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'7th Heaven' star in molestation probe
01:39 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Stephen Collins' acting career goes back almost five decades

Performer's movie roles include "All the President's Men" and 1979 "Star Trek"

Collins best known for "7th Heaven," which ran for 11 seasons

Actor faces sexual molestation allegations

CNN  — 

Actor Stephen Collins, who is in the news for child molestation allegations, is best known for playing the clergyman father in the TV series “7th Heaven.” But he has had a long career on television, theater and the movies. Here are some details about his life:

1. You’ve seen him on the big screen.

The Iowa-born, New York-raised Collins, who turned 67 on October 1, made his film debut in 1976’s “All the President’s Men” as Hugh Sloan, a real-life person who was treasurer of Richard Nixon’s 1972 presidential campaign committee. Three years later, he starred as Capt. Willard Decker in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” one of a handful of non-“Star Trek” regulars to have a major role in the 1979 film.

Other Collins films include “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “The Big Picture,’ “The First Wives Club” and “Blood Diamond.”

He could have gotten his big-screen debut earlier. According to People magazine, Collins was considered for the Ryan O’Neal role in “Love Story” but had already agreed to another part.

Collins was supposed to appear in the upcoming “Ted 2” but was fired from the job in the wake of the molestation allegations.

Bizarre end to ‘7th Heaven’ actor Stephen Collins’ day

2. He had a number of TV spots before “7th Heaven.”

Collins was the star of “Tales of the Gold Monkey,” a 1983 series that attempted to channel the success of the “Indiana Jones” movies, with Collins cast as an adventurous 1930s bush pilot. It lasted a season.

In 1988, he starred in “Tattingers,” a much-hyped series (from “St. Elsewhere’s” Bruce Paltrow and John Masius) about a New York restaurant. It was also gone within a season. “Working It Out,” from 1990, lasted a season as well.

He also appeared in TV miniseries and movies, earning an Emmy nomination for 1987’s “The Two Mrs. Grenvilles” and playing John F. Kennedy in 1991’s “A Woman Named Jackie.”

3. He found major success with “7th Heaven.”

As the Rev. Eric Camden, Collins finally found a lead role on a long-running series. “7th Heaven,” about a Protestant minister and his family in Southern California, ran for 11 seasons on the WB (later the CW) from 1996-2007 and earned a steady following for its wholesome characters and issue-oriented storylines.

“It may have been a throwback to the 1950s,” wrote Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh in “The Complete Guide to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows,” “but for its loyal viewers it was an oasis of normalcy in a TV desert full of dysfunctional and ever more hostile families.” (The series was produced by Aaron Spelling, better known for such shows as “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Love Boat” and “Melrose Place.”)

His “7th Heaven” role influenced his real life. In 1999, People magazine reported that Collins spent one Sunday a month as a lay eucharistic minister at a Los Angeles Episcopalian church. “I guess life does imitate art!” he told the magazine.

Since “7th Heaven’s” departure, Collins has had regular roles in “Private Practice” and “Revolution,” among others.

UPtv, a family-friendly network, said it was pulling reruns of “7th Heaven” from its lineup in the wake of the sexual allegations.

4. He’s worked in theater – and as an author.

According to his website, Collins has appeared in more than a dozen Broadway and off-Broadway productions, including the original production of “The Ritz,” the American premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s “Putting It Together” and the recent Broadway run of “Monty Python’s Spamalot.” He played King Arthur, a role originated by Tim Curry.

Collins, urged on by friend Christopher Guest, also wrote two novels: “Eye Contact” and “Double Exposure.”

5. He’s going through a messy divorce.

The recent scandal was precipitated by Collins’ divorce from actress Faye Grant, whom he married in 1985. (His first marriage, to Marjorie Weinman, ended in 1978.)

According to divorce documents filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Grant says she learned that Collins had “been engaging in a long-term pattern of sexually molesting children.” She said Collins admitted to her that he molested three underage girls more than a decade prior, the court document says.

Neither Collins’ attorney nor his agent immediately returned any of CNN’s numerous calls. Grant’s representatives also didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Grant said in the court documents that she was unaware of Collins’ behavior until he told her in January 2012. They separated the next month, after almost 27 years of marriage. Collins and Grant have one child, a daughter.

TMZ released an audio recording Tuesday that purports to have been recorded during a November 2012 therapy session involving Collins and Grant. In it, the website says, Collins made incriminating statements similar to those Grant accuses him of in divorce filings, namely that he admitted to her that he molested underage girls.

Grant told E! News she had nothing to do with the release of the recording.

CNN’s Saeed Ahmed, Jane Caffrey and Shimon Prokupecz contributed to this story.