This boyish-looking New York-born actor of film and (especially) TV was born in 1928 and signed by Columbia at the onset of his teen career. Also known as Donald Dubbins, he started off playing earnest young cadet types in the war films From Here to Eternity (1953) (as a young bugler) and The Caine Mutiny (1954). It was superstar James Cagney who took a distinct liking to the rookie actor and prominently displayed him in two of his subsequent films. In These Wilder Years (1956), Dubbins played Cagney’s long-lost adopted son and, in the western Tribute to a Bad Man (1956), he forms an unlikely romantic triangle with cattle boss Cagney and senorita Irene Papas. He also was at the mercy of Jack Webb’s title character as a private in the Dragnet-styled military film The D.I. (1957). He subsequently played a frequent suspect on several episodes of the Dragnet 1967 (1967) series. Finishing up the 1950s, he was a part of the cast in the Jules Verne sci-fi picture From the Earth to the Moon (1958).
Although Dubbins never became a box office name, he certainly was a reliable asset on TV and was seen in a host of character roles over the years, not to mention a good number of smaller parts in such films as The Prize (1963) and The Learning Tree (1969). A character player adept at both good guys and bad guys, he retired completely in the late 1980s after filming episodes of Dynasty (1981), Highway to Heaven (1984) and Knots Landing (1979). He succumbed to cancer less than a decade later in 1991 at the age of 63.
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