Don Durant

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Actor and singer Don Durant experienced success via both talents. A former singer for the Frankie Carle and Tommy Dorsey orchestras, he worked with Ray Anthony, one of the last big band singers, in the…
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Actor and singer Don Durant experienced success via both talents. A former singer for the Frankie Carle and Tommy Dorsey orchestras, he worked with Ray Anthony, one of the last big band singers, in the late '50s, appearing on Anthony's weekly television series and his 1956 album Dream Dancing. As a songwriter, he penned the theme song of the TV western series Zane Grey Theater.

Durant was better known for his acting. Making his film debut in the Aldo Ray-starring flick Battle Cry!, he became a bit player for CBS-TV, appearing in small roles on such shows as The Jack Benny Show, The Red Skelton Show, Shower of Stars, General Electric Theater, and Groucho Marx's You Bet Your Life. After starring in his first feature film, She Gods of Shark Reef, for which he did his own underwater stunts, he appeared as a guest on Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, and Maverick.

Durant's greatest success came as title character of Johnny Ringo, an Aaron Spelling-produced TV series about a former gunslinger turned Arizona sheriff that ran from 1959 until 1960. Although the show was canceled after its first season, Durant continued to make public appearances as Johnny Ringo until 1964.

Although he signed with Universal Pictures' Revue Studios in 1962, Durant increasingly became frustrated with the demands placed on him as a contract actor. Buying out the remainder of his contract, he withdrew from acting and launched a realty and investment company. Outside of hosting a summer replacement variety show, Youth Panorama, in the mid-'60s, he continued to evade work as an entertainer.