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By Dale McKee
May 2023

Actor Gary Grubbs, a Prentiss native and former Southern Mississippi football player, has worked for some of Hollywood’s most famous directors.

Actor Gary Grubbs, a Prentiss native and former Southern Mississippi football player, has worked for some of Hollywood’s most famous directors, including Oliver Stone and Clint Eastwood. Grubbs has 180 acting credits in his 46-year career, including his role as an attorney in two of the all-time most watched television miniseries, “The Burning Bed” and “Fatal Vision.” Additionally, he made the circuit on TV shows such as “Will & Grace.” He has also written scripts for television movies such as, “If I Had Wings,” starring Delta Burke and fellow Mississippi native Gerald McRaney.  

Old black and white photo a football player, posing holding his helmet with the number 22 on his jersey.The son of a Mississippi Highway Patrol officer, Grubbs was born in Amory. His family moved to Prentiss where he developed a passion for sports. 

“I played all the sports in high school. I was pretty good, and my senior year I was named All-Dixie Conference in football, basketball, and baseball,” Grubbs said recently. Grubbs finished his high school sports career by being selected to play in the Mississippi High School All-Star football game in Jackson, with Archie Manning playing on the opposing team.  

Following high school, Grubbs attended Southern Miss and played football. He said playing sports helped him in his future acting career, though, at the time, he had no plans to pursue acting. As Grubbs recalled, the persistence required to succeed in sports helped him later. 

“What I have learned over my acting career is that there is a huge correlation between athletes and performers, and the lessons in tenacity learned in sports come in handy as an actor,” Grubbs said. 

“I have been turned down so many times for parts. Sometimes up to 100 people will try out for a part. You have lots of rejection in this business. Even when you land a part, you can be completely cut out when the show is finally edited and airs,” Grubbs said.  

In college, Grubbs’ dorm room adjoined the dorm room of Cooper Huckabee from Mobile, Alabama. Huckabee had plans to coach in the future, but he also harbored a festering acting bug. Huckabee tried out for several college plays, and Grubbs would help him learn his lines. When both men graduated from USM in 1972, the two did not keep in touch. Huckabee returned to Alabama to coach, and Grubbs used his business degree to land a job selling bulldozers in south Mississippi.  

The cast of "Will & Grace" posing with Gary Grubbs.

Fast-forward five years and Grubbs, lying on his couch watching TV in Hattiesburg, heard something familiar. He recalled, “I was half asleep when I heard Cooper’s voice on ‘Little House on the Prairie.’” Grubbs’ next move was to call Huckabee’s parents to acquire their son’s contact information. He called Huckabee, who quipped, “Beats the heck out of work!”  Huckabee invited Grubbs to Los Angeles to see for himself. “I followed him to work and said, ‘I can do this,’” Grubbs said.

Huckabee went on to portray “Marshall,” John Travolta’s buddy in the 1980 film, “Urban Cowboy” as well as star in the 1981 Tobe Hooper-directed horror film, “The Funhouse.” 

Grubbs didn’t have to convince his wife, former Miss Mississippi Glenda Meadows, to make the move. The couple sold everything and headed to Los Angeles. 

Grubbs said contacts are essential for a shot at a successful career in Hollywood. Grubbs’ game plan was to start meeting folks from Mississippi who were in the business. His hunt was successful — one of those contacts helped him launch his career in 1978 when he landed his first job on the film, “Deadman’s Curve.” 

The rest is history. 

Grubbs said he feels grateful for his success but adds, “I’m very passionate and very determined to keep looking for that next job.”  

Now back in Mississippi, Grubbs conducts acting classes in Gulfport and Mobile. He can be contacted at garygrubbsclass@gmail.com. His wife is an accomplished artist. Her work may be viewed at www.GlendaGrubbs.com. The couple has two children, Molly and Logan.



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