Home - Breaking News, Events, Things-To-Do, Dining, Nightlife


Mississippi Legends: Actor Gary Grubbs

  • The Mississippi born and raised actor moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s, becoming a familiar face in television and movies in the 1980s and 1990s. He’s now back in the Magnolia State enjoying life and family.

Marilyn Tinnin recently wrote about former Miss Mississippi Glenda Meadows Grubbs for Magnolia Tribune. Today, we’ll take a look at Glenda’s husband, actor Gary Grubbs.

Actor Gary Grubbs was born in Amory but moved to Prentiss when he was just a few months old.

“I grew up in Prentiss,” he says.

Gary attended the University of Southern Mississippi where he majored in business. While he was in school at Southern Miss, a young coed in a military uniform caught his eye.

“I was in the ROTC,” laughs Glenda. “I was a member of a rifle drill team.”

Gary thought she was “a cute girl” and he got her telephone number. “I called and harassed her.”

Glenda was absolutely “a cute girl,” and talented, too. She majored in music at Southern Miss, with an emphasis on voice. “I got an education degree so I could teach.”

She used her talent to win the title of Miss Mississippi in 1972. The couple married in 1973, and Gary approached Glenda with an idea.

“I knew we would end up living in Mississippi, but we were young, so I asked her if she wanted to do something exciting before we settled down.”

Gary was a bulldozer salesman in Hattiesburg. While driving around town he saw a billboard near Hattiesburg High School that said “HOTLINE” in large letters with a phone number.

“It was in the early 1970s, and law enforcement was just starting to get serious about illegal drugs,” Gary recalls. “I saw the billboard and thought that it could be a script.”

After a trip to the Southern Miss library, Gary went home with books about scriptwriting.

“That got me interested in writing, and it is something I wanted to pursue. Glenda and I decided to move to Los Angeles, and I thought I would write, and she could do some acting.”

In preparation of moving to L.A., Gary took an acting class in the USM theater department. “I wanted to learn more about it.”

Full of enthusiasm, the Grubbs moved to Los Angeles in 1977 and worked to find their place in the city.

“We didn’t know anyone in Los Angeles,” recalls Gary, “but I knew from my experience selling bulldozers that making connections and forming relationships is important to being successful.”

That connection for Gary was a casting director named Ramsey King.

“As it turned out, Ramsey King was a Mississippi native,” Gary says. “We met and he later contacted me and told me he thought I would be good for a part he was casting. I went to my first open call as an actor, and I got the part.” 

Dead Man’s Curve: The Jan and Dean Story was a made-for-television biopic. Gary played one of the Sons of the Pioneers.

“I was standing between Mike Love of the Beach Boys and Dick Clark. I called all my friends back home and told them to be sure to watch the movie.”

That’s when Gary learned his first Hollywood lesson – never tell anyone you are in a show until it airs. His scene was cut in the final edit.

“But he got his SAG (Screen Actors Guild) card, which he needed to get other parts,” says Glenda.

“So, it was worth it.” Gary says his southern accent didn’t hurt. “Shows about the South were popular at the time. I didn’t know a lot about acting, but I got parts by being myself.”

Gary was cast to be in the mini-series From Here to Eternity, which was one of the first mini-series on television. Other parts came along, and soon Gary became a familiar face on both television and movies. He never stopped writing, and over the years, he has sold several screenplays and television show scripts.

“You have to understand,” says Gary, “Studios will buy scripts, but about one out of ten actually get made.”

Last year, an adaptation of a play Gary wrote, As the Crow Flies, aired on Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings television series. “The name was changed to If I Had Wings,” says Gary. The play premiered in 1999 at New Stage Theatre in Jackson, where it was held over after a two-week run.

Appearing in many major feature films, Gary has had the opportunity to work for some of the most distinguished film directors of our time, including Oliver Stone (JFK), Clint Eastwood (Honkytonk Man), Mike Nichols (Silkwood), Robert Benton (Nadine), and Tony Richardson (The Border). Other feature credits include The X-Files, Doubletake and The Astronaut’s Wife.

Gary made a name for himself in television by portraying attorneys in The Burning Bed and Fatal Vision, two of the highest rated programs in television history. He has starred in Canal Street Brothel, For One Night, Foxfire and many other movies-of-the week and miniseries. He made regular appearances on ER, Angel, NCIS, K-ville, Will & Grace and The O.C.

The couple lived in Los Angeles for 24 years. “Both of our children were born there,” says Glenda.

When daughter Molly was ready to look at where to attend college, their son, Logan, was finishing the ninth grade.

“Molly was looking at going to UC Santa Barbara,” Glenda says. “About that time, reality shows were gaining popularity and production was picking up in New Orleans. Molly toured Southern Miss and loved it, so we made the move back to Hattiesburg.”

Glenda’s painting career began in 2004.

“I always wanted to paint,” she says. “I had been a music teacher, and I knew painting would take a long time. It’s a matter of learning techniques and practicing.”

Glenda took painting classes and had lessons with various Hattiesburg artists. “I’ve been to workshops all over the country, and I’ve learned so much. An artist never stops learning.”

Gary encourages and supports Glenda’s artistic endeavors, going so far as to deliver her work to Pensacola, Florida where her paintings are sold at De’Cor Furniture and Accessories as well as to Jackson Street Gallery in Ridgeland, JParker Reclaimed in Laurel, and the Oddfellows Gallery in downtown Hattiesburg.

“Her work is fantastic,” says Gary. “I am really proud of what she has accomplished.”

Active in the Hattiesburg art scene, Gary and Glenda were on hand to cut the ribbon for the newly installed Hattiesburg Pocket Museum and Glenda donates to the Hattiesburg Little Free Art Center. She won a citywide art contest last fall to promote the huge new year’s celebration, Midnight on Front Street, held in downtown Hattiesburg each year. Logan is now living in Mobile where he serves as Director of Development at the University of South Alabama. Molly lives in Austin, where she is a brand strategist for Yahoo. She and her husband have two children.

Until the COVID pandemic hit, Gary was teaching acting classes on the Gulf Coast, Mobile and New Orleans. Glenda says Gary loves to teach. He is still writing and currently has a game show he is trying to sell.

“I’m hoping to get to L.A. more. I like to meet people in person instead of communicating with emails and Zoom calls.”

In the meantime, the Grubbs are enjoying life. Gary writes, Glenda paints, they work out at their local gym and enjoy time with friends and family.


This article is edited from one written by Susan Marquez that originally ran in the Spring 2022 issue of Our South magazine.

Read original article by clicking here.

Local Dining Stream

Things To Do

Related articles