Gary was born Gareth Monello Carmody in Boston, Mass. The family moved to Los Angeles around 1950. His father, John Carmody, was an administrator in the Los Angeles City School District and his mother, Vera, was a teacher. Gary's sister also went on to teach.
From an early age, Gary showed great potential as an artist. During his teens at Los Angeles High School, he was able to take time off to attend the Otis Art Institute on a regular basis. He studied art and painting for eight years. He moved on to the University of California in Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.) to continue his art studies, but dissatisfied with the course, he went to earn a degree in Theatre Arts in 1958.
Whilst at U.C.L.A. Gary appeared in some university stage productions, including 'Volpone' in which he played Leone. During the production, Gary met his wife to be, Marion McKnight, who was crowned 'Miss America' in 1957. They married in 1958. They have two children, Kathleen born in the early sixties, and Gareth who was born later around the time 'Land of the Giants' was made.
During his university years, Gary also made three low budget films for American International Pictures (A.I.P.): 'The Saga of the Viking Women and their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent' (also known as 'Viking Women and the Sea Serpent') in 1957; 'I Was a Teenage Frankenstein' (1957) and 'How to Make a Monster' (1958). The latter two films have been released on video in the United Kingdom.
After graduating, Gary enlisted in the U.S. Army, and had an opportunity to try his hand at radio broadcasting when he was assigned a job as radio announcer. Whilst stationed at Fort Ord in California, Gary was invited to attend a screen test at Warner Brothers. Straight after he was discharged from the Army, Gary attended the screen test for a series 'The Alaskans'. He didn't get the part but was signed to a contract with Warners, under which he guested in popular shows such as '77 Sunset Strip' and 'Hawaiian Eye'.
His career started to take off after he left Warner Brothers. He had a string of guest roles, and then in 1962 won the role of Tyler Duane in the western 'The Young Guns of Texas', about a group searching for gold. This film was particularly known for the fact that it brought together the children of a number of well known actors including Robert Mitchum's son James Mitchum.
Soon after, Gary was signed up for Four Star's 'Burkes Law', with Gene Barry, in which he played a young police detective Tim Tilson. Gary stayed on for sixty six episodes, and he became a household name. Before being cast in 'Land of the Giants', Gary had a few more guest roles in shows like Daniel Boone, and a pilot feature called 'Attack' that never got off the ground.
It was 'Land of the Giants' which gave Gary his first leading role. The role of Steve Burton was an acting challenge for Gary Can you imagine how difficult it is to spend half your time speaking to the ceiling, whilst pretending that you are talking to a giant, which would be added later with advanced optical techniques.
Gary is not only a talented actor. He is also a skilled architect and builder. He has designed many fine homes, homes and vineyards in California. Gary was also a pioneer in the music cassette industry, co founding the National Cinema Systems company to specialise in producing and distributing cassette tapes. He also acted as consultant in the field.
During the seventies Gary had a number of guest roles in episodic television and television movies, including a five minute appearance in 'Columbo' called 'Any Old Port in A Storm'. In the 1972 film 'Black Gunn', Gary played a sympathetic congressman, supportive of the ethnic community. In 1975 he appeared in the Paramount's version of Jacqueline Susann's bestseller 'Once is Not Enough' with Kirk Douglas, George Hamilton and Alexis Smith amongst others. In 1977, Gary decided to produce and star in an action movie set in Georgia shortly after World War 2, 'The Farmer', released by Columbia Studios.
During the eighties, his acting appearances have been negligible. In 1987, he returned with a vengence in American Ninja II: The Confrontation, for which he also wrote the screenplay. Gary went on to write the screenplay for 'American Ninja III: Blood Hunt', but he did not appear in it.
Gary has become more well known as a screen writer, not only writing for the Cannon's 'American Ninja' films, but also for other major features such as Sylvestor Stallone's 'Over the Top'. In a 1990's interview with Starlog (#151) it is suggested that the idea was originally conceived as a vehicle for himself.
In 1987, Gary together with friend and partner Dean Zanetos formed a production company, and they produced a pilot for a proposed series called 'Vineyards and Vintages'. Marion Conway was spokesperson for the series, and it aimed to savour some of the top vineyards worldwide.
Gary and Marion have developed one of the premier vineyards in California, in what was a 320 acre cattle ranch near Paso Robles. Over the past few years, Gary has dedicated himself to trying to get a reunion film for 'Land of the Giants' going, encouraged by the worldwide response to recent repeat showings of the series. Gary has also attended a number of conventions over the past few years, and has received a terrific response from fans.
Recently Gary had his first book published called 'Art of the Vineyard'
with many of his colour paintings. Gary is currently working on a
movie called 'A Woman's Story'.