Monday, May 29, 2023

Whatever happened to Billy Gray (Bud on Father Knows Best)?

Billy Gray was born William Thomas Gray in Los Angeles, California on January 13, 1938.  He is the son of William H. and Beatrice Gray.  Beatrice (1911-2009) was an actress and a dancer.  She is best known for her performances in western films during the 1940s and 1950s.  She and son Billy both had minor, uncredited roles in the 1949 comedy horror film Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff.  Billy played a boy with a bow and arrow. 

Billy was discovered when his older bother was in a play.  The five-year-old was running around the aisles when a woman approached him and asked him to take her to his mother.  As it turned out. the woman was his mother's agent.  She told Beatrice that she could put Billy to work right away.  Beatrice readily agreed and Billy immediately began getting parts.  At five, he made his debut in Man of Courage, a 1943 war disaster film.  Through the 1940s, he had several uncredited roles, next to his mother.

At the age of 12, Billy Gray portrayed Native American athlete Jim Thorpe as a child in Jim Thorpe, All American.  The film starred Burt Lancaster and was released in 1951, as were two other movies in which Billy appeared: On Moonlight Bay, a comedy starring Gordon MacRae and Doris Day, and the science fiction picture The Day the Earth Stood Still.  Billy was only 12 years younger than Patricia Neal, the woman who played his mother in the film. He portrayed Bobby Benson, a boy who is befriended by an alien.

Although Billy Gray acted in many feature films, his is best known as a child star and for his role as James "Bud" Anderson in the TV series Father Knows Best (1954 to 1960), which aired on both CBS and NBC.  Prior to his role on Father Knows Best, Billy had roles in episodes of such television series as The Gene Autry Show (2 episodes in 1950), Adventures of Superman (1953), Fireside Theatre (1954), Cavalcade of America (1954) The Loretta Young Show (1954) and Annie Oakley (1954).  

Billy Gray child photo

Then came the role on Father Knows Best that catapulted Billy Gray to TV stardom.  He was cast as Bud Anderson, the middle child and only son of Jim and Margaret Anderson. played by Robert Young and Jane Wyatt.  It was Billy's first starring TV role.  In a 2021 interview with Fox News, he described how he got the part of Bud.  "It was just another interview," he recalled.  Up to that point, I had never done any television before.  It was all movies.  But they called me in for a test and I did it.  It was originally a radio show that Robert Young starred in,  And so he and his partner then decided to take it to television.  I remember they auditioned a lot of kids for my role."  

Below is a photo of the Father Knows Best cast: From left to right: Elinor Donahue (Betty Anderson), Robert Yong (Jim Anderson, Jane Wyatt (Margaret Anderson, Billy Gray and Lauren Chapin (Kathy Anderson} in front.  

In 1959, Billy's performance as Bud earned him a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.  Nevertheless, Billy has been quite vocal with his criticisms of Father Knows Best.  In 1983, he stated, "I wish I could tell the kids not to believe it.  The dialogue, the situations, the characters - they were totally false.  The show did everyone a disservice.  The girls were always trained to use their feminine wiles, to pretend to be helpless to attract men.  The show contributed to a lot of the problems between men and women that we see today."  

Although Billy believes that everyone involved in the show was "well-motivated," he still called the show a "hoax."  "And the bad thing" he said, " the model is so deceitful.  It usually revolved around not wanting to tell the truth, either out of embarrassment, or not wanting to hurt someone.  If I could say anything to make up for all the years I lent myself to [that}, it would be 'You Know Best'"

Despite his sharp criticisms of Father Knows Best, Billy told Fox News that he had "a really wonderful relationship with the cast and it gave me an opportunity to do a lot of physical comedy.  "I enjoyed doing that stuff," he said.

Billy Gray in 1958

According to Billy, Father Knows Best, came to an end in 1960 after a writer' strike stalled the series for months,  Robert Young and his partner, Eugene B. Rodney "spent more money making the show than they did showing it," so they decided decided it was time to cash in by putting the show into syndication.

After Father Knows Best went off the air, Billy had guest spots in episodes of several 1960s TV shows including General Electric Theatre (2 episodes in 1961), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1961) and The Greatest Show on Earth (1964).  He appeared as Lindsay McCuller in a 1965 episode of Rawhide called "Moment in the Sun." (Season 7, Episode 17, Air Date: January 29, 1965).  He also appeared as Candell in a 1966 episode of the World War II drama series Combat! entitled "The Losers" (Season 5, Episode 2, Air Date: September 20, 1966).and a1966 episode of I Spy called "Lori" (Season 2, Episode 2, Air Date: September 21, 1966).  

Billy had a minor role as a student at party in a 1969 pilot episode of Medical Center.  The episode is entitled "Operation Heartbeat" (Season 1, Air Date: April 17, 1969).  He also played Morgan Vontz in a 1970 episode of the police series The Bold Ones: The Protectors. The episode is entitled "Memo from the Class of '76" (Season 1, Episode 6),

Billy appeared in two 1977 Father Knows Best television reunion movies: The Father Knows Best Reunion and Father Knows Best: Home for Christmas.

Billy Gray in 1977

Billy Gray went on to become an inventor and a competitive motorcycle racer.  From 1970 to 1995, he was a Class A motorcycle racer and race promoter around Southern California dirt tracks.  He also focused on inventing and entrepreneurship, becoming a successful businessman,  In his 2021 interview with Fox News, Billy explained how and why he became an inventor.  "I've been taking things apart since I was four or five years old.  I've always been curious about how things worked and how we can make them better," he said.  "If something didn't feel quite right, I would always try to fix it.  It's just been a way of life for me, right from the get-go.  It feels natural to me."

According to the most recent information available to me (about a year ago), Billy is a resident of Topanga, California.  He lives in the same house he purchased in 1957, while performing on Father Knows Best.  "I'm enjoying my life," he says  "I would like my tombstone to say 'Toolmaker'' to describe my way of life."   

Here are some more recent photos of Billy Gray.

Billy Gray has been married and divorced twice.  In 1967, he married Helena Kallianiotes, a Greek-born belly dancer.  They divorced in 1969.

In 1981, Billy wed Donna Wilkes, who also began her acting career as a child.  Donna was 18 years old when she married 39-year-old Billy.  The marriage was short-lived and the couple soon divorced.

Donna Wilkes in 1979


*As the co-owner of BigRock Engineering, Billy Gray is the inventor of the ergonomic F-1 guitar pick, which claims to offer a comfortable grip, superior accuracy and speed for musician.  BigRock Engineering offers many products invented by Billy, including a self-massager and a candleholder for jack o'lanterns.

* When Billy was 16 years of age, he was cast as Plato in the classic film Rebel Without a Cause.  Due to his commitments with Father Knows Best, he was unable to accept the role.  The role went to Sal Mineo instead.

 * Billy's mother, Beatrice Gray died on November 25, 2009 at the age of 98 in Canoga Park, California.  Beatrice told Boyd Magers and Michael Fitzgerald, authors of Western Women (1999), that she auditioned for the role of Margaret Anderson on Father Knows Best, but lost out to Jane Wyatt because "they did not want two members of the same family on the show."

Beatrice Gray

Beatrice Gray

* Billy's father, William H. Gray, passed away while Billy was till performing on Father Knows Best.  "My father died while the show was running," he told the New York Times in 1977.  "I was 16 years old.  I guess that when I was playing Bud I would replace my real father with Robert Young.  It was a tricky technique."

* As a child, Billy did not attend school.  He was educated by teachers employed by the film studios.  His classes often took place in tents sent up on studio lots.  

* While still appearing as Bud on Father Knows Best, Billy guess-starred in a 1957 episode of Peter Lawford's NBC crime series The Thin Man.  He played Mike Edwards in the episode "Dome Back Darling Asta."

* In 1962, Billy was arrested for possession of marijuana.  Billy says he was parking when a police officer came to the window of his vehicle.  The officer smelled marijuana and asked him to to get our.  He found a little bag of seeds and stems under the seat of his car.  Billy pleaded no contest and he served 45 days in prison.  

Billy claims that his arrest and jail sentence derailed his career because he had a difficult time securing work with agents.  He says that he did see it as such a big deal, but the press saw him as "this all-American boy turned dope fiend."  After his time on Father Knows Best, he failed to secure another regular role on a television series.

* Although no longer dirt track racing, Billy remains an afficionado of motorcycles.  He keeps a large collection of the vehicles.

* In 2014, Billy Gray had a heart attack underwent quadruple bypass surgery.  He almost died.

SOURCES: The New York Times, "Keeping Up With 'Father Knows Best,'" by Gerald Eskenazi, May 15, 1977; Fox News, "'Father Knows Best' star Billy Gray reflects on child stardom, 1962 pot bust: 'I don't have time for regrets,.'" by Stephanie Nolasco, February 20, 2021; Do you remember? (; Billy Gray From 'Father Knows Best' Strummed Up An Important Musical Invention, by Dana Daly, May, 2022; Today's Cycle Coverage; "Billy Gray Undergoes Quadruple Bypass Surgery," by D. Jameson, March 2, 2014; Wikipedia; Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

- Joanne

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Y&R Report (May 20, 2023): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV, which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet.  Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Hi fans,  
Well, it won't be long before everyone in Genoa City knows that Phyllis is still alive.  The news is spreading fast.  Michael traced her to a motel room, but  Jack and Kyle didn't get there in time to find her there.  Phyllis had already vacated the place.  However, Jack was able to find some strands of red hair.  
Everyone believes that Daniel saw Phyllis.  However, only Summer and Daniel know the whole truth.  They know that Phyllis appeared to Summer, not Daniel.  They know that Phillis killed Jeremy Stark in self-defence.  Summer is going to get caught up in her own web of lies and deception.  She should have listened to Daniel when he cautioned her about her secrecy.
My my, isn't Diane rather smug now that she knows Phyllis is alive.  She even taunted Ashley by waving a bridal magazine and talking about Ashley being maid of honour at her wedding to Jack.  This is the real Diane.  Phyllis may have many faults, but Diane is not the angel Jack and Kyle think she is.  Her goal remains the same.  From day one, she has wanted to marry Jack and become lady of the Abbott manor.  She has behaved herself only to impress Jack and Kyle and to gain their sympathy.

It seems that someone from Sharon's past sent her champagne and is stalking her..  I've been watching Y&R for a long time and I can only think of two characters from way back.  Sharon was once involved with Diego, the older brother of Raul (Raul was a Hispanic guy who chummed around with Brittany and Billy and J.T. in their younger days).  I very much doubt that it's Diego.  The second possibility seems much more likely.  It could be Cameron Kirsten, a wicked businessman who tormented and abused Sharon years ago (the character appeared from November 2003 to August 2004).  Cameron was went to prison, but may have returned to seek revenge.
Now here's some really interesting trivia.  Cameron was played by actor Linden Ashby, who just happens to be the real-life husband of Susan Walters (Diane Jenkins).

Linden Ashby

I've never thought Chance is much of a cop.  He has really bungled the investigation into Phyllis' "death."  He doesn't seem to get much respect either.  Genoa City residents seem to talk back to him all the time.  That's why I was amused to read in an online spoiler that he's going to be fired by District Attorney Christine "Cricketmeister" Williams.

I don't know what to make of the mysterious Tucker McCall.  He seems sincere about his feelings for Ashley, but can he really be trusted?  Does he have a hidden agenda?  Ashley has definitely fallen for him again, but she still doesn't fully trust him, at least not enough to take his proposal of marriage seriously.


If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name. 

My email address:
I received the following email with some comments from longtime Y&R viewer Carly in Barrhaven, Ontario:

I am enjoying Y&R right now but find the characters being stupid as well.  Nate and Victoria, the witch, actually deserve each other.
I totally disagree with you and the show about Adam and Sally.  I love Sally and Nick together.  But she probably will end up with Daddy Adam.  Nick has a lot more to offer than Adam.  I love Joshua Morrow.  He has the greatest smile.  He's my choice.

Yes Carly, many of the characters, especially Jack and Summer, are behaving stupidly.  As for Victoria, I think she's selfish, entitled and ambitious.  However I don't consider her to be a "witch."  She does have a conscience, otherwise she wouldn't have been so upset when her brother Nick told her how broken-hearted Elena was when he spoke to her.  
I also like Joshua Morrow and he certainly does have a great smile.  Yet, I think that Adam (Mark Grossman) is better suited to Sally.Spectra (Courtney Hope).  I find Nicholas Newman rather sanctimonious and judgmental.  He should look at what he's done in his own life before becoming so angry with others.  I think that Nick will eventually reunite with Sharon, but probably not for a while.  Nick and Sharen can't be completely happy or there would be no storyline.


Now that Diane Jenkins and Jack Abbott know that Phyllis is still alive, they are quite self-confident.  They think that Diane will be fully exonerated and everything will be peaches and cream, especially Diane.  She and Jack insist that they will be married.  What do you think, fans?  Will Jack and Diane ever tie the knot?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Do you think that Jack and Diane will ever get married? free polls


Note that the 50th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards is being postponed due to the Hollywood writers strike.  The show was set for June 16th in Los Angeles.  It will take place when the strike is resolved.

That's all for now.  Please remember that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, June 3, 2023. 

Take care,


Thursday, May 18, 2023

Update on Jeopardy! Masters Tournament

The Jeopardy! Masters Tournament is heating up and I'm enjoying it immensely. It's been a treat to watch the show's six highest-ranked champions competing against each other, but I have to declare my bias.  I am cheering for the Canadian contestant, Mattea Roach.  Mattea, who is only 24 years old, hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia, but now lives in Toronto.  She won 23 consecutive games last year, the fifth-longest streak in Jeopardy! history. 

Mattea has secured a spot in the next round of the tournament, which begins on Monday.  However, she has her work cut out for her.  She has some formidable opponents, especially James Holzhauer, who is the frontrunner.  James seems to be coasting along. It's going to be quite an upset if someone defeats him.

Mattea Roach

 Here are the total winnings of Mattea and the other five contestants.  

  • James Holzhauer – Total winnings of $2,964,216.
  • Amy Schneider – Total winnings of $1,634,800.
  • Matt Amodio – Total winnings of $1,529,601.
  • Mattea Roach – Total winnings of $572,983.
  • Andrew He – Total winnings of $259,365.
  • Sam Buttrey – Total winnings of $150,000.

James Holzhauer 

James Holzhauer is a professional gambler.  James, 38, is the third-highest-earning game show contestant in American TV history.  He is best known for his 32-game winning streak on Jeopardy! from April to June 2019.

James is a self-proclaimed game show villain  It's his persona and he seems to relish his bad guy role.  Since he's such an outstanding player, it's easy for him to appear arrogant and self-absorbed.  I'm not sure how much is the real James and how much is an act.  I suspect much of it is an act, although he appears supremely confident.  He's still undefeated in the tournament.

In Final Jeopardy!, James has been writing messages rather than responses because he has been so far ahead in the games.  He has written messages to Ken Jennings and he even quoted a line uttered by Brad Pitt as Achilles in the film Troy.  After killing a fearsome warrior, Achilles asks, "Is there no one else?'"  James certainly knows what eventually happened to Achilles', due to his weak spot - his heel.

It would be a tremendous upset if James Holzhauer lost this tournament, but I'm not expecting that to happen.  James is good for ratings because so many viewers want to see him lose.  It's very unlikely, but not impossible.  Matt and Andrew and Matteavand the others are strong players.

Yesterday, Sam and Amy were eliminated from the tournament.  Amy had a lot of second-place finishes, but she failed to accumulate enough points to advance to the next round.  As for Sam Buttrey, he's a classy guy, well-liked and a good contestant.

The remaining four- James, Andrew, Matt and Mattea, will compete next week for all the marbles.  I'd like to see James go up against Ken Jennings because he is probably the only one who can defeat him in a tournament.  It won't happen, though, because Ken has hosting duties.

- Joanne

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Y&R Report: (May 6, 2023): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary for daytime drama on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV, which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet.  Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Hi fans,  
Summer Newman is between a rock and a hard place, but she has been behaving foolishly and childishly. Phyllis, of course, has put her daughter in a terrible position.  It's unfair that  Summer is paying the price for her mother's recklessness and poor judgement.  Phyllis should have gone to the police immediately and explained that she killed Jeremy Stark in self-defense because he was attacking her.  Of course, that would have been too easy.  There would not have been as much drama and conflict.
Phyllis is incredibly selfish. and her daughter is in deep trouble. Summer is now an accessory to framing Diane for a murder she didn't commit.  In addition, Summer's marriage to Kyle is unlikely to survive this.  She has shut Kyle out and treated him terribly.  Daniel was right to reprimand her for her behaviour.
Victor "Moneybags" Newman thinks that his wealth and influence can buy him anything.  He also believes that Newman babies have special royal blood. Commentary for daytime drama, They are tougher and superior to other children.  He wants control of his grandchild and he has made Sally Spectra an offer he hopes she can't refuse.  He offered to fully finance a business for her anywhere in the world.
Victor would love to see Sally leave town.  He wants the redhead out of Nick's life and out of Adam's life.  It doesn't matter to Victor that he would be separating a mother and child from each other. However, Sally is not going let that happen. 
We saw in the previews that Adam is going to ask Sally to work with him at the company daddy Victor bought for from Tucker McCall.  I think that she will accept his offer.

Meanwhile, commentary for daytime drama, Victoria and Nate have been busted.  Elena went to Los Angeles and gave Nate a piece of her mind.  She exposed him as a liar and a cheat.  Nate tried to defend himself, but he really didn't have much of a defence commentary for daytime drama.  It's over for those those two.  Will Elena turn her attention to Devon again?  Abby won't be too happy about that.  As for Nate and Victoria, I don't think their relationship will survive their fling in L.A.    

Foolish Jack Abbott is going overboard in his undying devotion to Diane Jenkins.  I've never seen him behave this way with any other woman in his life, not even Phyllis.  What has Diane done to earn such devotion.  Yes, Diane has been falsely accused of killing Phyllis, but that doesn't mean she's an angel.  Her involvement with Jeremy Stark sparked all the trouble in the first place.  

Poor Connor Newman.  He is told by his parents, Adam Newman and Chelsea Lawson, that his Uncle Nick's girlfriend, Sally, is going to have a baby girl.  Connor assumes that Nick is the father and that the baby will be his cousin.  Adam informs a surprised Connor that the baby will actually be his sister and that he, not Nick, is the father of the child.  Can you blame Connor for being confused by the adults around him?

I miss Kristoff St. John as Neil Winters.  It's hard to believe over four years have passed since his death on February 3, 2019.  His passing was premature and extremely sad.  I am pleased that Y&R is honouring Kristoff by having a jazz lounge named after his Neil character.


Thad Luckinbill (J.T Hellstrom) is back

As expected, Thad Luckinbill has returned to his
Y&R role as J.T. Hellstrom - but only for a brief time.  Still, he will have an impact on the Victoria/Nate storyline.
Audra Chares (Zuleyka Silver) has finished with Noah and Tucker.  She has cast them aside and has now has now set her sights on Nate Hastings.  Audra is very wily.  Now that Nate's girlfriend, Elena, knows that Nate is cheating on her, their relationship is unlikely to survive.  That's why Audra made sure that Elena knew that Nate went to Los Angeles with Princess Victoria.  With Elena out of the picture, Audra only has to get Victoria out of the way, and the field will be clear for her to pursue Nate.  She hopes that Victoria will be distracted if J.T. shows up in Genoa City.

Chene Lawson returning as Devon's mother, Yolanda "Harmony" Hamilton

Chene Lawson first appeared as Devon's biological mother, Yolanda Hamilton, back in 2005. She was last seen in the role in 2006.  From 2011 to 2012,  Emmy-award winner Debbi Morgan took over the role and Yolanda changed her name to "Harmony."  It is Chene, however, who is set to return to Y&R.

The return of Yolanda (aka "Harmony') may affect the relationship between Ashley Abbott and Tucker McCall. Tucker  Harmony just happens to be Devon's biological parents, and Tucker played around with Harmony when he was married to Ashley.  Will Ashley be jealous of her?  Will Tucker still have feelings for her?  Ashley certainly reacted to Harmony's appearance at the tribute to Neil.  She didn't seem to happy about it.


The 50th Daytime Emmy Awards will take place on June 16th in Los Angeles.  The ceremony will be broadcast on 9 p.m. It will also stream on Paramount+.

Sharon Case (Sharon Newman Rosales), Michelle Stafford (Phyllis Summers) and Mellissa Claire Egan (Chelsea Lawson) have all been nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the category of Lead Performance in a Daytime Drama Series: Actress.
Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott),and Jason Thompson (Billy Abbott) have been nominated in the category of Lead Performance in a Daytime Series" Actor.
Robert Newman (Ashland Locke) has been nominated for best Guest Performance in a Daytime Drama Series,
The Young and the Restless was nominated for Outstanding Daytime Series,Outstanding Writing Team for a Daytime Drama Series, and Outstanding Directing Team for a Daytime Drama Serries/
General Hospital received 19 nominations, the most for a daytime drama. The Bold and the Beautiful received 14, Y&R received 13, and Days of Our Lives received 11..


Relationships don't last long on soaps, and couples change partners like musical chairs. Fans, which Y&R couple do most wish would not stay together.  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Which Y&R couple do you most want to break up? free polls

I really need your feedback.  If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name.  I really need your input.  I really need to hear your opinion.  I want to know if you agree or disagree with me. 

My email address:

That's all for now.  Please remember that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, May 20, 2023.

Take care,