Beginning his professional acting career while still in college, Emmy-nominated actor Stephen Collins received initial recognition while starring as Jake Cutter on ABC's Primetime Emmy-winning adventures series "Tales of the Gold Monkey" (1982-1983). He has since starred in such short-lived TV shows as "Tattingers" (1988-1989) and its spin-off, "Nick & Hillary" (1989), as well as "Working It Out" (1990), before returning to prominence when he starred as Reverend Eric Camden, the minister of the Glen Oak Community Church, on The WB/The CW family drama series "7th Heaven" (1996-2007).
On the big screen, Collins portrayed lead roles in the films "All the President's Men" (1976), "The Promise" (1979), "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (1979), "Loving Couples" (1980), "Brewster's Millions" (1985), "The First Wives Club" (1996), "Blood Diamond" (2006) and "Because I Said So" (2007).
A stage veteran, Collins was in the original Broadway production of Michael Weller's “Moonchildren” and created roles in New York productions of Terrence McNally's “The Ritz,” Christopher Durang's “Beyond Therapy,” and A.R. Gurney's “The Old Boy.” He also performed at the Lincoln Center in the New York Shakespeare Festival's “Macbeth” and was directed by Joseph Papp in “Twelfth Night.” He recently starred as King Arthur in the New York Broadway production of Monty Python's “Spamalot” in July 2008.
Besides acting, Collins is also an author and has written two novels: “Eye Contact” (1994) and “Double Exposure” (1998). He also wrote the play "Super Sunday" in 1988, which was produced at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and directed by Paul Benedict.
Collins has been married to actress Faye Grant since 1985 and has one daughter.
Childhood and Family:
“I was ridiculously shy as a kid and I think I was first attracted to acting because when I played other characters. I could behave in ways that I never had the nerve, or courage, to behave in myself. I also felt a strength and power on stage that I'd never felt anywhere else. I loved making people laugh too.” Stephen Collins
Born in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 1, 1947, Stephen Weaver Collins grew up in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. His father is Cyrus S Collins and his mother is Madeleine Collins. Collins is the great-great-grandson of General James Baird Weaver, the 1880 Greenback Party presidential candidate and the 1892 Populist Party ("People's Party") candidate for president.
Collins graduated from Hastings High School in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. Later, in 2003, he was the guest speaker at the high school graduation. He received a BA degree from Amherst College, in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1969. While there, he was an active member of the college's choral group, “The Zumbyes.” He was the featured singer (as Steve Collins) on "California Dreaming" on a yearly LP released by the group in 1968. Collins played bass and rhythm guitar in a number of rock and roll bands at Amherst, including “Tambourine Charlie & The Four Flat Tires,” “The Naugahyde Revolution” and “The Flower & Vegetable Show.” He would later play his guitar on the song “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia” in “7th Heaven” and in the movie “Because I Said So.”
On April 21, 1985, Collins married Faye Grant (born Faye Elizabeth Yoe on July 16, 1957), an actress who played Rhonda Blake in the series "The Greatest American Hero" (1981). They have one daughter, Kate Collins, who was born in 1989.
Collins is a practicing Episcopalian and is also a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation. An accomplished guitarist and songwriter, Collins loves classic rock music and his favorite musicians are Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, and Brian Wilson. He enjoys baseball and his favorite team is The New York Mets.
Tales of the Gold Monkey
While still in college, Stephen Collins made his professional stage debut in the title role of poet Baal in a production of German modernist playwright Bertolt Brecht's play at the Island Repertory Theater in Edgartown, Massachusetts, in 1968.
While performing in a rock musical, Collins was spotted by theatrical producer and director Joseph Papp, who gave him a small part in a New York summer Shakespeare production of "Twelfth Night" staged at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park in New York in 1969.
From 1969 to 1970, Collins performed onstage on tour with the First National Company in a production of Jay Allen's comedy adapted from the French original by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Gredy, "Forty Carats," starring Barbara Rush.
After making his TV debut in a guest spot on the ABC detective drama "Dan August" (1970), Collins portrayed the role of Dick on Broadway in the original production of Michael Weller's "Moonchildren" (1971), alongside James Woods, Christopher Guest, Edward Herrmann, Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker, and Robert Prosky. He next appeared with Charles Murphy and Susan Long in the musical “1776,” helmed by Eddie Roll. The following year, he portrayed Macduff, opposite Christopher Walken, in a production of William Shakespeare's tragedy “Macbeth” (1973) and co-starred with Tony Tanner in Broadway's “No Sex, Please, We're British” (1973) helmed by Christopher Hewitt. He also acted in the original production of Jim Steinman and Michael Weller's musical “More Than You Deserve,” along with Mary Beth Hurt, Meat Loaf, Ron Silver, Graham Jarvis, and Kathleen Widdoes.
After performing in the original production of Ronald Tavel's “The Last Days of British Honduras” (1974), Collins enjoyed Broadway success with the original production of Terrence McNally's "The Ritz" (1975; with Tony-winner Rita Moreno), which led to his being cast in his feature debut, "All the President's Men" (1976; starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman), director Alan J. Pakula's film adaptation of the 1974 non-fiction book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in which he portrayed Hugh W. Sloan, Jr., treasurer of the Committee to Re-elect the President.
On television, Collins could be seen in the made-for-TV movie about the infamous 1950 robbery, "Brinks: The Great Robbery" (1976), and in the dramatic thriller miniseries based on Robert Ludlum's novel, "The Rhinemann Exchange" (1977). He then appeared in the Brooklyn Academy of Music stage production of Anton Chekhov's “The Three Sisters” (1977; with Rosemary Harris, Ellen Burstyn, Tovah Feldshuh, Barnard Hughes, Austin Pendleton, Denholm Elliot, Rene Auberjonois, Margaret Hamilton, Stuart Pankin, and Rex Robbins), Langdon Mitchell's play “The New York Idea” (1977; with Blythe Danner, Rene Auberjonois, Rosemary Harris, and Denholm Elliot), and “The Play's the Thing” (1978; with Austin Pendleton, Carole Shelley, and Kurt Kaszner), all of which were directed by Frank Dunlop. He also starred in Gilbert Cates' romantic drama, "The Promise" (1979), in which he portrayed a rich boy dating a poor girl (played by Kathleen Quinlan), and received wide exposure while portraying Commander Willard Decker in the Academy Award-nominated science fiction film "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (1979).
In the early 1980s, Collins appeared in the film "Loving Couples," Jack Smight's romantic comedy in which he co-starred with Shirley MacLaine, James Coburn, and Susan Sarandon. He subsequently focused on theater and was seen with Frank Langella in a production of Edmond Rostand's 1897 play "Cyrano de Bergerac" (1980; directed by Nikos Psacharapoulos) and with Frank Langella and Christian Slater in “Sherlock Holmes” (1981; directed by Peter Hunt). He also acted opposite Sigourney Weaver in the off-Broadway original production of the comedy “Beyond Therapy” by Christopher Durang. From 1982 to 1983, Collins starred as Jake Cutter on ABC's Primetime Emmy-winning adventures series "Tales of the Gold Monkey," alongside Jeff MacKay and Caitlin O'Heaney.
Collins returned to feature films in the mid 1980s in Walter Hill's comedy film starring Richard Pryor, "Brewster's Millions" (1985). Afterward, he returned to the stage to play Anatol in Broadway's “The Loves of Anatol” (1985), directed by Ellis Rabb, and co-star with Christopher Walken, Amy Irving, John Heard, Rob Lowe, and Kate Burton in the Williamstown Theater Festival's “The Three Sisters” (1987), helmed by Nikos Psacharapoulo.
Meanwhile, Collins was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special for his turn as Billy Grenville Jr. in the TV movie “The Two Mrs. Grenvilles” (1987; with Ann-Margaret, Elizabeth Ashley, and Claudette Colbert in her last film), which was inspired by a 1985 novel by Dominick Dunne based on the sensational Woodward murder case of 1955.
Collins spent the rest of the decade playing Nick Tattinger, opposite Blythe Danner's Hillary Tattinger, on NBC's short-lived, hour-long comedy-drama series, "Tattinger's" (1988-1989), and in its even shorter-lived, half-hour sitcom revamp, "Nick & Hillary" (1989). He also continued acting on stage and was seen in William Shakespeare's comedy “Twelfth Night” (1989; with Jeff Goldblum, Michelle Pfeiffer, Gregory Hines, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), Arthur Miller's “The Crucible” (1988) and Aphra Behn's “The Rover” at the Williamstown Theater Festival.
Entering the 1990s, Collins played single father David Stuart, opposite Jane Curtin's single mother character, on the NBC sitcom "Working It Out," which was canceled in December 1990. The following year, he was listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1991" in John Willis's Screen World, Vol. 31.
On stage, Collins acted with Wayne Knight in the original production of Marilyn Suzanne Miller's “One of The Guys” at N.Y. Shakespeare Festival Public Theatre, as well as in the off-Broadway production of “Love Letters” and A.R. Gurney's “The Old Boy,” directed by John Rubinstein. He also acted in the off-Broadway American premiere of Stephen Sondheim's musical “Putting It Together” (1994), opposite Julie Andrews, Christopher Durang, Rachel York, and Michael Rupert.
“I realized a few years ago that, as much as every actor dreams of a movie career, my bread seems to be buttered in TV. I still make an occasional feature film, but I think TV suits me in a lot of ways. I like working quickly and I like the speed between shooting something for TV and the time it airs. I resisted TV for years, back when there was a double standard. When I began my career, you absolutely couldn't do TV if you wanted a film or Broadway career. But now I love it.” Stephen Collins
1996-2007 saw Collin star as Reverend Eric Camden on The WB/The CW family drama series "7th Heaven." His performance in the show earned two Teen Choice Award nominations (both he shared with Catherine Hicks). His character also ranked #11 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (June 20, 2004 issue). During his lengthy tenure on "7th Heaven," Collins also co-starred with Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Bette Midler in Hugh Wilson's Academy Award-nominated 1996 comedy film based on the 1992 novel by Olivia Goldsmith, "The First Wives Club" (1996), and won a National Board of Review (NBR) Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble. He also had a cameo role in "Drive Me Crazy" (1999), in which real-life wife Faye Grant played his estranged on-screen spouse, played an Ambassador in the Edward Zwick-directed "Blood Diamond" (2006), and co-starred with Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore in "Because I Said So" (2007). He recently starred as King Arthur in the New York Broadway production of Monty Python's “Spamalot” in July 2008.
Besides acting, Collins is also an author and has written two novels: “Eye Contact” (1994) and “Double Exposure” (1998). He also wrote the play "Super Sunday" in 1988, which was produced at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and directed by Paul Benedict. It starred James Naughton, Faye Grant, Marilu Henner and George Wendt.
An accomplished guitarist and songwriter, Collins recently covered songs originally done by Buddy Holly, Carole King, Dion, Rick Nelson, and Elvis, among others, in a CD of classic rock 'n' roll that was released by Gold Label. He also has begun to appear live as “Stephen Collins & The 7th Band.”
National Board of Review (NBR): Best Acting by an Ensemble, "The First Wives Club," 1996