Wayde Preston (William Erksine Strange)

Wayde Preston

Born William Erksine Strange in Denver, Colorado, Preston was reared in Laramie in southern Wyoming by his educator parents, John and Bernice Strange. Wayde Preston had two younger sisters, Joan and Mary. In 1947 he graduated from Laramie High School, where he was active in football, track, the school band and the Reserve Officer Training Corps. He attended the University of Wyoming in Laramie, where he studied pharmacy. He became an accomplished musician and played in many bands during the late 1940s. In 1950 Preston was drafted into the United States Army. Trained in an artillery unit at Fort Bliss, Texas, Preston attained the rank of first lieutenant and fought in the Korean War. After military service he for a time was a park ranger at Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming and rode the rodeo circuit before he got his break as an actor. In Colt .45 he played Christopher Colt, a government undercover agent who masquerades as a pistol salesman traveling throughout the Old West. The series lasted until Preston, like James Garner and Clint Walker during the same period, ran afoul of the Warner Brothers studio. Donald May replaced Preston in 1959 and 1960 in the role of Colt’s cousin, Sam Colt Jr., but only in four episodes. Wayde Preston also played the role of Christopher Colt in 1958 and 1959 in four episodes relating to “The Canary Kid” of the ABC/WB Sugarfoot series, starring Will Hutchins. “The Saga of Waco Williams” is a critical favorite that paired Preston with James Garner, as Bret Maverick, and drew more viewers than any other Maverick episode; it remains one of Preston’s career milestones. Tom Selleck’s recurring comical character of Lance White in NBC’s later The Rockford Files, starring James Garner, is loosely based by writer/producer Stephen J. Cannell upon Waco Williams (Selleck and Preston resembled each other.) After these appearances, Selleck in 1980 immediately procured his own CBS series, Magnum, P.I.

Preston played some 20 roles in television and films between 1957-91. Following his departure from Colt .45 he went to Europe, where he appeared in numerous spaghetti westerns including Vic Morrow’s A Man Called Sledge opposite James Garner as well as the 1968 film Anzio about the World War II Battle of Anzio. Preston played the role of Logan in another 1968 film, Wrath of God; he was then cast in 1969 as Marshal Johnny Silver in Death Knows No Time. Wayde Preston later appeared on episodes of NBC’s Bonanza and ABC’s Starsky and Hutch. His last screen appearance was a supporting role in the 1990 film version of Captain America. Preston married the former Carol Ohmart on Thanksgiving Day in 1956; they were divorced less than two years later. Wayde Preston died of colon cancer in 1992 at the age of 62 in Reno, Nevada.

More Images

  • coltwadekategrant -

  • preston_25 -


  • September, 10, 1929
  • USA
  • Denver, Colorado


  • February, 06, 1992
  • USA
  • Lovelock, Nevada

Cause of Death

  • colon cancer


  • Lone Mountain Cemetery
  • Lovelock, Nevada
  • USA

849 profile views