeles and moved to New York.

Erin Gray – Career

Erin Gray began as a model. Her modeling took her all over the country but she worked mostly in New York City. By 1975, aged 25, she had become one of the biggest models in the country, earning as much as 100 thousand which might look like small change today but which was a big deal in those days. But it wasn’t modeling that held her biggest fancy – it was on the big screen that she saw her future. In 1976, she made the move and featured in a couple of small and one-episodic roles in series. She impressed some industry bigshots and was signed to a seven-year contract with Universal Studio for which she got the role of Colonel Wilmer Derring in the series “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”.

See the full Barry Van Dyke biography

Erin never saw it as dumping modeling for acting. To her, it was going from model to role model. As she said on her role in the aforementioned film, “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 and while we have since gone on to have women generals, there is no denying the fact that the portrayal of Colonel Derring helped.

While her career on the screen took a giant step in 1978, it could have begun much earlier in 1969. At that time, she was just one year into her marriage with her then-husband Ken Schwartz. The Vietnam war was raging and Ken was over there fighting. Erin Gray got the opportunity to play the female lead role of Brenda Patimkin in the romantic comedy “Goodbye, Columbus” based on the 1959 novel of Philip Roth. Due to the sex scenes in the film, Mrs. Schwartz declined the role as it would disrespect her husband in Vietnam. She remained in her modeling career.

As of 2019, Erin Gray has been a part of about 90 acting credits. Of these, a sizeable number include TV movies, short movies, in indie films. One dominant role she is known for is as Kate Summers-Stratton in the sitcom “Silver Spoons” on NBC in which she appeared in all the 116 episodes that made up the five seasons of the series.


Erin Gray is a married woman. She is currently married to Richard B. Hissong the cinematographer with more than thirty credits to her name. They got married in 1991 and are blessed with a daughter named Samantha. Before this, Ms. Gay was married to  Ken Schwartz. Schwartz was her high school sweetheart who later became her manager. He was a real estate mogul but having managed Erin, he began and built a successful organizer and manager of some of the biggest talents in Hollywood.

Ken and Erin got married in 1968. The marriage produced a child named Kevan Ray Schwartz, born in 1976. The two divorced in 1990.

Net worth

The most occurring number in our database when we talk about the net worth of stars is five million dollars. We have had cause to suspect that this might be as a result of lazy journalism, that is, someone sits before their desktop, take a small gaze at the list of the actors’ credits and choose the middle ground – five million dollars.

Erin Gray is one has now added to the list of actors that are worth five million dollars on our database. If there are actors whose claim on this figure can be doubted, Ms. Gray stands firmly in the cusp between belief and disbelief.

Before you leave, see whether Aisha Hinds is gay.

Image source: Wikipedia

About KC 53 Articles
KC is a contributor based in Europe and learning the art, one post at a time