Dian Collingwood: Carl Switzer’s Ex-Wife

By | July 9, 2023
Dian Collingwood: Carl Switzer's Ex-Wife

Dian Collingwood was the first wife of Carl Switzer and the heiress to the family business Collingwood Grain.

Who was Dian Collingwood?

Diantha Musette Collingwood Switzer Conard Eldridge, also known as Dian Collingwood or Diana by many, was the daughter of Lelo Paul Collingwood and Faye Collingwood. Dian was born on 19th November 1930 in Kansas City in the United States of America. Dian had a sibling, a sister, whose name is unknown. In 1953, she, Diantha, her mother, and her sister had to move to California and settle there because her sister wanted to be an actress. 

Dian came from a wealthy family; her dad owned Collingwood Grain, a large grain industry company, and a large farm near Wichita, which many people were quite envious of. Because her sister chose the entertainment industry and the acting path, Diantha was the only child left to take over the family business and became the heiress to the grain empire Collingwood Grain. 

Diantha had about three husbands when she was alive. Her first husband was Carl Dean Switzer, an American singer, child actor, dog breeder, and guide, also known as Alfalfa. Their marriage was short-lived; however, they had a son named Justin Lance Collingwood Switzer.

After their divorce, she married Richard Rosswell “Ross” Elridge and had two sons with him named Chris Eldridge and Lee Elridge. Richard raised Lance as his own.

She and Eldridge also got a divorce, and somewhere in 1959, she married another Richard. Richard Lee Conard. 

Dian Collingwood died on 29th November 2004 in Hutchinson, Reno, Kansas, United States, at seventy-four (74) years old. The name on her tombstone is Diantha Collingwood Eldridge. 

Not much is said about the career path Diantha chose. Still, as the heiress to the family empire, it is only radical to assume that Dian chose the family business and worked as a businesswoman building the family legacy.

Dian Collingwood met Carl Switzer through ablind date

Dian Collingwood met Carl Dean Switzer on a blind date set up in 1954, and that is how their love story began. They got along so well that they married in Las Vegas three months later. Along the line, somewhere in 1956, her husband’s money was getting finished, and Dian was pregnant with him around that time. Due to that, her mother offered them the chance to live on the farm near Pretty Prairie, Kansas. 

They gave birth to their son, Justin Lance Collingwood Switzer, later that year. Justin changed his name to Justin Lance Collingwood Elridge, abandoning his dad’s surname and taking his step-father’s. 

Their marriage lasted a whole three years before the couple finally got a divorce in 1957. Dian Collingwood married Richard Rosswell “Ross” Elridge, born in 1933 and died in 2007. Richard raised Lance as his child. Dian had two other children by him, sons Chris and Lee Elridge.

Dian Collingwood’s ex-husband, Carl Switzer was a singer

Carl Dean Switzer was an American singer, child actor, dog breeder, and guide born in Paris, Illinois, in the U.S.A 7th August 1927. He was born to Gladys Carrie Shanks, born and died in 1904–1997, and George Frederick “Fred” Switzer, who also died in 1905–1960. Carl was the youngest of four children. The eldest brother died in 1922.

Carl became famous after he played the role of Alfalfa in the series Our Gang. In 1934, his family traveled to California to visit the extended family. They visited Hal Roach Studios while sightseeing. Carl and his brother Harold broke out into an impromptu performance at the open-to-the-public cafeteria, the Our Gang Café, which impressed the producer, Hal Roach. He was named ‘Alfalfa’ while Harold was nicknamed ‘Slim.’

The series ended in 1940, and Carl was featured in many movies after. Aside from acting, Carl bred and trained hunting dogs and guided hunting expeditions—a job which inevitably leads to his death in the most insane way.

He was fatally shot by an acquaintance in a foolish dispute over money with a friend of his in January 1959. Carl was buried at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California. 

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