GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN
**N.B.: The actors listed here are ones who have left us since the formation of this website in September 2002. Those who departed before have, due to lack of space, not been included here. Because this page will unfortunately be growing larger as time goes by, not all of the recently-passed TZ actors are included here. It has been primarily, but not exclusively, limited to those only who had starring roles on TZ or who were otherwise culturally iconoclastic (i.e., Dick Wilson only had two brief on-screen appearances on TZ but will be forever known as Mr. Whipple!)**
EARL HAMNER, JR.
With the passing of Earl Hamner, Jr. on March 24th, 2016, all of the writers of "The Twilight Zone" are now gone from our midst. He was known as "the backwoods writer of Hollywood", and in fact, in one of his early letters home to his family in Virginia, he remarked, "...with the sunshine and swimming pools, it's almost like being in a real place." We were fortunate to have Earl with us at the 2002 Stars of the Zone Convention, where he spoke on the Writers Panel alongside George Clayton Johnson, John Tomerlin, and Marc Scott Zicree. Earl was a very kind and generous soul. A grand salute to You, Earl - you were an amazing man with amazing talent and will be greatly missed.
GEORGE CLAYTON JOHNSON
George Clayton Johnson's life began on July 10th, 1929 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and ended in Los Angeles on December 25, 2015, on what would have also been Rod Serling's 91st birthday. George was, needless to say, an outstanding writer. He was a member of the so-called "Southern California Group" of writers, which included Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, William F. Nolan, John Tomerlin, OCee Ritch, and a handful of others. While his last "Hollywood" credits date from the 1970s, he remains known for his earliest work - the screenplay "Ocean's Eleven", and the novel "Logan's Run" (co-written with Nolan), and his four episodes and four stories of "The Twilight Zone." George wrote a lot of stories. He recalled in 2002 at the Stars of the Zone Convention on the Writer Panel, how he got started on "The Twilight Zone." He said, "Rod Serling knew that he needed help. He was supposed to write the majority of the episodes, but he couldn't do them all, so he got the two best fantasy writers in town, Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont. Before the show began, I had this short story, it was called "All of Us Are Dying." My agent - who never did sign any formal contracts with me, but he said that if I could find something to get involved in that he would represent me - was Jay Richards of Famous Artists Agency. Jay took a ballpoint pen and re-named it "Rubberface." It was submitted to the show, and he called me to tell me that Rod had bought it. Rod kept most of my original title. Prior to that, and after that, I dug a lotta dry wells lookin' for water. I would write a story, submit it, it would be rejected, and I'd keep working on it to find that one little thing in it that was holding it back. Anyhow, on the very first day of nineteen-sixty, January 1, I sat on the floor of my little crackerbox house in Pacoima, in front of the TV, with my wife (George lived there until the day he died). When I saw my name in the closing credits, my first on-screen credit ever, I felt a wash of emotion over me that I can't even describe. Rod stuck a new car under my windshield - my story, that is." Of Rod Serling, he said, "He was a gentleman. I only saw the man about eight times - and he was far more interested in me and what I was working on, rather than discussing what he was doing. I wanted to hear about what he was doing so I could learn something from him."
To try to describe George in print would also be impossible to do. Needless to say, he had an amazing mind, an amazing brain. He adored people. And, he adored The Twilight Zone. He said, "Even if I had never written an episode of that show, I watched it religiously because the kind of stories that show did every week - the surrealism - was what I really dug." He also loved his fans and followers, of which there were a great many. "When someone tells me that they like something I wrote, I am as modest as I can be, but I glow inside." He was indeed very modest. And usually, if someone complimented him, it would spark a discussion. He'd give them even more. I will never forget just how much George added to the four "Twilight Zone" conventions, done by myself and Bill DeVoe and Herman Darvick. In 2006, at the third convention in New Jersey, I came down to the front desk at 1 am next morning because something was not working in the room. George was in the bar, adjacent to the front desk, with a few other people, holding court and leading some philosophical discussion, as he LOVED doing. In late 2001, when we were getting preparations underway for the first convention, George was one of the first to call me. He left a message on my voicemail - which I still have, saved - that said "Hi, this is George Clayton Johnson. I'm looking for Andrew. Would you have him call me, please? Thank you." I didn't have his phone number, but got it, and called him. Instead of "Hello?", or "This is George", or something insincere, the greeting was the most warm and heartfelt "HI!" I'd ever heard in my life, even before I said who I was, and I'd bet anything he had no CallerID. It was as if we already knew each other very well. Anyhow, a long conversation ensued, wherein he suggested several things that might be done to make the convention "bigger and better." I took him up on all of them, the main one being a special V.I.P. dinner to be held on the first night, with the keynote address that would be given by him. As all 84 people who attended the dinner will tell you (or would tell you), it was one amazing evening. At the conventions, George didn't spend much time behind the table signing autographs. He preferred to "just be a fan, along with everybody else." A nicer man, you could not hope to know. He lived a simple existence, and prided himself on it. "I don't need much," he sometimes said. His straw hat, blue windbreaker (bearing a few buttons and pins, one of which was the Rod Serling Memorial Foundation) simple trousers and black loafers and a sweatshirt or t-shirt were his wardrobe for many years. When George talked, people listened, and he was never for a moment boring. He thought up things that no one else dreamt. At the 2006 convention came my fondest memories of him. I was nearby when a mother from Michigan took a photo of George and her two young kids. She showed George the photo and he said "I look like a child molester!" Later that afternoon, I led a panel discussion with George and five or six actors. As usual, he got to talking, and started to veer off into some treacherous territory. I will never forget gripping my chair as he started to talk about God and prayers ("What if prayers were REAL?"). I was thinking "Someone here is going to object to this and is going to go ballistic!" But, thankfully, it didn't happen. In more recent years, George was at virtually all of the Twilight Zone happenings in Los Angeles, what few there were. The last time I saw him was in 2009, at the 50th anniversary TZ gathering, not organized by us. Thankfully, he left a legacy - enough stories and episodes of television, that he'll never leave our stream of consciousness. He wrote very skilfully about death, and in fact, the subject is present in most of his TZ episodes.
To quote (arguably) the best line of his eight episodes, "As long as people talk about you, you're not really dead" (spoken by Fats Brown in "A Game of Pool.") "I know that I'm immortal," he said. "The Twilight Zone may not continue to be re-made, but it will never stopped being watched. That show was a major player in what I call 'consciousness expansion' - and it lifted me up into what I call 'the great telephone mindspace in the sky." Hopefully, George and Charles Beaumont and Rod Serling and Richard Matheson and all the others had a grand party to celebrate George's arrival in that great landscape out in the stars, known as The Twilight Zone.
Sad to report, we had not one but two deaths on December 25th. The second, but equally noteworthy, was the departure of Jason Wingreen, at the age of 96. We were honored to have him with us at the 2002 TZ Convention. He was a very nice man and a super-familiar face on TV. He appeared three times on TZ - in "A Stop at Willoughby" as the conductor (which he always said was his favorite, and "While we were shooting it, I knew it was very special"), "The Midnight Sun" where he played Mr. Schuster, the neighbor, and "The Bard", in which he played the director of Burt Reynolds in the Shakespeare play. "My agent was asleep at the switch on that one, because I didn't get screen credit for it," he recalled many years later. Most people know him for his long-running role on "All in the Family" and "Archie Bunker's Place" where he played Harry Snowden the bartender. "That was the best part of my career," he said. Later in the 80s and early 90s, he had a semi-regular role as a judge on "Matlock" and appeared on "Mama's Family" in what was to be a regular role as Mama's (Vicki Lawrence's) neighbor but it didn't quite happen. Many also remember him for his small but funny role as the heart surgeon in "Airplane" (1980), who has an anatomic model heart atop his desk which can be seen flopping and bouncing around. Jason had a great career and will be missed!
Charles Herbert, whom many know for his role in "I Sing the Body Electric", passed away on October 31st after a sudden heart attack. He had a prolific career as a child actor who appeared in TV, film, and commercials, for about 13 years from the early fifties thru the mid sixties. He had the distinction of appearing in TZ, The Outer Limits, and One Step Beyond. In the days before there were child actors' rights, families could do as they pleased with their child's earnings, and he received less than $2,000 after his career ended. He turned to substance abuse, which plagued him for most of his life, but in the early 2000s, he reached sobriety and remained substance-free until the end of his life. He lived in Las Vegas in a small apartment for many years and, deservedly, received a pension from Screen Actors Guild. He remained good friends with many actors, including Paul Petersen, himself a child actor who later became the leading advocate for child actor rights. Paul released the news of Charlie's death. The photo below was taken from a scene in the Bert I. Gordon film "Attack of the Puppet People", alongside Susan Gordon, herself a TZ star. Sadly, Susan passed away prematurely in 2011 of cancer. Charlie was a very nice man and greatly appreciated his fans. He appeared at many conventions (including several with Bert and Susan Gordon) and had plans to appear at more. I wish I'd asked Paul Petersen - who stopped by our TZ Conventions in Los Angeles, if he knew where Charlie was. One other credit, that not many people know Charlie for, because it was uncredited, was his appearance at the very end of Serling's "Requiem for a Heavyweight". He and his mother (played by Mary LaRoche, also of TZ fame) share a scene with Jack Palance, wherein Mountain McClintock (Palance) decides his next move in life after being forcibly retired from prizefighting. The little boy starts up a conversation with Mountain, who proceeds to teach him about boxing. It is an extremely moving scene, thanks in part to Charles Herbert.
The great Martin Milner has passed away. I am glad I got to know Marty, just for a bit in the early 2000s. He attended both of our Twilight Zone conventions and was a very nice man, not to mention being a fine actor. On TZ, he co-starred with Vera Miles in the superclassic TZ episode "Mirror Image" in early 1960, one of the finest half-hours of sci-fi TV, although TZ was not a sci-fi show. That was in 1960. Both he and co-star Vera Miles were both alive for fifty-five years after the episode was filmed! Milner gained his greatest fame on "Route 66" from 1960-64 from 1968-75 as Officer Malloy of "Adam 12", a series which spawned another great TV show, "Emergency!" in 1972. Not long after his appearance on TZ, he starred on the ever-popular "Route 66". He will be missed - by TZ fans, but mostly by veteran cops who wanted to grow up to be like Malloy! In his later years, he hosted a radio show called "Let's Talk Hookup!" and lived in Carlsbad, California. Martin and his wife Judy, with whom he had a 58 year marriage, had four children - Amy (deceased), Molly, Andrew, and Stuart. Martin always loved his fans and they will definitely miss him. Martin always had a following, even after his days on camera ended; his character Malloy certainly inspired a lot of young men to become cops!
Theodore Bikel, legendary actor, singer, activist, storyteller...passed away on 21 July at the ripe old age of 91. He certainly made his mark during his time on Earth - and other than his performing arts achievements, he was the founder of Actors Federal Credit Union in New York (leader of a small group of members who started the financial institution in the early 1960s.) Theo came to our TZ convention in 2004 and we were glad to have him there. His most memorable TV credit was of course "Four O'Clock", the episode of TZ where he played the megalomaniacal Oliver Crangle, who reports all bad people to the authorities and eventually gets turned into a gnome. Theo often said that he and his two sons loved that part and that he utilized the 'Crangle' name around his house. In the early 2000s, he enjoyed a very long run as Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof", which was performed all over the world. He was married for over 40 years to Rita Weinberg, divorcing not many years before his death, and he had marriages to Tamara Brooks, a well-known chorusmaster from New York (she preceded him in death) and to Aimee Ginsburg, who survives him, along with his sons.
Donna Douglas, equally well-known for the revealed Janet Tyler in TZ's "Eye of the Beholder" and Elly May Clampett on "The Beverly Hillbillies", passed away on January 1st. She always appreciated her millions of fans. She'd been retired from showbiz for many years but continued to appear at events throughout the world, often in her overalls! Donna was a very nice lady and will be missed. In 2004 she returned to Louisiana, where she began. She was previously a resident of Huntington Beach, California.
Terry passed away on December 30th at the ripe old age of 93. He appeared on the fifth season episode "I Am the Night - Color Me Black", and very nicely, as the condemned killer named Jagger. Terry was a very nice man and attended our 2004 TZ Convention, as well as a few other autograph shows around Los Angeles over the past 10 years. He is also known for his co-starring role as Chief Sharkey in "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" opposite Richard Basehart, from 1964-68. Terry also gave us a great interview in 2004 which can be seen on the TZ DVD disc special features.
Rod Taylor, co-star of episode "And When the Sky Was Opened" passed away on January 7. He was a fine actor. He is of course well-known for TZ, and also Hitchcock's "The Birds" and George Pal's "The Time Machine." While Rod was not fond of signing autographs, he kindly signed a number of them for us, which were sold at the various TZ Conventions. Our good friend, the late Gloria Pall, said, "I loved working with Rod Taylor as the girl at the bar. He was one of the hottest young stars at that time, having just come here from Australia."
100th Birthday Actor Salutes
1914 - 2014
1914 was a year for many TZ actor births. This year, we tip our hat to some of them!
RUTH WHITE (1914-1969)
Ruth White was one of the great unsung heroes in the world of character actors. Today, she is probably remembered most for her scant 45 seconds of screen time in "To Kill a Mockingbird", as the invalid Miss Dubose, who is seen early in the film on a porch rocking chair, and her role on TZ as a distant second. There is a long story behind why her character was not featured prominently in the film. In Harper Lee's novel, and in Horton Foote's screenplay, Miss Dubose got a good bit of the storyline. She was a bigoted old hag, a neighbor of The Finch family (Atticus, Jem, and Scout.) Director Bob Mulligan and Executive Producer Alan Pakula explained what happened many years later. 'We shot the full scene with [Ruth], and, bless her, she spent three or more hours in the makeup chair every day - she wasn't very old at the time. Miss Dubose was supposed to be in her 80s and Ruth was in her 50s. [We had to cut it.] The scene ended up dragging down the storyline. We tried to find a way to make it work but it ended up on the cutting room floor.' Mulligan stated, "Every time I'd see Ruth around town - at a party or other function - in Hollywood in later years, I always talked to her - I don't know if she ever forgave me for it." Nonetheless, Ruth was credited prominently in the film and her brief time on camera was nonetheless memorable. That was in 1962, and in the following year, she appeared on "Twilight Zone", in the classic hour episode "The Incredible World of Horace Ford." She gave a superb portrayal as Horace's whining, hysterical mother, and Pat Hingle thought highly of her performance and related this in interviews in his final years.
Ruth was a lifelong resident of Perth Amboy, New Jersey. She graduated with a degree in Literature from Rutgers University in 1935. While pursuing her acting career in New York, she taught acting and drama at Seton Hall University. She appeared in off-Broadway plays of Samuel Beckett ("Happy Days") and Edward Albee ("Malcolm" and "Box"). White also earned a Tony Award nomination in 1968 for her role in Harold Pinter's "The Birthday Party." In 1964, she won an Emmy Award for her role in the Hallmark Hall of Fame TV Movie "Little Moon of Alban." By the end of the 1960s, she had become one of New York's most highly praised and in demand character actresses, and appeared in "Midnight Cowboy", "Hang 'Em High" and "No Way To Treat A Lady." Sadly, her life was cut short by cancer at age 55. She died in 1969, and was buried in the family plot in Perth Amboy.
KEVIN McCARTHY (1914-2010)
Kevin McCarthy is best known to the public for two roles - Dr. Miles Bennell of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1956) and as Prof. Walter Jameson of TZ's "Long Live Walter Jameson." He proved himself to be an extremely versatile actor, able to play nice men and con men equally well. Kevin gave many interviews over the years and in his later years, attended many festivals and conventions. On the actor panel at the 2002 TZ Convention, he said of Walter Jameson, "I played a man who just lived and lived and lived and I am still playing that character," to which Anne Francis replied, "And very well, indeed." Then they recalled the episode of Anne's hour-long drama series "Honey West" (1965) that Kevin appeared on, in which Anne used her karate skills to give Kevin the biggest toss of his career! Despite the natural decline, Kevin did age remarkably well. He loved his fans - the only thing he asked from them is that if they did want his autograph, that they pay him $1.00. Mighty generous, in this day and age. If you haven't done so already, check out some of Kevin's other roles on other TV shows, his resume was a long one. One of his last film roles was with the 2005 box office failure (or maybe it was straight-to-video?) "Slipstream" co-starring Sir Anthony Hopkins. Kevin liked the role in the most unusual film.
EDWARD ANDREWS (1914-1985)
Edward Andrews was a very, very familiar face in TV and film for half a century, and probably one of the hardest-working character actors in Hollywood. He's best known for his roles on "Twilight Zone", and two films he did not long before his death, "Gremlins" and "Sixteen Candles." He was very well cast in his TZ roles. As the government stooge Mr. Carling in Season 1, he nearly wrecks the plans of the Sturka and Riden families from leaving a corrupt planet to go to Earth in "Third From the Sun". But the more-remembered of the two was his starring role as Oliver Pope in Earl Hamner's script "You Drive"; Pope's car comes alive and forces him to confess to a homicide. Andrews appeared on one of TZ's cousin shows, "Thriller", which aired from 1960 to 1962, several times. In the superb episode "Cousin Tundifer", he played a greedy nephew who tries to claim his uncle's estate. In "Three for Pinochle", he played Mr. Maynard Thispen, who makes a wax dummy of his wife which sits in the front seat of his car after he's murdered her. The two little old ladies across the street catch onto his scheme - they won't report him to the police, but they have other plans for him. Thirty years ago, in 1984, Starlog Magazine interviewed Andrews.
Don Keefer, who was the oldest living TZ actor, passed away at the age of 98 on 7 September. Don appeared on TZ three times, in three distinctly different episodes: his first, "It's a Good Life", was of course the most memorable, and the best-known thing of his career. He played the kindly Dan Hollis, who is merely trying to celebrate his birthday, when he gets turned into a jack-in-the-box and subsequently banished to a cornfield, never to be seen again. His second was as the travel agent, Mr. Spiereto, in "Passage on the Lady Anne", and finally, as the crazed programmer Fred Danzinger, who has a nervous breakdown and has a flurry of adding machine tape covering him in "From Agnes - With Love." Don was a very nice man and a fine actor; unfortunately, due to his rapidly increasing blindness as long as 12 years ago, he was unable to attend our TZ conventions. But, I was lucky enough to get him to sign a Perry Como record jacket right before. Don's last role, or one of them, came in the Jim Carrey film "Liar Liar." His son, Don Keefer Jr., survived him. Rest in eternal comfort, Don.
Richard Kiel passed away on September 10th, just shy of his 75th birthday, and less than a year following Joseph Ruskin (voice of the Kanamits). His wife and many children and grandchildren survive him. I wish Richard had been able to attend our Los Angeles Stars of the Zone Conventions, but such was not to be. But, he appeared here many times, and all over the world for that matter, at various conventions over his lifetime. He was mainly known for his roles on TZ, in the James Bond films where he played Jaws, and also shows such as "I Dream of Jeannie" and "The Monkees." Standing tall at 7 feet 3 inches, a height he attained as a teenager, Richard was well-known throughout the industry and whenever an enormously tall guy was needed, he was first on the list. In 1999, Richard wrote his fascinating autobiography, and it was published in 2001. He still worked sporadically in his later years, and had a very full and prosperous life, despite an accident that confined him to a wheelchair for most of his older years. He will be missed, and TZ fans worldwide will always appreciate what he brought to TV screens on that fateful day in 1962. Richard L. Bare, who directed "To Serve Man", outlived him. Richard Bare cast Richard Kiel very wisely!
Arlene Martel passed away on August 12, 2014 after a cancer struggle and complications from a recent heart attack. She will be missed by a very loyal group of fans of "Star Trek", "Twilight Zone", and other shows including "Bewitched", "Hogan's Heroes", and "The Monkees"; she appeared at "Trek" cons - internationally - regularly since 1972, and not long before her death she even attended a "Monkees" convention! For the last decade or so, Arlene appeared at virtually everything Rod Serling or TZ-related around Los Angeles. She was a very talented actress who knew her craft very well. She graduated in 1953 from the Performing Arts High School in New York, which the movie "Fame" was based on. Susan Harrison, her longtime friend and star of TZ's "Five Characters...Exit" was also her classmate. Arlene attended four of the five "Twilight Zone" Conventions, including the two we did in 2002 and 2004. At the 2002 con, someone presented her with a letter that she had written to former boyfriend James Dean. She was deeply moved by this gesture. Like her "Star Trek" role of T'Pring, Arlene did not have many lines in her two TZ episodes, but my God, what an impact she made. She was often asked about her ethnicity. In fact, she was born Jewish but her lineage was African-American (she was featured in "Ebony" magazine in the early 2000s), Asian, and an assorted "Euro mix". Her mother, Molly Sax, worked in showbiz as a production secretary. Arlene's granddaughter, Molly Rose, was named after her. When Arlene's regular work in showbiz stopped in the mid 80s, she turned to writing, and wrote screenplays, including "Whisper into My Good Ear", which was to star the late Maximillian Schell and Max Von Sydov. On a personal note. Arlene was a significant help to me in my career; I worked with her on the "Whisper" project as her assistant for about 6 months and it was quite an experience. During that time, she said, "Whenever I do get up to Heaven, Rod Serling and I are going to sit down and have a nice long talk." I'm sure by now they have, and I hope they have some wonderful plans - and can perhaps throw down a few thunderbolts at Hollywood and get it to shape up! Pictured above with Arlene is her beloved dog Millie, who lived well into her 'teens', and was with Arlene almost everywhere she went. Like her Master, Millie was an exceptional thing.
Ed Nelson, who starred in one of the most unusual TZ episodes, "Valley of the Shadow" in Season 4, passed away on August 9th. Ed had a long and varied career and got many good roles, including the episodes "A Good Imagination" and "The Cheaters" on Boris Karloff's "Thriller". He is best known for his role as Dr. Rossi on "Peyton Place". In 2008, Ed and his friend Dr. Alvin Cotlar released an excellent book on his vast career that a few of us were fortunate to get a free copy of. He moved back to his hometown to the city of Slidell, Louisiana in his later years, and after hurricane Katrina, he relocated to (I believe?) West Virginia and North Carolina, where he passed away. Ed enjoyed a marriage of over 60 years, which produced six children, and carried off a remarkable feat - in 1999 he finished the Bachelor's Degree that he had begun pursuing some five decades earlier, at Tulane University. He was a firm believer in finishing things started, and was a loyal supporter and follower of Tulane's football team!
Farewell, Nancy Malone. She passed away on May 8th at age 79 of complications from leukemia. Of course, the role she played on TZ is the one she will forever be known for - Millie Frazier in "Stopover in a Quiet Town" in the final season, written by Earl Hamner (Earl was Nancy's good friend and colleague for decades and they were neighbors in Studio City, CA.) Nancy moved behind the camera after she had passed her prime as an actress - in her case, a very wise career move that resulted in an Emmy award and many other accolades. She was a network exec as well as a top TV director and also occasionally taught acting seminars. Nancy was kind enough to give us a splendid interview for the Definitive Edition DVDs in 2004 and after having to give regrets for our 2002 and 2004 TZ Conventions (due to being out of the country), she finally made it to the 2009 TZ pseudo-reunion organized by The Hollywood Show. Nancy was an out lesbian long before it was fashionable and societally acceptable. Linda Hope, daughter of Bob Hope, was her longtime partner. Nancy had one of the better female roles on TZ - the character she played, Millie Frazier, was obviously a working professional with a head on her shoulders (momentarily lost when she got bombed at the party in NYC!) as opposed to the sweet, demure ladies featured in so many TZ episodes. Bravo, Nancy. She was also a regular/co-star on the well-known show "The Naked City" around the same time period so already very well-known to the viewing public. Nancy was a very kind and generous person and will be missed greatly.
Mickey Rooney passed away on 6 April, 2014. He was one of the last great old time actors, who stormed the screens in the 30s and 40s as one of the hottest commodities in Hollywood. His career began when he was less than 18 months old and spanned a record-breaking nine decades, ending shortly before his death. Later, he moved into more distinguished roles, which included three noteworthy ones from the pen of Rod Serling. In 1957, Rooney got one of the roles that would define his career - in the Playhouse 90 drama "The Comedian" (written by Rod Serling), he portrayed Sammy Hogarth, a vile and egocentric comedian who destroys everything and everyone in his path. Five or six years later, he appeared in the feature film version of "Requiem for a Heavyweight" (another Rod Serling effort) with Anthony Quinn and Jackie Gleason, and in the season 5 TZ episode written especially for him, "Last Night of a Jockey". Mickey's career was a long ways past its peak by the 60s, and in interviews he did later in life, he made the quip, "Hollywood is now just a memory...and a sign on the side of a hill." That couldn't be more true. We were honored that Mr. Rooney accepted our invitations to attend a few of the Twilight Zone Conventions. He appeared at the 2002 "Stars of the Zone" Convention in Los Angeles and at the 2006 Convention in New Jersey, both with his wife, January (Jan) Chamberlain. Writer George Clayton Johnson says, "I learned most of what I know from Mickey Rooney...and I will never fall out of love with Andy Hardy." At one of the conventions, when George expressed these sentiments to him, he replied, "I did over two-hundred films and that's what you remember me for?!" Needless to say, Mickey Rooney had an extremely full life. A multitude of marriages, about twenty children plus a dozen or more grandchildren, and colleagues who call him "The most talented human being ever, at least when it came to acting." He loved the casinos, loved the booze, loved the women. If there was one adjective to describe him, it was "zesty". Although his later years were fraught with difficulty - elder abuse and so forth - he still was doing what he'd done for, literally, over nine decades - acting. "I like to do everything in what I call 'the key of fun.'"
Ms. Sarah Marshall, known to many for her roles on TZ, Star Trek, Boris Karloff's "Thriller", and a long list of other TV shows, passed away on 18 January. We were honored to have Sarah come for one of the two days of TZ Convention 2004, thanks to her manager, Mr. Chris Roe. Her husband, Karl Held, accompanied her (pictured above). Sarah had a long career that started in the New York theater. Born in England, her parents and she decided that stage and screen work was a better alternative for her than getting a formal education. Sarah's most prolific period was in the 1960s. On TZ, she played Mrs. Ruth Miller in "Little Girl Lost" ('Ruth' was the name of writer Richard Matheson's wife). On Boris Karloff's "Thriller", she appeared twice, in the episode "The Poisoner" opposite Murray Matheson and in "God Grante That She Lye Stille." Sarah was married twice; her second marriage of almost 50 years was to actor Karl Held. Karl and Sarah appeared together on a superb episode of "Perry Mason" wherein she played a wealthy heiress; this was during Karl's brief period playing law student David Gideon, who was also Perry's assistant. They were a very attractive couple!! By the 1980s she had semi-retired but continued to act occasionally in TV and film almost up until the time she passed away. Apparently unfazed by the "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" film a few years ago, the Sarah Marshall we know and admire will most assuredly not be forgotten!
Russell Johnson, who went down in history for three roles - his two on "Twilight Zone" and one on "Gilligan's Island", died on 16 January. Russ was a very nice man and we were delighted that he came back down to Los Angeles for a visit in August 2002 for the first Stars of the Zone Convention. He always said that the two TZ roles were his favorites of any he did. In "Execution", he and the great Albert Salmi had scenes together and did their own stunts when Joe Caswell (Salmi) hits Prof. Manion (Johnson) over the head with a lamp and kills him. In "Back There", he played an engineer who is also a member of a men's club, who travels backwards in time in attempt to stop the assassination of Lincoln. A couple years later, he became The Professor, who happened to be on a three-hour tour aboard the S.S. Minnow, and became a castaway on an island. He didn't work much after that, save for the occasional "Gilligan" reunion on TV. Eventually, he bought a home on Bainbridge Island, Washington on the Puget Sound ("I went from Gilligan's to Bainbridge!"). Russ loved his fans and I believe he was one of the first to charge fans for an autographed 8x10 through the mail. Most fans paid the $10. In his later years, he appeared with his fellow "Gilligan" cast members Bob Denver and Dawn Wells at various conventions. Tina Louise, aka "Ginger", joined them with Gilligan creator Sherwood Schwartz in one of the late seasons of "Roseanne". Russ was married three times, most recently to his wife of over 30 years, Connie. His son David was an AIDS activist and prominent in Los Angeles, who sadly died in 1994. Russ wrote a biography in the late 1990s. He had a great website, designed by Ms. Dreama Denver (daughter of Bob). Although he was not on screen much in later years, he enjoyed the occasional interview about the old days and certainly made his mark in our popular culture.
Joseph "Joe" Ruskin passed away on 28 December, 2013. Joe co-starred in the second season TZ episode "The Man in the Bottle" with Luther Adler and Vivi Janiss, and the next season provided the voice of The Kanamits in "To Serve Man", although it was a long time after the fact before he received credit for the latter. Joe had a magnificent voice that was suited to almost any role. He also played a religious fanatic in Serling's fine "Night Gallery" episode "The Messiah on Mott Street." He had a formidable stage presence and worked a fair amount in theater as well. In the late 2000s he co-starred in "Medea" at a theater in West Hollywood, and continued doing occasional voiceover work in his later years. Joe is very well known, too, for his role in the Star Trek episode "The Gamesters of Triskelion", and is one of only four actors to appear in the original series plus Star Trek: Enterprise 35+ years later. We were honored that Joe attended all of the Los Angeles TZ conventions. He was not a frequent convention-goer. He also interviewed for the Twilight Zone DVDs in 2004 - he gave an excellent interview. Joe was a very intelligent man who knew his craft very well. He worked in showbiz for over 50 years and even in later years, was anxious to keep working. He will be missed!
Kim Hamilton, who played the mother of young Henry Temple, the boy who can make wishes come true in "The Big Tall Wish", passed away on 16 September, 2013. Kim had a most interesting career in Hollywood that lasted, in total, over 50 years. Many also remember her for a one-episode appearance on "All in the Family", in the episode "Lionel's Engagement Party", where she and TZ alum Charles Aidman played the parents of Lionel Jefferson's bride, Jenny Willis. Unfortunately, Kim and Charles were replaced by two other actors who were not nearly as good, likely because neither wanted to commit to a series. Kim was married for several years to Werner Klemperer, Jr., son of the famous Otto von Klemperer, one of the greatest symphonic music directors of the 20th century (Werner also starred on "Hogan's Heroes" alongside Ivan Dixon, her co-star on TZ.) Although uncredited, and with no other lines than a very long sob, Kim played Helen Robinson, wife of Tom Robinson, in "To Kill a Mockingbird" (she appears briefly on the porch after Atticus Finch announces that Tom was killed accidentally.) Kim was married three times; she dated Klemperer for over 20 years and they married several years before his death in 2000. In her later years, Kim had roles on "Law and Order", wherein she played a judge (a role that was very well-suited to her), and "The Practice," and her last credit, perhaps not coincidentally, was on a TV show called "Private Practice" and her character name was Frances - the same name as her character on TZ. This final role came about 5 years prior to her passing.
(1922 - 2013)
William Froug, the last of the "Twilight Zone" producers, passed away on 23 August. He produced most of Season 5, which included many memorable episodes. From "Twilight Zone", he went on to produce "Bewitched" and "Gilligan's Island." Froug was very well-rounded when it came to television - he was not only a producer, but also a fine writer. He wrote best-selling books on screenwriting and also taught at the two Southern California universities (USC and UCLA) and abroad, for many years. His script entitled "Many Many Monkeys" was written in 1963 and was temporarily on the production lineup. I talked to him about this briefly in 2004, when I offered to publish it in my "Gems" series. He didn't think it was a good idea. "I produced some memorable shows that year, but it was good that Many Many Monkeys was not done as part of the original series. It was not a good script." It was, much later, done on "The New Twilight Zone." Mr. Froug had a strained relationship with Rod Serling. He talked about it in an issue of Filmfax magazine in later years. He took over when Bert Granet (producer of half of Season 4 and the first part of Season 5) left the show. Producing the greatest show on TV was no easy task but he did his best with a series that had nearly run its course. His countribution to TZ will always be much-valued.
(1918 - 2013)
Ted Post, one of TV's greatest directors, passed away on 20 August at the age of ninety-five. I was fortunate to be in touch with Ted for a brief couple of years in the mid 2000s, after having been introduced to him by Peter Mark Richman (whom he'd directed four decades earlier in TZ episode "The Fear"). I called him and invited him to the 2004 TZ Convention. I must have talked with him for about an hour. He said it had been a long time since had had talked about anything having to do with Twilight Zone...he also made the remark, "My number is listed in the phone book and so is my address, and I don't have any stalkers, so that tells you how popular I am." He came to the convention and was glad to re-meet many of the actors he'd directed in not only TZ, but other projects. He and producer Del Reisman talked to the audience about working on TZ and Ted, bless him, pulled out a piece of paper with a few thoughts he'd written down beforehand. I can't recall everything he wrote but it was a tribute to Rod, and it ended with "Rod saw the invisible, felt the intangible, and achieved the impossible" [Image Entertainment later used the quote - badly misprinted - on one of their DVD box sets.] After the convention, I connected Ted to some other folks who were doing TZ projects at that time. One was compiling Serling's scripts for publication, and another was putting together something called "Twilight Zone: The Lost Episodes". The latter never got off the ground but Ted's name was attached to it as director. I think he would've been perfect for the job. Ted worked four times on TZ. His involvement with TZ, by rights, should've been much more. He made a splash in Season 1 directing Howard Duff, Eileen Ryan, and Gail Kobe in "A World of Difference" (he re-met Gail at the convention; they worked together on "Peyton Place" later in the 60s...and sad though it is, Ted and Gail passed away just 3 weeks apart.) But then he got busy and couldn't do any more for a few more years.He directed three more episodes in Season 5. "Rod handed me the scripts for "Probe 7, Over and Out", "The Fear", and "Mr. Garrity and the Graves" and said, 'I was tired when I wrote these; please just do your best with them." And he did of course. Ted directed "Gunsmoke", "Bonanza", and many many other shows on TV. He got his start directing summer stock theater and then moved into television and film. His last directorial project was in 1999, with Peter Mark Richman's "4 Faces." One of Ted's greatest achievements was his marriage of 72 years to his wife, Thelma, and their two successful children. He will be missed, but he had a grand, long life! One of his colleagues said, "Ted Post was probably the most prepared director in Hollywood. He chose his sets and actors very carefully and he knew right where his camera was going to be and what it would be doing at all times."
(1929 - 2013)
Actress, director, producer, and executive producer Gail Kobe passed away on 1 August, 2013. She will be missed. For me, Gail's passing is monumental, because she was one of my several favorite talents (of any actor/actress/director/writer) who worked on Twilight Zone. After Ted Post hired her for her brief appearance on the first season episode "A World of Difference," she later got the co-starring roles she really deserved, opposite George Grizzard, in "In His Image" in Season 4 and in "The Self Improvement of Salvadore Ross" opposite Don Gordon. They were Emmy-calibre performances, but her Emmy nom came in an episode of "Dr. Kildare". In all three of her TZ episodes, her acting can be described in two words: First Class. Gail's career began in 1955 in the everlasting DeMille film "The Ten Commandments" and also James Dean's "East of Eden", and lasted over three decades. For the first two, she acted. She was in all the popular dramas and westerns of the day. Many remember her for the nearly four dozen episodes of "Peyton Place" she did in 1965-66. In the early 1970s she moved behind the camera and started producing. She was producer of "The Peoples Court" during its inaugural season in 1981-82, and in the years following, she produced the hit soap operas "The Guiding Light" and "The Bold and the Beautiful" and others. Her birth name was Gabriella Kieliszewski, and she was born in Hamtramck, Michigan on March 19, 1929. One of her pre-Twilight Zone roles, which was intended to be a recurring one, was on "Perry Mason" as Margo, secretary of Paul Drake. The network likely didn't want to have more than one major secretary (Barbara Hale was of course the main 'Della Street'.) In later years, Gail lived in the Rancho Mirage area of Palm Springs, and remained active as director and actress in community theater. Gail was not in the convention-going circuit, and living out in the desert, she was a bit detached from Hollywood. We had trouble finding her! Thanks to Jacqueline "Jacquie" Scott, fellow TZ actress and her close friend, we got in touch with Gail and invited her to the 2004 convention. She said "I'll be there, just let me know where and when." She came and had a great time, and was gracious enough to speak on the actor panel. She mentioned Rod Serling and how much she admired him and about how "truly handsome he was...I didn't really think about his wife or his many children!" About her work on "In His Image," she had very fond memories. "George Grizzard and I had a sympatico...we could answer each other's lines. That's how good our rapport was. I'd seen him in New York in a Broadway play with Hume Cronyn and his acting was just amazing." She also remembered that Henry Slesar, who had written the episode "Salvadore Ross", was a regular writer on "The Edge of Night", which she later produced. Gail was a very nice person, and also a very positive person. She said in 2004, "There was only one actor I worked with who I really did not like. And when you don't like someone, you [should] forget about them!" Great advice, in and out of Hollywood. Here is a link to an interview done with Gail shortly before her death. Unfortunately, she was not in good health at the time and some of the content was affected by it but there is a lot of previously-unpublished information about the great lady we knew.
(1928 - 2013)
Jeanne Cooper, one of the true matriarchs of television, passed away after a brief illness on 8 May, 2013, at age 84. She was an amazing actress and human being. Although she spent nearly half her life, appearing every single weekday as Mrs. Katherine Chancellor-Sterling (oft-known simply as Mrs. C) on "The Young and the Restless" (oft-known simply as Y.R.), Jeanne was truly a sterling actress who had a substantial resume before she hit daytime. One of the roles she valued highly was her TZ appearance opposite Dan Duryea in the first season episode "Mr. Denton on Doomsday." I wrote Jeanne a fan letter many years ago, and sent a photo taken on the set, picturing her, Duryea, Allen Reisner (the episode's director), and Rod Serling. She replied with a letter of her own, something which amazed me, given her frenetic schedule as a soap star. The last sentence of the letter said, "Rod was one of a kind----Genius----." That was in 2001, shortly before I got things underway for TZ Convention #1. I was in touch with someone who knew Jeanne personally, and I asked them to pass along an invitation to her to be a featured guest at the convention. I knew it would be a longshot, and it did not happen...not yet, anyhow. Convention #2 passed, as did the two held on the east coast. I took a chance in 2009...I wrote to Jeanne at her home address, inviting her to attend the 50th Anniversary TZ Reunion, which I'd been hired to help out with. Her son, Corbin [Bernsen, of "L.A. Law" fame, who himself has worked in the biz for 40 years!] replied to the letter. He wrote me an email and said "Give me a call." And I did. He said "I think this event would be good for my mom to do." She'd never done any autograph signing appearances, other than Y.R. fan events. It would be her first. And she came, and had a wonderful time. I had photos printed up for her, several stills from the episode. When she looked at them, she was amazed. She said "Oh my gosh...this is like looking back through a very long time tunnel!", or words to that effect. The event was about to start, and luckily I had a chance to talk with her before the fan flood hit her (and Corbin's) table. I also reminded her about the episode of Boris Karloff's "Thriller" that she starred in, and she said "I had completely forgotten about that!!" A year or so after doing her TZ episode, she was cast in the film "The Intruder", written by Charles Beaumont and starring William Shatner. It was filmed in Missouri. During the nine-year run of "Perry Mason" (TZ's sister show, you might say, as most of the actors who worked on TZ also worked on Perry) Jeanne appeared five times. In 1973, she was cast as affluent once-alcoholic Katherine of (the fictional town of) Genoa City, Wisconsin, on a new soap called "The Young and the Restless." Most of her storylines on the show involved a younger lady named Jill Foster-Abbott, with whom she had an adverse relationship for decades. Jess Walton, who played Jill, was close friends with Jeanne offscreen. Jeanne's last scenes on the show were shot exactly forty years after the premier of the soap opera, and those scenes were televised just days before she passed away. In 2008, Jeanne finally won her first Daytime Emmy, having been nominated for many years before. Of course, Jeanne was also a matriarch on the "Y.R." set. She went out of her way to be a friend to the actors, many of them new in Hollywood, who came onto the show over the years. Hosted by Jess Walton, the Y.R. community of actors gave a very moving tribute to her forty years on the show, which can be found on Youtube. She is survived by her three children and a great number of grandchildren.
(1924 - 2013)
Steve Forrest passed away on 18 May, 2013. A character actor from the early days of television, many people remember him for his role as Lt. Dan Harrelson in the TV series "SWAT" which aired in the mid 70s for a brief season-and-a-half. Born William Forrest Andrews, he was the younger brother of well-known actor Dana Andrews (one of his older siblings...they had eleven brothers and sisters.) Steve had the distinction of appearing in one of the hour-long TZ episodes, "The Parallel", written by Rod Serling, which aired the week following an episode starring Dana, "No Time Like the Past", also written by Serling. While Dana's episode was about time travel, Steve's episode was about a parallel universe, and one of TZ's most original storylines. Steve got a fine leading lady in Jacqueline Scott, in the episode and 40 years later, we were lucky to have "The Parallel" as the number-one represented episode at TZ Convention #1 - Frank Aletter, Paul Comi, and Jacqueline Scott were all there, although I would love to have met Steve. Jacqueline recalled, "I remember I showed up on the set for work that Monday morning and Steve was standing at the opposite end of the room and I looked over at him and said to myself, 'Oh my gosh, we're co-starring in this thing together?! What a hunk! I'm so lucky!'" They both did an excellent job. Steve worked regularly for over four decades in showbiz. He also appeared in a couple other Rod Serling works - "The Yellow Canary", a film co-starring Pat Boone and Barbara Eden in 1963, right around the time he worked on TZ, and later on an episode of "Night Gallery." A WWII veteran, he is also an alumnus of UCLA.
(1933 - 2013)
It is with great sadness that I talk about dear Linden Chiles, who died tragically in an accident at his home on 15 May, 2013, shortly after his eightieth birthday. Linden was a fine actor, who usually played "uptight assholes" in TV and film, for the better part of five decades. But offscreen, he was a very, very ordinary guy. I was introduced to Linden in 2003 by TZ actress Suzanne Lloyd (they were friends.) I went for lunch with him right after I moved to L.A. in early 2004. We talked for a couple hours, and it was a wonderful chat. He'd recently retired from acting. He told me about a terrible experience he'd had a year or so earlier, playing a character on "Frazier." "I said to myself, 'You know what? I don't like this business, I don't need the money, and I don't need to do this anymore. That's where it ended." Like myself, Linden had started his career as a chemist, and was a student at UCLA. He then segued into acting, after an acquaintence-come-friend told him he thought he would be good at it. And he certainly, certainly was. Reportedly, his big break came when director Ted Post (of TZ fame as well) spotted him in a theater production at UCLA and cast him in one of the shows he was directing. I invited Linden to attend the 2004 TZ Convention but he'd already booked a trip to Spain so was unable to attend. He did, however, attend the 2009 50th Anniversary TZ event in Burbank later, and had a great time visiting with some of his old acting buddies. I remember he said to me "Hey Andrew! I just saw Sally Kellerman...I had not seen her in like forever...and she gave me her phone number and told me to give her a call!" Linden had two marriages. He had two sons, one of whom died in a car accident while still in his 20s. Linden had a brief battle with cancer several years before his death, and although I had not talked to him in awhile, I heard he was doing well and still living in the same house up in Old Topanga Canyon. Linden will much be missed and I'm glad I knew him. My favorite childhood movie was "Cloak and Dagger," and Linden had a part in it, as the gruff airport security official (not dissimilar to the ones who now keep our nation safe against terrorist attacks). I must have watched that movie a hundred times. I'm glad that "after I grew up" I had a chance to meet the man who played that character in "Cloak and Dagger" and find out that he was a really nice man.
(1926 - 2013)
Christine White, who co-starred in the TZ superclassic "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" opposite William Shatner, passed away on 14 April, 2013. She had long since retired from the biz. Her last role on TV was in a 1976 TV movie about James Dean, who was her close friend. 20 years prior to that, she appeared in Robert Altman's biographical film "The James Dean Story," wherein she appeared in a segment discussing the Actor's Studio, which she and Dean were a part of. She was a splendid talent and for about fifteen years, was a favorite of casting directors. She had a memorable role in Boris Karloff's "Thriller", opposite TZ alum Constance Ford. I shouldn't neglect her other TZ episode, "The Prime Mover", where she played Kitty, love interest of Ace Larsen (played by Dane Clark.) Both roles were right up her alley and demonstrated her substantial acting range; she played an intelligent mother of two and a sort of 'rock of Gibraltar' to her mentally unstable husband (Shatner) and as poor-but-intelligent waitress who refuses to marry the man she loves until he kicks his gambling habit. Ms. White was an educated performer, having earned a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in speech communication. It is surprising that her career ended prematurely, but it was likely by choice. She lived most of her life in Washington, D.C. According to records, she never married. Surprisingly, William Shatner took a moment to acknowledge her death on Twitter.
(1925 - 2012)
Patricia Donahue, who played one of TZ's most bitchiest of characters (or perhaps the bitchiest!), passed away on 11 June, 2012. Her death was not made public until recently. In the first season episode "A Stop at Willoughby", she portrayed Janie, the wife of Gart Williams (played by James Daly.) She loves his salary as a top advertising agency exec...and that's where her sympathies end! She did a lot of early television, and worked very regularly for three decades, from the mid 1950s with shows such as "Death Valley Days", "Perry Mason", "Bat Masterson", "Richard Diamond Private Detective", and many more. She was excellent in roles of the type that she played on TZ - sexy, well-to-do society women whose badge of status was earned by none other than their hard-working husbands or sizeable inheritances. Ms. Donahue's last work was on "General Hospital" in the mid 1980s. She was born Patricia Mahar in 1925 in New York City. Her son, Jerry, commented after his mother's passing that "When I was growing up, it always felt weird to me, watching her on the screen acting like someone totally opposite to the person she actually was."
(1918 - 2013)
Maxine Stuart passed away of natural causes on 6 June, 2013, just three weeks shy of her 95thbirthday. Her role as bandage-covered Janet Tyler in "Eye of the Beholder" may very well be the most famous in the series, second only to Burgess Meredith's in "Time Enough at Last." She also holds the distinction of being the only actor, or actress, to star in an episode of the show, whose face is never seen. Maxine's career was a long and distinguished one, although she was already over-the-hill, well into her 40s, by the time she started working regularly in Hollywood and she also worked in real estate for a brief time after moving out west. Like many character actors, she had the acting chops but outside of loyal TZ watchers, she wasn't generally known to the public. She had a remarkably good voice that lent itself well to many roles, with a trace of a lisp. It was of course her voice which led director Douglas Heyes to cast her in that oh so famous TZ episode. The more she worked, the better the roles, including a rather sizeable one in the early 90s on "The Young and the Restless", opposite veteran actor Parley Baer. The two of them did several online chat sessions in the early days of the internet (I remember seeing the transcripts and was amazed!) Many also remember her for the chain-smoking piano teacher of Kevin Arnold in an Emmy-nominated performance on "The Wonder Years" in 1989. She began her career in New York in the theater, and studied in the Actors' Studio, of which she was a member throughout her life. She retired in 2003, at the age of 85. Born Maxine Shlivek in New Jersey, she felt the name 'Stuart' was more suitable to her career as an actress. She had two marriages, the first to actor Frank Maxwell, who himself appeared as the movie director in TZ's "A World of Difference". They had a daughter, Chris Ann. She later married David Shaw, a Tony-award winning writer. Maxine always greatly appreciated her fans, and she was scheduled to speak on the Actor Panel at our 2004 Stars of the Zone Convention. Due to health issues, however, she had to decline a few days beforehand. My friend Gary, a former Hollywood agent now living in Kansas, went to Maxine's Beverly Hills home the year before she died and she very kindly signed a few posters and photos for him. She was impressed by his devotion to TZ.
(1926 - 2013)
Richard Matheson, the last of the four major writers on "The Twilight Zone", passed away on 23 June at the age of 87. He penned thirteen scripts for the show, second only to Serling and Charles Beaumont (who wrote 22). Of the 13, "The Invaders" starring Agnes Moorehead remains the most popular, although it was never one that Richard himself liked, despite the accolades that it got after it first aired, and which have continued. His work on the series started strong and only got stronger. His first entry was "The Last Flight" (originally called "Flight"), about a World War I Lieutenant caught in a time warp who mysteriously lands in 1959, and is able to travel backwards in time in order to save the life of a fellow officer who was trapped in a circle of German aircraft. His two short stories "And When the Sky Was Opened" and "Third From the Sun" (teleplays written by Serling), also broadcast in the first season and stand with the finest in the series. Another high point came with the hour-long episode "Death Ship" in Season 4 (starring Jack Klugman, Ross Martin, Frederick Beir), taken from his short story of the same title. In Season 5, the show's last, he wrote "Night Call", starring Gladys Cooper, which has gone on to be known as one of the scariest in the TZ anthology. And of course, during the final season there was "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" starring a certain pre-"Star Trek" actor called Shatner, which cemented Matheson's place in showbiz as a major sci-fi screenwriter. Rod Serling was a great admirer of Matheson, and according to writer George Clayton Johnson, "Before TZ even got started, Rod knew that he needed help. Richard was one of the first guys he called." Matheson's post-TZ career needs no recap. But like most writers in town, he started slowly. In one interview, he stated, "A friend asked me, 'How long are you going to give yourself in Hollywood before you come back home?' 'Five years,' I replied." Needless to say, he never had to go back home. In June 1984, in his Foreword to the book "The Twilight Zone: The Original Stories", Matheson said, "...in all writing media - stage, screen, television, and the printed word - the story is all. If, when I move on, I am remembered as a good storyteller, my soul will be content."
The legendary comedian Jonathan Winters passed away on 11 April after an extended illness. Despite his long and distinguished career (Robin Williams called him "The Buddha" of comedy), most people living today know him primarily for his appearances in Doritos commercials in the 1990s. He is also remembered, of course, for one of the very few serious roles he played as Fats Brown in TZ's "A Game of Pool". His co-star, Jack Klugman, predeceased him by just 4 months. During the 1980s, he had a long run as the voice of Papa Smurf on "The Smurfs", and was brought back to reprise the role on the Smurfs movies (2011, 2013). Jonathan was invited, and accepted, invitations to our 2002 and 2004 TZ Conventions, but both times had to cancel due to illness. He did, however, appear every few years or so at other autograph events around Los Angeles. His wife of 60 years, Eileen, died in 2009, and two children survive him. He appeared in over 50 films over his 65 year career, and was certainly one of the last of the great old time comics.
(1927 - 2012)
Gloria Pall passed away peacefully on 30 December after about six weeks of illness. As most TZ fans know, she played the girl at the bar in "And When the Sky Was Opened", opposite Rod Taylor in 1959. In one of my first conversations with her about her Twilight Zone experience, she said, "Working with Rod Taylor, who was one of the hottest stars on the screen at that time, was fun. I haven't seen him since then [she later did re-meet him in 2002]. Rod Serling, who was very nice, was around for some of it, and it was either he or the director who changed the scene in the bar. I was the 'head girl' at a table with a few other girls originally, and then they moved me up to the bar and gave me that part. Those two lines, 'Say um, what's it like up there in outer space?' and 'Ya got a beer here, honey' were catchy. I'm always happy to hear from people who remember me for that part - oddly enough, they gave me billing in TV Guide, but not in the credits at the end of that show." In 2004, Gloria and a small group of friends celebrated the 50th anniversary of her TV show, "Voluptua," which ran for 7 weeks in 1954, with a dinner at The Sportsmen's Lodge. Although very few people remember Gloria for her role as the temptress Voluptua who was called 'too torrid for TV', they remember her for her parts as 'the sultry dancer' in "Night of the Hunter", "The Crimson Kimono", and of course, "Jailhouse Rock." She and Elvis became pals.
Gloria is survived by her son, Jefferson, an accountant. She had two marriages; the first was in 1957-58 to actor Robert Eaton (who played one of the enormous astronauts at the end of TZ episode "The Little People") and the second was to Allen Kane, owner of a Ford dealership, from 1965-1983. The Kanes bought one of O.J. and Marguerite Simpson's Los Angeles homes in 1978. "It was in Bel Air, on Elvill Drive...which proved to be a very fitting street name. Never in my life had I seen, or would I ever see again, a home that was so rampaged, smashed, and trashed...[the previous occupant] was obviously deeply emotionally disturbed. We fixed it up, lived in it for a year or so, and then sold it." She wrote 15 short books about her career in Hollywood, including one about the purchase and sale of OJ's home. She had plans to do a few more. She also wrote her autobiography, extracts of which I someday hope to publish in her biography. In reading over some excerpts of her autobiography a few years ago, I realized just how *much* Gloria did in her life. Born in New York and spending her formative years in the depths of the post-1929 depression, she developed a toughness and strength of character that served her well when she headed for the soundstages of Los Angeles in 1951. She used to go around and entertain her neighbors, as a little girl, and would get a few pennies for her fine performances. She never completely lost her New York accent. There was always a trace of it. I will also share another little-known fact about Gloria - she knew how to act. She called herself a 'cameo queen' because she had so many bit parts, but she was lucky enough to get a few really good roles on such shows as "The Ray Bolger Show" and "People's Choice" (with Jackie Cooper). Like many actors in this town, she lacked a good agent to get her in the know with casting directors. "Twilight Zone was one of the last things I did on screen - I did a few things after it, but I ended my SAG [Screen Actors Guild] membership in 1962." She went on to a career in real estate, and her clientele included some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including a number of TZ actors - James Best and Albert Salmi among them.
I first met Gloria in 2001. My old TZ friend Jeff Zentner told me of Gloria's whereabouts, as he'd ordered an autographed TZ photo from her website and they'd also talked by phone. I asked Jeff, "HOW did you find her? And why? Her part on TZ was so small, she only had two lines." He said, "She's really nice. Order a photo from her, she'll be grateful to you." And I did. That was in February, 2001. We exchanged an email and that was it, until shortly after 9/11, when preparations for the first TZ convention got underway, and I connected her to Steve Charendoff at Rittenhouse Archives to sign the trading cards. She felt honored - and I do mean honored - to sign those cards, let me tell you. We hit it off. Her birthday was on July 15th, and mine was on the 12th, forty-nine years apart. She was so easy to talk to - she was a great listener, and she was very interested in me. She admitted that she had a hard time staying organized, and I was no better. We had some very long conversations by phone in those early days of our friendship. She asked me, "So who else is coming to the convention? I haven't done an autograph show in years." And I named some names. She then started naming off some people whom she knew, and asked if they ever did TZ episodes. Among the names were Edson Stroll, Read Morgan, Camille Franklin, Earl Holliman, plus some I'd already talked to, and quite a few much-more-famous people including Ernest Borgnine and Angie Dickinson and Carol Channing. And I said, "Oh my gosh, you *know* Edson Stroll? Do you know how many people would like to meet him?!" They were old modeling buddies; she met him in New York in 1948. She called Edson the next day, but he was not available to attend the convention that particular weekend because he was working (Edson did of course attend the 2004 convention later.) She went to great lengths to get Earl Holliman to attend. I was very touched when she told me that she drove to his house, about a quarter-mile from her home, and rang the bell at the gate. He was apparently friendly - (they'd worked together on the pilot for the series "Hotel de Paree" in the 50s) but declined. Read and Camille were delighted to be invited; Read is a very nice man, and I remain friends with Camille. When the convention rolled around in August 2002, I of course went and introduced myself to Gloria - it was our first face-to-face meeting, which was brief because I was so busy. When I shook her hand, she said, "Your parents must be very proud of you for pulling off this weekend." A week after it was over and I was back in Oregon, she emailed me a thank-you for the good time she had at the convention, and again mentioned how glad she was to sign the trading cards, and "If you ever need a favor sometime, just call me."
And I did call her. I didn't talk to Gloria much for the next year or so, during which time I moved to Los Angeles, where of course she lived. I was planning TZ Convention #2, and I called her to say hi and invite her. She said, "Let's get together and talk." and I said "Great, how 'bout at the Garland Holiday Inn?" She said "Perfect, I live only a mile from there, we can meet at the coffee shop." We met, and had a great time catching up. I told her about the living situation I was in at the time, which was far from ideal. I could never have predicted what was to happen next. She called me back, a few days later, just in the nick of time, telling me that she had a place for me to move into, for (gasp) only two-hundred dollars a month. It was a vacant guest house in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles, owned by one of her old friends. Although the rent increased modestly as time went by, I lived there for five years - and saved a lot of money. What a way to return a favor! I was very touched when, a couple months later, she invited me to celebrate our birthdays together at The Odyssey, a restaurant in the hills of Burbank with a number of her friends. Gloria also introduced me to the Book Publicists of Southern California organization, which has meetings every other month at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City. I started going to all of the meetings and met many interesting people. I ended up selling some copies of my "Forgotten Gems from TZ" script books, thanks to the free advertising they allow at the meetings. Gloria and Jefferson were the first to tell me about a new website called Craigslist in 2004. On the Friday night before our second TZ Convention, they placed an ad on Craigslist, telling everyone to come.
The world feels that much emptier without Gloria. Her legacy was that she always put others first - to the point where she sometimes said, "I sure wish there were more generous people in the world. I could use a hand sometimes too!" Although she liked the glamor and the glitz of Hollywood, she was about as un-Hollywood as could be imagined when it came to relating to people. She was honest and ethical. I seriously doubt she ever told a lie - untruth and superficiality were not part of her. She was a quiet person, but not shy, and never selfish. She was genuinely interested in everyone she encountered. She appreciated it when you did something for her and she lacked the sense of entitlement that is common to most people who have worked in, or around, showbiz.
She was one of my closest friends and was so instrumental to me on my path in life and I'll always be grateful to her. I last spoke with her several weeks before she "went off to The Twilight Zone" (those were the words she used on a couple occasions, to describe her eventual passing.) Instinctively, I knew she wasn't long for this world but I didn't want to accept it. I will always cherish the time we had together for eleven years. I saw her for the last time this past summer at yet another Book Publicists meeting. Then I got busy and a few months went by, and her health suddenly failed. She narrowly missed the 2013 Twilight Zone New Years Eve marathon, but now she's forever immortalized in the landscape, right along with Rod and the rest of them. Oh...the marathons. Gloria loved those "Twilight Zone" marathons (4th of July and New Years Eve) just as much as anyone. She'd be watching it at home and would call me and say, "Andrew, my episode is on TV right now. I just watched the one with Theo Bikel...that was a funny one. And that part that Barbara Nichols did should've been mine! I could've done it even better."
So, now I have to conclude this and say a final farewell to you, Gloria. It was always a pleasure saying "Oh hi, Gloria" whenever you called me - I'd look at the caller ID and there was your name. And we were both flip-phone users, haha. To me, you'll always be Gloria the Great. Until we meet again, in the Twilight Zone. Love, Andrew
Gloria at a local autograph show, at Beverly Garland's Holiday Inn, 2005
Jack Klugman, one of the finest actors who ever lived, departed our world on Christmas Eve, 2012. Jack loved his fans, and often said that Rod Serling's work was the best, or among the best, that he did in his career. In the early 1980s, Klugman was the host for the video release of "Requiem for a Heavyweight", which starred Jack Palance, Kim Hunter, Keenan Wynn and Ed Wynn. He talked of the golden age of live television, and talked of how the 1950s was a very exciting time in the world, in part due to the new medium of TV. He has been called "a chameleon of an actor", and no other words describe his abilities better. He, literally, could play any part. He did comedy as well as he did drama, and he did everything in between just as well. Jack was hired for starring roles in four episodes of "Twilight Zone", making him a semi-regular on the show. However, Jack's Twilight Zone roles are generally not as remembered as is his "Odd Couple" work with his dearest friend, Tony Randall. About 10 years ago, Jack wrote a touching but short memoir called "Tony and Me", about his friendship with Randall. Jack Klugman's passing marks the end of an era, and his work will always be held in highest regard. He was truly one of a kind.
(1923 - 2012)
The great William Windom passed away on 16 August. He was one of the greatest TV actors working in Hollywood for over four decades and and one of the most familiar faces on TV. He semi-retired from on-camera work right around Y2K but continued to work until about five years before he passed away. He also did a fair amount of voiceover work, especially in his later years, having been endowed with a unique baritone voice. Most people out there will remember him for his part in "To Kill a Mockingbird" - he played district attorney Gilmer in the harrowing courtroom scene, wherein Atticus Finch unsuccessfully defends Tom Robinson. Amazingly, we had both Mary Badham (Scout) and Bill in the same room on two occasions, at our Stars of the Zone Conventions in 2002 and 2004. In a conversation with Bill by phone in December 2001, he mentioned that he'd just been out for lunch with Kevin McCarthy and said, "Kevin mentioned this Twilight Zone thing you're doing and if he's doing it, I'll be there too." Obviously, he thought enough of TZ and Rod to attend. It seemed that every performance that Bill did was better than the last. He really was 'that good' of an actor. He had a short but amazing part on an early episode of "All in the Family" in 1971 - one of his lesser-known roles - where he played one of Archie's old buddies who went on to become wealthy; he comes into town, in attempt to reunite with his estranged son and his son refuses to see him. The year before that, he took home an Emmy for the sadly short-lived series "My World and Welcome To It", which fell victim to bad network timeslot and was cancelled after only a single season. Around the same time, he did one of his favorite roles, Randolph Kelly in Rod Serling's "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar" on Night Gallery. On TZ, Bill was cast in two excellent parts, as the frustrated army major in "Five Characters in Search of an Exit", one of TZ's unofficial Christmas episodes, and also as Dr. Wallman, the psychiatrist in "Miniature", with Robert Duvall. A long time later, Bill's virtuosity in the former episode became immortalized in the opening sequence of the Columbia House versions of TZ. His line "Who are we?!!!", one of the most memorable in the series, delivered so splendidly, is heard amongst a handful of others. Bill transitioned well into his later years of acting and gained another set of fans when he played Dr. Seth Hazlett on "Murder She Wrote" in the 80s. The photo I have used above for Bill was from "Star Trek", but it's such a great shot that seems to summarize William Windom, the man and artist. Married five times, Bill's three daughters, a son, and his wife of 37 years, Patricia, survive him. Rest in eternal comfort, Bill. You were one of the great ones.
"WHO ARE WE?!!!"
* * *
(1925 - 2012)
Distinguished Television Director Emeritus John Rich passed away on 29 January at the age of 86. I use that title for Mr. Rich because he certainly deserved it; he was one of the greatest to work behind the camera - or, beside the camera. I had the good fortune to meet him, thanks to his old college chum Irwin Zucker, at a 2006 meeting of The Book Publicists of Southern California. When I mentioned that I liked all his work, and then threw in a mention of "your two Twilight Zone" episodes, he suddenly looked right at me and said "How did *you* know I directed Twilight Zone?!" I guess I didn't look old enough. John's book, "Warm Up the Snake", had just been released, and I recommend the book heartily to anyone who watches old television. To learn more about John's humble beginnings and his travels along Hollywood Road, please do get a copy of his book. As John's genius was principally in the area of comedy, he was not a frequent director on TZ and actually, it's a miracle he directed any episodes. At the time, he was heavily into his chores on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Bat Masterson" and numerous others. John was not a laid-back director, he participated in the production process fully. His actors had to be willing to take his direction and a few actors have made mention of his demanding style. His direction often went far beyond what was on the printed page, the foremost example being the kiss that Sammy Davis gives Archie Bunker. In 1970, Mary Tyler Moore invited John to direct her show on CBS. Thankfully, John passed on it and chose "All in the Family", which was, he felt, going to take television by storm with its groundbreaking material. It was the best decision he ever could have made and for three years, he was the show's house director. As far as "Twilight Zone", well, John's two episodes ("A Most Unusual Camera" and "A Kind of Stopwatch") were entertaining but forgettable, no doubt due to the average storylines of Rod Serling. Mr. Rich's accolades and awards were plentiful and his work will forever be valued and appreciated. Upon his retirement in Y2K, he gained new status as a historical figure and has not been forgotten around town. In his book, he tells a story where he went to meet with some much-younger executives for a directorial job in the late 90s. He didn't get the job, but as he was leaving the office suite, one of them extended his hand and said, "...I'm shaking hands with a legend."
(1919 - 2012)
Phyllis Thaxter passed away on 14 August, 2012. She's best known as Superman's mother, a very small part in a very big picture, but she started working in showbiz in the 40s, appearing in scores of old movies, and then she worked her way into TV. Her marriage to CBS president Jim Aubrey, who was in command during much of the run of "Twilight Zone" (and was the driving force behind moving TZ to videotape, arguably a very bad decision), concidentally, ended right around the time she worked on TZ in the episode "Young Man's Fancy." She played a very good role in it, opposite Alex Nicol, as Virginia Lane-Walker-Lane, in one of the shortest marriages in TV history! After divorcing Aubrey, she quickly remarried and had another very long marriage of over 45 years. She only appeared a few more times on screen after playing Ma Kent in 1978, preferring a quiet life on the east coast.
(1917 - 2012)
R.G. Armstrong, distinguished character actor, passed away after a good, long life, at the age of 95 on 27 July. You can find R.G. in, literally, loads of TV episodes, where he played a lot of heavies and backwoods characters. One of his college chums was Andy Griffith, and it was only fitting that R.G. guested once or twice on Andy's show sometime later. Born in Alabama, he got into acting during his college years at the University of North Carolina, and also got into playwriting. He also attended the Actor's Studio for some time. Upon working his way west to Los Angeles in the early 1950s, he did his first film, "Garden of Eden" in 1954, and then made his home in television. Although he played his fair share of backwoods roughnecks, he could also be found in sensitive roles, like the one he did on TZ's "Nothing in the Dark". He retired from the screen in the 90s, and one of his last film roles was of course 'Pruneface' in "Dick Tracy." Four children survive him.
(1919 - 2012)
Doris Singleton, aka Carolyn/Lillian Appleby, passed away of natural causes on 26 June. I mention Doris's "I Love Lucy" credit first because she's now immortalized as Mrs. Appleby, who was a longtime friend-slash-adversary of Lucy Ricardo. Doris played the role to a T and she was so good in it that the writers brought her back for many more episodes, including the famous Harpo Marx episode, done when The Ricardos go to Hollywood. Doris did a lot of television - being a "Perry Mason" fan myself, I always look forward to seeing the episodes Doris was in. On TZ, of course, she was the bitchy secretary who loathes McNulty (played by Richard Erdman) in "A Kind of Stopwatch". John Rich, director, hired her for the part; Doris was a semi-regular on "The Dick Van Dyke Show", which Rich was then directing. Doris essayed an interesting character on an early episode of "All in the Family" (again directed by John Rich) some years later, Mrs. Stonehurst, who shares a room with Edith (Jean Stapleton) when Edith hangs the jury. Doris was a very nice lady and I'm glad I crossed paths with her and got her onboard for signing the TZ trading cards. She lived a long and good 92 years and was always very generous to her fans. She wisely avoided the convention circuit but did participate in one or two of the big Lucy-related conventions around the time of the 50th anniversary of that show, and gave many interviews over the years.
(1919 - 2012)
Warren Stevens, who had the starring role as Nate Bledsoe (and who assumes the soul of a gangster) in "Dead Man's Shoes", passed away on 27 March at the age of 92. We were honored to have Warren at the two Los Angeles TZ cons, and he attended one of the ones held in New Jersey as well. He was a very kind man and we'll miss him. He was born in Pennsylvania and joined the armed forces at the young age of 17, then got into acting in the mid 40s and was accepted into the Actor's Studio. His first performances came with the live Actor's Studio broadcasts of 1948-49. He went on to appear on all the staple TV shows back in the 50s and 60s, as well as in films. Most people know him for his role in the cult classic "Forbidden Planet" alongside a number of other TZ alums. Warren infrequently attended scifi conventions and was always very kind to his fans. He semi-retired from acting in the early 80s but worked occasionally as the roles came his way. In the mid 80s he was privileged to return to TZ for the episode "A Day in Beaumont" (said Beaumont of course being a nod to the late TZ writer). Warren was very close friends with Doris Roberts and they appeared together in public at various events around town in recent years. Warren is survived by wife and three sons.
(1928 - 2012)
George Lindsey passed away on 6 May after a brief illness. Everyone of course will remember George as Goober Pyle, cousin of Gomer, but a few know him for another part he played - a complete 180 of Goober. On TZ, he portrayed Deputy Pierce, a lowlife scum of a cop in "I Am the Night - Color Me Black" right near the end of TZ's run. He always said that he enjoyed this role a lot, as it was a complete departure from Goober and other comedic characters that he was doing at the time, and continued to do. George made appearances in public with Don Knotts and other members of the "Andy Griffith Show" cast infrequently over the years. Of his work on "The Andy Griffith Show" and working with (then young) Ron Howard, he said, "We call him Mr. Howard now." Born in Alabama, George got a formal education before starting his acting career. He received a bachelor's degree and for a very brief time, was a schoolteacher before moving into the theater in New York, and then moving to L.A. to begin his TV career.
(1930 - 2012)
George Murdock passed away on 30 April. He was known of course for his one-line part in TZ's "The Dummy", playing the human version of Willie the dummy at the very end of Serling's miraculous episode starring Cliff Robertson. This was his first role, ever, on screen. He had a long and varied career, appearing on scores of TV shows, and he seemed to get a lot of roles playing judges. George was slated to attend our two Los Angeles TZ conventions but unfortunately he couldn't attend them, as he had other engagements that came up at the last minute.
(1949 - 2011)
With sadness, I relate that Susan Gordon passed away on 11 December, 2011 after a cancer struggle. She was a treasure. Susan was the daughter of Bert I. Gordon, famed director known as "Mr. BIG", and Flora Lang, a production manager who worked on numerous TV movies and movies of the week, and for 5 years on "Dynasty", as well as Susan's on-set guardian for all of her work. Susan's first showbiz experience came in 1958 with her father Bert's "Attack of the Puppet People" when she replaced another young actress. TV and more films followed, including of course, "The Fugitive" episode of TZ where she played Jenny, the crippled niece of Mrs. Gann (played by Nancy Kulp), who runs away with Old Ben (J. Pat O'Malley) to another world. She always held that role in high regard. In late 2001, I got in touch with Susan. She'd just begun doing autograph/memorabilia events and conventions after 35 years away from the entertainment world. I invited her to our Stars of the Zone Convention scheduled for the following August and she said she'd be there. And she was, and she added a great deal to the event, speaking on a panel with Ben Cooper, and directors Elliot Silverstein and James Sheldon - she and Sheldon worked together, although not on "Twilight Zone", and were amazed to see each other again after a long time. She also reunited with a number of other actors, including H.M. Wynant, with whom she'd worked on "Route 66." On the panel discussion, she shared that although she loved the part of Jenny on TZ, she never got to meet Rod Serling - she became ill for a brief time on the set and was being carried off on a stretcher just as Rod was coming in. She never quite got over that. As soon as she reached legal age, she wisely broke out of Hollywood to pursue an uninterrupted college education and to start a family and career. She was Chief Information Officer for a corporation for over 20 years. Susan lived in Japan for 13 years, and even though she didn't act in Hollywood ever again, she did continue to act throughout her life in community theater. "The desire to act never leaves you," she said. She met her husband-to-be, and returned to the US, settling in New Jersey. Her marriage produced six wonderful children and she often said that her children were her greatest accomplishments. Susan attended our second TZ Convention in 2004, at which point she discussed with Herman Darvick the possibility of doing a TZ convention in the New York/New Jersey area. Herman organized it, and Susan of course was the first on the guest list. Although she lived 15 minutes away, she stayed at the hotel because she wanted to get the full Twilight Zone experience. I will never forget seeing her in the late hours of the evening, sitting with her fans along with Mary Badham and writer George Clayton Johnson, discussing the legacy of TZ, and the old days of TV and film. Susan's interests were many and varied. She loved popular music, and computer animation was one of her hobbies. She was soft-spoken and intelligent. When you talked to Susan, you could always tell that she genuinely cared - everyone was important to her. She was always appreciative of others' efforts. I will miss her, and will always be glad I knew her. Her parents, two sisters, six children and husband, and a legion of fans and friends, survive her. Please see her website for details on Susan's life and career.
Patricia Breslin - later known principally as Pat Modell - who co-starred in "Nick of Time" and "No Time Like the Past" - two TZ stories involving the theme of time - passed away on 12 October. In her 20 year career as an actress which began in 1949, she appeared in numerous live TV shows and early television. Her first marriage was to David Orrick McDearmon, who directed the TZ episodes "Back There" and "Execution" (starring Russell Johnson) and "A Thing About Machines." Her early life included earning a bachelor's degree in Psychology. In the mid and late 60s, Ms. Breslin had regular roles on "General Hospital", and "Peyton's Place." In 1969, she retired from acting after marrying far upwards - to Arthur Modell, owner of the Baltimore Ravens football team. Two sons from her first marriage assumed Modell's surname. After leaving Hollywood and moving back east, she remained very active in philanthropy and civic affairs. She and husband Modell underwrote numerous artistic and other organizations, and the Lyric Opera House in Maryland was re-named after them. It has been said that Ms. Breslin, at one point, appeared in more TV shows than any other woman except for Lucille Ball, who was one of her close friends. I had the brief honor of getting a voicemail from Modell in August 2009. I'd inivted her to the 50th Anniversary Twilight Zone event. She called to relay her regrets, that she would not be in California at that time but wished the events well, as her two "Twilight Zone" performances were high points of her career. She is survived by Mr. Modell, two sons, plus six grandchildren.
(1923 - 2011)
The great actor of stage and screen, our special friend Cliff, passed away on 10 September. Although his two "Twilight Zone" performances were among his very best work, his fans and colleagues will remember his career as a whole - and it was a glorious one. It was a privilege and honor for us, in 2002, when he accepted the invitation to appear at our first Stars of the Zone Convention. I got in touch with his secretary, Evelyn, and told her what we were doing. She said she'd relay the details to him and see if he was available and interested. And thankfully, he was - both. (Incidentally, Evelyn stalwartly served Cliff for over 50 years, from the very earliest days of his career, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to her.) I think Cliff accepted the invitation because he truly cherished Rod Serling and the kind of show that "Twilight Zone" was. Although he valued his fans, he did not appear in public in such a capacity a great many times. He came to the event, needless to say, and certainly put the icing on it and made an indelible impression on all who met him. He freely signed autographs for most of the day and took an hour off to speak on the panel of actors - and amazed everyone in the audience when he related his stories about flying is twin-engine Beach Baron plane over the World Trade Center just after it was tragically decimated on 9/11, and how he was forced to vector in to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he remained "hermetically cocooned" for three days. He also related another flight story - which he'd never spoken about in public before - when in 1962 he was hired once again to act on "Twilight Zone" in episode "The Dummy." He was to fly out to Los Angeles from his New York home on American Airlines on such-and-such a date. He was ordered to be in Los Angeles on Monday, and the flight departed on time...without him. He'd called and cancelled it because he wasn't on the schedule until five days into the production. Minutes after the flight took off, the chief pilot had a heart attack and everyone onboard was killed. Think about that for a moment. Needless to say, Cliff's career needs no review, it speaks for itself. He was one of the greatest.
My dear friend Edson Stroll passed away on 18 July, 2011 after a short cancer battle. I was fortunate to know him, and met him through Gloria Pall. Gloria and Edson, and also Read Morgan - all TZ'ers - were New York models in the late forties, and eventually moved out west. Edson started working in television in 1958 on the series "How To Marry A Millionaire". In 1960, he landed the role of a lifetime - a small but significant one - as Mr. Walter Smith in "Eye of the Beholder", at which time he met Rod Serling. "I met Rod then," Edson said, "and I was in touch with him right up until the end of his life. He wanted me to do more [shows] for him later, but somehow that didn't quite materialize. I respected him immensely. I did "The Trade Ins" not long after that; and until recently, I thought they brought Donna [Douglas] back for it too and that was her with me in the display case! Rod told me many times that "The Trade Ins" was his favorite TV script." I first met with Edson in the spring of 2004, right after I moved to L.A. At the time, I'd been hired by Rittenhouse Archives to round up actors to sign the trading cards, and was working on the second Stars of the Zone Convention. I went out to Edson's place in the Marina (where he lived from the early 1970s onwards), he showed me his yacht and took me for lunch at the nearby Cheesecake Factory. He introduced himself and me to the waitress, "My name is Edson and this is Andrew, Producer of The Twilight Zone." I had to laugh at that! I told him of the two projects, and after my giving him the details of both, he very nicely said he wasn't interested in signing cards or appearing in public in such a capacity. Three weeks later, he called me and said, "Andrew, I've thought about it some more - count me in on both. I'll be at the convention and will sign the cards." He came to the convention and was a hit. Four or five people flew in specifically to see him (one them emailed and said, "If there's any doubt about Edson being there, let me know now because I won't book the flight and hotel if he's not coming.") He'd never really done fan mail or signed photos so it was great for him to do so and he met many who loved his roles in "McHale's Navy" and "Snow White and the Three Stooges". In 2009, he attended the 50th Anniversary TZ event in Burbank, and once again, was happy to meet his followers. At the same event, he also caught up with his colleague Stan Freberg, whose work he always admired. After "McHale's Navy" ended in 1966, his work on camera greatly lessened but he went on to a long period of even greater productivity. I asked him about this and he told me a few details, which out of respect to Edson, I won't relate here, but they related to the atrocity of the "studios"; they didn't do justice to him, that's for sure. But there was much more to Edson than his old TV appearances; among Edson's many talents was his voice. He was a singer from an early age and had an incredible set of pipes that were as good as any of the Three Tenors. He sang at weddings and funerals and all kinds of events. He once told me a story of how he once sang at a wedding and the person who was supposed to pay him ran out of money. The fee was 300 dollars. So, they passed a hat around to take up the collection of the fee. By the end of the evening, there was nearly 1,200 dollars for Edson; that's how good his voice was. Edson was also a master of diction, which led to his part-time career as a dialogue coach and doing numerous radio commercials for Eastman Kodak (the photo above is from a Kodak ad) and many other large and small corporations. If I'm not mistaken, he even coached Cuba Gooding, Jr.! He also had a career as an environmental inspector and was an EPA-certified inspector. Edson and his wife Anita were dog lovers and had a pair of Yorkies, one of which was named Eddie! I will miss Edson, who was a truly kind and gentle and generous soul, and I'll miss hearing his dead-ringer imitations of James Mason and Gregory Peck (amongst others.) He will live forever through his memorable work in the world of entertainment.
The distinguished actor Peter Falk, whom a few remember for his "Twilight Zone" appearance in Serling's "The Mirror" as Castroesque character Ramos Clemente, died on 24 June, 2011 in his home in Beverly Hills. He is survived by his second wife, and two daughters from his first marriage.
Jackie Cooper, legendary silver screen star and later director and producer, passed away on 3 May. Although he had been in retirement since the late 80s, he occasionally made public appearances and many of us were fortunate to meet him at The Hollywood Show in October 2009, where he appeared as part of the Twilight Zone 50th Anniversary gathering of actors and signed autographs, donating the funds earned to the Motion Picture Retirement Home (thanks to BarBara Luna for getting him to appear.) Mr. Cooper began his career in the late 20s and early 30s when he appeared in the ultra popular "Our Gang"/"The Little Rascals" series, and he then began his work in film, appearing in "Boys' Town" and scores of others. He later moved behind the cameras and became a director, although he had his own show "The People's Choice" in the mid 50s. In 1963 he did "Twilight Zone", in the episode "Caesar and Me" opposite Morgan Brittany. His directorial work was splendid, particularly on "M*A*S*H" and shows produced by MGM Enterprises including "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The White Shadow" and later "St. Elsewhere". Around the same time of course, he appeared in the first "Superman" film as the boss at the newspaper, which earned him a new set of fans. We acknowledge heartily Mr. Cooper's contributions to TV and film.
Barbara Stuart, who appeared alongside Richard Haydn in "A Thing About Machines", passed away on 15 May after a 2 year battle with Alzheimer's disease. Barbara had numerous roles in TV and film, and she excelled at both comedy and drama. Born in Illinois, she came to Los Angeles in her early 20s and got into the biz. Her first stop was Ohio, where she first studied acting, then moved to New York for further studies with the two greatest female acting teachers of the 20th century, Stella Adler and Uta Hagen and subsequently began working in the New York theater. After making her way west to Los Angeles in the mid 50s, she began a five-decade run in showbiz, working on many TV shows, including "Twilight Zone", "Perry Mason", and numerous others. On one of her episodes of "Perry Mason", in 1961, she appeared in a brief but spellbinding role as a lowlife drunk named Maizie Frietag, who is a central part of the plot of the story, who dies suddenly while the case is still in progress. In 1965, she got a part on "Gomer Pyle USMC" as Sgt. Vince Carter's girlfriend, Miss Bunny, for which she is perhaps best known, and appeared regularly on the show until it ended in 1969. Barbara's biggest screen role came in the 1984 flick "Bachelor Party", where she has a memorable scene in a strip club, and in which she and TZ alum George Grizzard played the parents of the bride-to-be. In the same year, she also appeared as the owner of a vile dog in the superclassic film "Airplane." In the early 2000s, she had a regular role in the Blythe Danner/Hank Azzaria TV show "Huff", and was disappointed when it was cancelled after only a short time. Barbara had a long marriage to actor Dick Gautier which ended in the 1990s. Barbara and Dick sometimes appeared on game shows in the 60s and 70s (Dick was a game show regular and was a guest on "The Liar's Club", hosted by Rod Serling.) Barbara also enjoyed a 50+ year friendship with TZ alum Ruta Lee and we were very fortunate to have them share a table at our 2002 and 2004 Stars of the Zone Conventions. They were among the first to RSVP for the 2002 event and were most supportive of what we were doing, and fans greatly enjoyed meeting them. Barbara lived for many years in the Toluca Lake area of Los Angeles and is survived by her three stepchildren. She was a very kind person as well as being very talented, and will be missed.
Del Reisman, who served as story editor on TZ for a good portion of its run, passed away on 8 January. As story editor, Del was responsible for shaping a number of episodes and ensuring the scripts and the episode plotting were at the very high level that TZ was known for. Del was a fine writer in his own right, which was most assuredly a factor in his successful career. He worked on numerous TV shows and in film as well. A graduate of UCLA, he later served in the air force from 1942-1945. His mother was a secretary and script typist in the studios of Hollywood and it was she who launched his writing career on live television in the 1950s. One of his first jobs was on Playhouse 90, on which he worked with producer Martin Manulis, and of course Rod Serling. He was subsequently hired to work on Twilight Zone. Although he was not usually a conventiongoer, Del appeared at our 2004 Stars of the Zone Convention on Saturday afternoon, to participate in a panel discussion alongside director Ted Post. Tony Albarella, who led the panel, interviewed Del for his series "As Timeless As Infinity - the Complete Rod Serling TZ Scripts" and his comments about various episodes can be found there. We also invited Del to come to the 2002 convention - and Del said, "I sure wish I'd known about it 2 weeks earlier, because I would've cancelled my trip to Europe!" In his later years, Del remained very active as president of the WGA West (Writers Guild of America, Western Division) and also taught at the American Film Institute. We salute Mr. Del Reisman for his significant contribution to television and film.
Anne, our dear friend, left the world on January 2nd, 2011. She was one of a kind. It's hard to even write this because it's even harder to believe that she's gone. She was as talented as she was beautiful...and she was a beautiful person inside and out. She helped shape women in TV with "Honey West", and rounded it out with characters such as Marsha White and Jess Belle. Every episode of television and every film she was in were much the better because she was in them. When Bill DeVoe and myself were organizing the first Stars of the Zone Convention in 2001, Anne was one of the first people we were in touch with - Bill had organized a themed Carribean cruise a year or so before, which didn't quite work out - but it laid the groundwork for our eventual events in North Hollywood. Anne was right onboard for the cruise - and when the plans got cancelled, she suggested that we do a convention, at Beverly Garland's Holiday Inn. And we did. She of course came to the event in 2002, and reunited with James Best (her co-star of "Jess Belle"- and Jimmie also appeared with her in "Forbidden Planet" and Serling's "The Rack", and later in "Honey West") and also reunited with Earl Hamner, who of course wrote "Jess Belle". All three of them spoke on the panel discussions - they both recalled the good old days of Hollywood, when quality was still the focus. Anne mentioned how much she adored Rod Serling. She occasionally attended other conventions and gatherings related to "Forbidden Planet", including a 2006 50th Anniversary event in Hollywood, alongside TZ alumni Earl Holliman and Warren Stevens. Around 1999, Anne started a website, to allow her fans to indirectly keep in touch with her. She wrote wonderful newsletters every month for about 9 years, and told everyone of her activities. Sometimes she posted poetry by herself or others (she even posted one of Bill's short poems one month!) She often told of her travels and other experiences such as flying a plane, and of going to drama classes and giving the students her comments, and the joy she felt when they re-played the scene and did it much better the second time. And she'd write about various stars she'd worked with, including Barbara Streisand in "Funny Girl" - and shared an open letter that she wrote to Streisand. Her funniest story was also one of the most horrifying - when she was posing for a photo shoot for one of the big studios, with Leo the Lion, in her early 20s, and Leo playfully put his jaws over the top of her head! "Working with animals was fun - sometimes! But these cats - when they're mad, they bite...and they also bite when they're happy!" she said. "Eventually, Leo let go, and the photographer got the shot, and of course the studio put the caption - 'Leo the Lion whispers to Anne Francis about all the new shows coming this Fall'....yeah right!!!" Anne also sometimes wrote of aging and the inevitable close of human life, as a person passes on to their next experience, and the importance of friends and family and doing good work during your time on Earth. She put others before herself, and donated time as well as financially to several charities including Direct Relief and the Desert AIDS Project. Born in New York in 1930, she survived the Great Depression and started working at age 6. Her career started in Live Television, and she remained busy for the better part of the next 7 decades. And in her experience on Earth, she most certainly made her mark. Anne, words don't do it justice. We're just so glad you lived, and I hope you and Rod and the whole gang are having a great time, out in the Twilight Zone. And thankfully, you're not so far away - you may not be right here but we can always turn on the TV and say hi.
Our friend Bill Erwin passed away on 29 December after 96 long and wonderful years. Bill was one of the most familiar character actors on TV for decades. He appeared on countless sitcoms, westerns, everything...even garnering an Emmy nomination for a very memorable role he played on "Seinfeld"in 1993. A quick glance at his list of credits will reveal that he was one of Hollywood's busiest character actors. He appeared on "Twilight Zone" three (or four!) times. He played Mr. Wilcox (father of the boy played by Ron Howard) in "Walking Distance" and was credited for it, although the scenes were deleted. He didn't remember filming it, but was friends with and worked with Gig Young at the Pasadena Playhouse years beforehand. "Mr. Denton on Doomsday" had him playing a cowboy, but in "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up", we saw Bill in the role he played most often, a real lemon sucker!! Although Bill was one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to know, he was often cast in such roles. He also appeared in Richard Matheson-penned episode "Mute" playing a man in a flashback sequence. Some 17 years later, he appeared in another certain Matheson story, the universally-known feature film "Somewhere in Time" as Arthur the bellman. Bill attended the "Somewhere in Time" reunions almost every year in Mackinac Island, where the film was shot. He loved his fans and always responded, although due to his busy schedule, it sometimes took him awhile to reply! I remember contacting him about attending our 2002 Stars of the Zone Convention and he apologized for the delay and said he'd love to attend. And he did, and had a great time. Bill was no less active in his later years; he had a one-man "Mark Twain" show that he did for awhile; he discovered that the older he got, the more he looked like Twain! One of his last on-screen roles was in "My Name is Earl", where he got to show off his comedic talents. At the 2002 Convention, Bill was recruited by producer Carl Amari to star in one of the TZ Radio Dramas and he played the Ed Wynn part in "Ninety Years Without Slumbering" superbly. Bill had a large family - four children and eight grandchildren; his wife predeceased him. He once remarked that he wanted the inscription on his tombstone to read, "I thought this was a dress rehearsal!" Thanks for everything, Bill. You were a gem, and will always be, and we're glad we knew you.
Joe Mantell, who is well known for his portrayal of Lawrence Walsh, who delivers the last line of "Chinatown", passed away on 29 September. Mr. Mantell was an outstanding actor and unfortunately was not known for much more than "Chinatown" plus his two parts on "Twilight Zone". He did happen to claim an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in the 1955 film "Marty" opposite Ernest Borgnine. He also played a pessimistic customer customer at the Bodega Bay restaurant/bar in Hitchcock's "The Birds", who ultimately walks out of the bar, proceeds to fill his car with gas (which has a leaky fuel tank), then lights a cigar and drops the match on the ground; he quickly dies in the ensuing explosion which sets the whole town on fire. Another of his many roles was as one of Archie Bunker's friends on "All in the Family", which apparently was supposed to be a recurring role, but the character is never seen again. On "Twilight Zone", of course, he was unforgettable. He essayed the role of Jackie Rhoades, hoodlum-turned-good guy, in Serling's second season episode "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room", unquestionably one of the best episodes in the series. He returned later to co-star with Lee Marvin in Richard Matheson's favorite episode of the ones he wrote, "Steel", where he played Pole, who tries to get Steel to come to his senses. His delivery of the line "You'll get killed, Steel" (to which Marvin replies "Then I will") was splendid. Mr. Mantell was retired for many years and his last work came, most appropriately with the sequel to "Chinatown", "The Two Jakes" (1990). He had three children.
Harold Gould, best remembered as Rhoda and Brenda's father on "Rhoda", passed away on 11 September. Mr. Gould held a PhD in Theatre Arts from Cornell University, and in the early fifties accepted professorships at an all-women's college in Virginia and at UC Riverside in Southern California. After some years on campus, he decided he'd rather be in front of the camera and started getting jobs on the soundstages of Hollywood. This was definitely a more lucrative decision! His part on "Twilight Zone" was one of his earliest, where he played General Larabee, who communicates over radio waves with Adam Cook, played by Richard Basehart. The same year (1963) he appeared in the film "The Yellow Canary" starring Pat Boone and Barbara Eden, a Rod Serling film. He had a semi-regular role on "The Golden Girls" as Rose's boyfriend Miles Webber. Mr. Gould had three children, and a 55 year marriage to Lea Vernon, whom he met at Cornell.
Joe Messerli will forever be the most unsung individual directly associated with "The Twilight Zone." His involvement with the show was very brief - and he wasn't a regular behind-camera staff member at Cayuga Productions. He is UNcredited with creating the very first logo that was used as the opening title and mid-episode commercial billboards for most of the first season. The lettering and artwork was entirely his creation, with the cascading landscapes and other artwork contributed by others. The graphic changed a bit over the years, but Joe was responsible for the first one - which spawned the rest. For more detailed info,
The legendary actor, writer, and director Dennis Hopper passed away on 29 May. He was given his star on the Hollywood Walk just two months before his death, and at the time he was dying of cancer. His career began when he appeared opposite James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955), and his biggest break came with the cult classic "Easy Rider" in 1969, which won numerous awards and launched him as a major Hollywood talent. In between, he also worked in television, including the lead role of neo-Nazi Peter Vollmer in "He's Alive" on TZ. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol played a significant part in Hopper's life. He remained productive but his career waxed and wanted over its 56 year duration and for over 20 years, he juggled "Hollywood with hermitage". He excelled in roles as insane men, like Frank Booth in "Blue Velvet" (1986) with Dean Stockwell. His marriage to Brooke Hayward (Paula in "The Masks" on TZ) from 1961-69 brought a new dimension to his life - photography, and he became an expert photographer. Apparently Hayward bought him a camera for his birthday and it sparked a second career. He also got into painting later on. The mid 80s and early 90s saw a revival of his career, with "Blue Velvet", "Hoosiers", and the critically-acclaimed "Colors" (which he directed) and in 1991 he received an Emmy nomination for two HBO films wherein he played a druggie. Mr. Hopper was married 5 times, divorcing his fifth wife shortly before his death. Four of the marriages produced one child, the exception being a quick 9 day marriage in 1970 to Michelle Phillips. Mr. Hopper holds two Oscars and two Golden Globes.
Sandy Kenyon, who had co-starring roles in "The Shelter", "The Odyssey of Flight 33" and also appeared briefly in "Valley of the Shadow", passed away on 20 February. Born Sanford Klein in The Bronx, he had over 120 film and TV credits to his name, from the days of live TV up through the 1980s. He was a bonafide character actor with a very familiar face. Like most actors, Sandy said that his three TZ roles were his favorites. He reported having great fun doing all three. Of "The Shelter", he said, "that one was was the funnest of all...I got to play a bigot, and who doesn't like playing a bigot?!" He also spoke fondly of "Odyssey", saying that the story was a work of genius and there was fine camaraderie amongst everyone in the cockpit. But he seemed to be part of a group of character actors who specialized in western's and homespun-type roles. Mary Gregory, who played his bigoted wife in "The Shelter", speaks very fondly of the good times they had together in those long-ago days of TV work, including another occasion when they played husband and wife on "Lassie". He also did a memorable episode of Boris Karloff's "Thriller" called "The Hollow Watcher" (with Warren Oates and Audrey Dalton) during the same period. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate Sandy for quite awhile and thus was unable to invite him to the two LA-based TZ cons but finally talked to him a couple years before he passed. He retired around 1990 and lived in Marina del Rey for a number of years. Before coming to Hollywood, and after, he also continued to act in theater.
Nan Martin (1927-2010)
The veteran character actress Nan Martin passed away on 4 March. We were fortnuate to have Nan attend for one day of the 2002 "Stars of the Zone" Convention. There, she admitted that she liked her role in the New Twilight Zone (1985) more than the part of Laura Ford, Horace's wife in "The Incredible World of Horace Ford" on TZ. She and Pat Hingle remained friends until his death in 2009. Nan's first love was the theater and she continued on stage work imidst scores of on-screen roles on everything from "Twilight Zone" to the "The Drew Carey Show" (where she played Mrs. Louder, a memorable later role for her.) She essayed a lot of mothers on screen over the years, including Helen Hunt's mom in "Cast Away" and even Freddy Krueger's in "Nightmare on Elm Street 3". She started as a New York model before turning to acting in the late 40s and early 50s.
Joe Maross (1923-2009)
Joe Maross died on 7 November at the age of 86. In a career that lasted over 35 years, he appeared in hundreds of television shows and occasionally in film ("Elmer Gantry", "Run Silent Run Deep") TZ fans know him for his co-starring roles in "Third From the Sun" with Fritz Weaver and Edward Andrews, and in "The Little People" with Claude Akins. He also appeared in Boris Karloff's "Thriller" in the episode "Knock Three One Two" with TZ alum Beverly Garland, which he remembered very fondly. A fine actor, Mr. Maross knew his craft very well and was an expert in line delivery and diction. He was also on the committee of the Academy and submitted votes as an educated judge for Oscar-nominated films and roles. Unfortunately, he succumbed to ageism in his later years and did not act past his early 60s. He resided in the Westwood area of Los Angeles in his later years and died at an intensive care facility in Glendale.
Collin Wilcox-Paxton (1934-2009)
Collin Wilcox Paxton passed away on 14 October. Although I never met her in person, I'm glad I will always be able to say that I knew her. She was a magnificent person as well as a magnificent actress. The peak of Collin's career was in 1962-63, when she worked on "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Twilight Zone." She'll forever be known for her roles as impoverished rape victim Mayella Violet Ewell in the former, and Marilyn Cuberle in TZ's "Number 12 Looks Just Like You." She was always grateful that director Abner Biberman hired her for the part on TZ, which was a welcome change from, to quote Collin, "a number of meaningless, undistinguished roles I was offered in the sixties." Although her work in TV and film continued into the 1980s, she eventually moved to North Carolina and returned to her theatrical roots, appearing in and directing plays. She and her husband Scott Paxton ran the Instant Theater Company in North Carolina for many years. Collin was one of our generation's greatest character actors and we'll miss her a lot.
John Furia, Jr. (1929-2009)
John Furia, who wrote the episode "I Dream of Genie" for TZ, died on 7 May. He was president of the Writers Guild of America from 1973 to 1975, served two terms on the board of directors and chaired or co-chaired its negotiating committee several times, including during the 2004 negotiations. He also received the WGA's Morgan Cox, Valentine Davies and Edmund H. North awards for leadership and guild service. Furia was also a professor and former director of film writing at the USC School of Cinema-TV. John was friends with TZ writer E. Jack Neuman (who also, unfortunately, only wrote one TZ episode, but it was a beaut...) and was old friends with TZ writer Earl Hamner (whose "The Waltons" he penned scripts for). I recruited John to interview for the Definitive Edition DVDs back in 2004 and he immediately agreed and gave us a wonderful interview. John will indeed be missed.
Joseph Wiseman (1918-2009)
Joseph Wiseman, who played the aristocratic real estate tycoon
Paul Radin in Serling's episode "One More Pallbearer", died on 19 October at age 91. The Canadian-born actor spent most of his career in the New York theatrical community, but Bond fans will always know him for
"Dr. No" in the premiere James Bond Film. According to other actors who knew him, Wiseman
loved the part of Paul Radin that he did on TZ. They also said he was an extremely private individual
who did not socialize much, and was often too shy even to say hello to neighbors who lived in
his apartment building. Nonetheless, his significant work in TV, film, and theater stands on its own.
He retired from TV in the mid 1990s, and one of his last Broadway appearances was in
"Judgement at Nuremburg" in the early 2000s. He was married for many years to choreographer Pearl Lang,
who expired nine months prior to his death.
Frank Aletter (1926-2009)
Frank Aletter passed away on 13 May. We were happy to have Frank at our 2002 Convention, where he reunited with Jacqueline Scott and Paul Comi, who appeared in his episode "The Parallel." He sat next to Jacquie as well as his old friend Lloyd Bochner. Frank was very supportive of the TZ Convention idea when Bill DeVoe and I were coming up with it in 2001-2002 and said he hoped it would be the first of many. He liked "The Parallel" and thought it was a most unusual and interesting story...he also tried to get "The Parallel" star Steve Forrest to attend the convention. Frank's work on TV was quite extensive - he starred in the 1960s comedy shows "Bringing Up Buddy" and "Its About Time". He was married to Lee Merriwether (best known as one of the many Catwomen) for a number of years, and they had two daughters, Lesley and Kyle, who were both in the biz as stuntwoman and model, respectively. He worked steadily from the late 50s until the late 80s, and for a number of years lived with his wife Estella in Tarzana. Frank will be missed.
James Whitmore (1921-2009)
James Whitmore, veteran actor of stage and screen, passed on 6 February. He was best known for his role in the superclassic 1994 film "The Shawshank Redemption"; he came out of retirement to play librarian Brooks Hatlen. Of course, his role on TZ as Captain Benteen in Serling's "On Thursday We Leave for Home" was quite memorable too. Mr. Whitmore had a most distinguished career and in his later years, he toured the country giving lectures. The older generation remembers him for his crime drama TV series "The Law and Mr. Jones" from the early 1960s. Whitmore had a seven-year marriage to Audra Lindley, best known as Mrs. Roper of "Threes Company". The Whitmore-Lindley Theater in North Hollywood was so named for them. Whitmore's son, James Jr., is a well-known actor and director.
Pat Hingle (1924-2009)
Pat Hingle, one of the most familiar faces in TV and film, passed away on 3 January. I spoke to Pat a few years ago while compiling data for my "Forgotten Gems from The Twilight Zone" books and he said immediately that he got more comments about "The Incredible World of Horace Ford" than anything else he ever did. Hingle's performance in the TZ episode was indeed one of the best. He climbed inside the body and soul of the man-child Horace and made the character his own. Hingle and Nan Martin, who played his wife Laura in the episode) worked together before and after they appeared in TZ, in the Broadway play "J.B." and in episodes of "The Fugitive" (they played husband and wife again!) Hingle's career began in the 1940s when he joined the drama scene in college. Eventually he made it to Broadway. After losing the title role in the blockbuster "Elmer Gantry" to Burt Lancaster in 1960 (after an accident), his career went a different direction … but he said that his regrets were only momentary. He worked steadily up until his passing. Commissioner James Gordon in the "Batman" films became perhaps his second signature role, after Horace Ford. He had thee children from his first wife, and a 30-year marriage to a second wife. He lived in North Carolina in his later years.
Beverly Garland (1926-2008)
Ms. Beverly Garland passed away at home on 5 December after a long illness. Her passing marks the end of an era, most assuredly. As most of you know, Bill DeVoe and I chose her hotel in North Hollywood for our first two Twilight Zone Conventions in 2002 and 2004. It proved an ideal choice. She and her staff were most accommodating and supportive of what we were doing. Beverly herself told us that our 2002 convention was definitely one of the greatest events held at her hotel! Quite a compliment! Beverly went on to participate in a few various TZ activities after the events. She participated in the actor interviews we did for Image Entertainment's TZ DVDs (although hers hasn't been released yet), as well as a filmed TZ roundtable with Peter Mark Richman, George Clayton Johnson, and H.M. Wynant. I also helped get her cast with Richman in the TZ Radio Drama "Uncle Simon" produced by Falcon Picture Group. As for Beverly's showbiz career, it really needs no re-cap. Needless to say, she was a splendid actor. She did many B movies from the beginning of her career in 1950, but television was where she shined brightly. In 1959 she was cast in TZ "The Four of Us Are Dying" as Maggie, the torch singer. Her performance alongside Ross Martin was so convincing that Rod Serling (who adapted George Clayton Johnson's short story) took a few minutes to tell her that he had no idea he'd written the character so deeply. Some 10 years later, she became Fred MacMurray's wife on "My Three Sons", and later played Kate Jackson's mother on "Scarecrow and Mrs. King". In more recent years, she appeared on "7th Heaven", "Friends", "Port Charles", and "The Guardian." Beverly, a native Californian, had a brief marriage to actor Dick Garland in the early 1950s. In 1959 she married land developer Fillmore Crank, and in 1968 they built her hotel - Beverly Garland's Holiday Inn. In 1983, she got her star on Hollywood Blvd. Beverly coordinated much of the hotel's activities for many years with her son James and stepdaughter Cathleen. She is survived by them as well as daughter Carrington and stepson Fillmore, Jr., plus a combined 14 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Beverly, wherever you are now, THANK YOU for everything. You were a class act and we won't be forgetting about you.
Irene Dailey (1920-2008)
Irene Dailey passed away on 24 September. Best known for her long-running role from 1974 to 1994 as Liz Matthews on "Another World", she appeared in a handful of television roles including "Dr. Kildare", "Ben Casey", and of course "Twilight Zone". She described her role as acerbic school teacher Miss Edna Frank in TZ's "Mute" as "a juicy part". Ms. Dailey did numerous New York theatrical productions throughout her career. She worked several times with director Stuart Rosenberg, who cast her in the TZ role as well as in an episode of "The Defenders", and a number of years later in the first "Amityville Horror" film. She won an Emmy in 1979 for "Another World", and also taught drama. Intensely devoted to her craft, she once made the comment that the theater was about all she really cared about - family life didn't interest her much. Ms. Dailey made her home in Guerneville, California in her later years. She was the sister of the late actor Dan Dailey.
House Peters, Jr. (1916-2008)
Mr. Peters, who had a very brief part as second police officer in "Mr. Bevis", passed away on 1 October at the ripe old age of 92. A familiar face in both TV and film from the 1930s to the '60s, House wanted to act from an early age, but made a promise to himself that if he hadn't really hit it big by age 50 that he would retire from screen work. He did retire in 1966 and went on to a successful second career in real estate and business administration. His father, House Sr., was also a well-known actor and has a star on Hollywood Blvd. House, Jr. was an incredibly kind man and lived for many years in Escondido, California before moving in 2001 to the Motion Picture Retirement Community in Woodland Hills. In his later years, he wrote and self-published an impressive book about his days working in Hollywood. Like a number of actors who also did commercials, House will forever be known as TV's Original Mr. Clean. We were fortunate enough to have House and his lovely wife Lucie attend our Stars of the Zone Convention in 2002. Even then, at age 86, he had a remarkably firm handshake.
George Keymas (1925-2008)
Mr. Keymas, who played The Leader in "Eye of the Beholder", died on 17 January in Florida of a heart attack. Mr. Keymas was forced to retire from acting in 1977 due to degenerative eye disorder. He had an impressive resume of film and TV appearances that spanned 25 years. In recent years, he appeared at several autograph shows in Burbank, California, where he lived for many years.
Sydney Pollack (1934-2008)
The distinguished director and actor Sydney Pollack passed away on 26 May.
Ironically, the young actor played a director - in "Twilight Zone", in the fine
second season entry "The Trouble With Templeton." As an actor-turned-director,
Pollack said on many an occasion that although being an actor was not a prerequisite
to being a director, "it certainly doesn't hurt." His two greatest achievements were "Tootsie" (which he directed as well as played the character of CAA agent George Fields,
who represents the cross-dressing Dorothy Michaels, played by Dustin Hoffman) and
"Out of Africa" (1986), for which he took home one of the seven Oscars it won.
He continued acting up until his death, both in feature films - most recently "Made of Honor" as Patrick Dempsey's frequently-wedding father, and a recurring role as Will's similarly unfaithful father on "Will & Grace." Pollack was married for over 40 years
to Claire Griswold, whom TZ fans know for her portrayal of a beautiful doll whom Robert Duvall befriends in "Miniature" (shortly after which she retired from acting to raise a
family.) Pollack started his career in New York, studying at the Actors Studio with legendary pedagogue Sandy Meissner, who trained many of the finest actors of our time.
His departure marks a great loss, and the world of film and television is much the richer for Sydney Pollack's contributions to it.
Hazel Court (1926-2008)
Ms. Court, who co-starred in "The Fear" with Peter Mark Richman, passed
away on 15 April at age 82. Born in England, her three-decade career began in 1944 as an
uncredited extra. She did most of the staple shows of the day, including "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (four episodes), "Twilight Zone", "Bonanza", "Twelve O'Clock High". She was also in Rod Serling's "Bomber's Moon" on "Playhouse 90." She is best known for her appearances in horror films alongside Vincent Price, including "The Raven" and "The Masque of the Red Death" and several Hammer films. She relocated to the US in the late 1950s and began work in television. Her first of two marriages was to actor Dermot Walsh, with whom she had a daughter. Her second was to prolific TV actor/director Don Taylor, who directed some of the best episodes of Serling's "Night Gallery", and with whom she had two other children. Hazel attended our 2004 "Twilight Zone" Convention, where she re-met Richman and occupied a table next to his and graciously signed items for many fans. After her acting career concluded, she turned to work as a sculptor and was commissioned for many projects; she studied sculpting in Europe and became one of the world's
greatest. She appeared occasionally in documentaries about the old horror films. Her autobiography, "Hazel Court: Horror Queen" is available from Tomahawk Press.
Ivan Dixon (1931-2008)
Ivan Dixon, aka Bolie Jackson in "The Big Tall Wish" and the Reverend in "I Am the Night - Color Me Black," passed away on 16 March at the age of 76. Born in Harlem in 1931, he moved to North Carolina in his teens and graduated from North Carolina University in 1954. Mr. Dixon was mainly known for his role as Kinchloe on Hogan's Heroes from 1965-1970, after which he wisely moved behind the camera for more than 20 years as a frequent TV director. Although he was a splendid actor, he surprisingly never hit a high level of stardom. He directed episodes of The Bill Cosby Show (1969-71), The Waltons, The Rockford Files, and many others. After retiring from television and film, Dixon became owner-operator of radio station KONI in Maui. He returned to the US in 2001 and lived in Tehachapi, California, then moved to North Carolina to be closer to his children. He was married for 53 years and had four children, two of whom survived him.
Mr. Dixon always thought highly of his two Twilight Zone episodes and appreciated Rod Serling's recognition of his talent.
Barry Morse (1918-2008)
Barry Morse passed away on 2 February, four months short of his 90th birthday. Best known as Lt. Philip Gerard of The Fugitive, he was also known for his Twilight Zone appearance in Earl Hamner's "A Piano in the House" in the third season, which was directed by his longtime friend David Greene. He is also well-known for Professor Victor Bergman in Space: 1999 opposite Martin Landau. He appeared in memorable episodes of The Outer Limits and also in an episode of The New Twilight Zone in 1988. But Barry's home was always the stage. In his later years, he performed a one-man show entitled "Merely Players" onstage throughout the USA and Canada. Although he appeared in numerous films and TV shows from 1942 to 2005, an estimate was recently made that Barry Morse played over 3,000 roles over the course of his career. His daughter Melanie Morse-McQuarrie passed away in 2005, and his wife of 60 years, Sydney Sturgess, passed away in 1999. He is survived by his sons Hayward and Barry Morse, Jr. We were fortunate enough to have Barry attend the first Stars of the Zone Convention in 2002. In February 2004, he and a small group of actors including Jacqueline Scott, Paul Carr, Arlene Martel, Edward Asner, and Antoinette Bower appeared as part of a small reunion of The Fugitive at the notorious Hollywood Collectors Show. They were joined by several others, including director Walter E. Grauman and the man who did David Janssen's stunts, for a panel discussion that was attended by around 200 people. His biography, "Remember With Advantages",
written with his manager Anthony Wynn and Robert E. Wood, was released in 2006.
Barry Morse was one of the kindest and most generous talents you could ever hope to meet, and his passing is indeed a great loss. For more information about Barry's life and career, we encourage you to visit
Lois Nettleton (1927-2008)
It is with substantial sadness that we report the demise of the great Lois Nettleton, two-time Emmy-award winner (in 1976 for American Women - Portraits of Courage and 1983 for the long-running dramatic anthology series Insight) and long-time fixture of the New York theatrical community. She died on 18 January. Of the many, many roles she had over a career which spanned nearly her whole life, like many other actors, she will always be known for her TZ role as Norma in "The Midnight Sun." Born in Oak Park, Illinois (the same city of birth as Bob Newhart and Betty White), she divided her time between residences in New York City and Los Angeles. Her career began in 1948 when she was Miss Chicago, and a finalist in the Miss America Pageant. And sixty years later, she hadn't lost her beauty. She was married to Jean Shepperd, writer/narrator of the ultra-classic 1983 A Christmas Story, for some years in the 1960s. She received three more Emmy nominations and a Tony nomination (1976, for "They Knew What They Wanted" on Broadway.) Her most recent TV role was a 2006 Christmas special for the Hallmark Channel with Ed Asner (Lois also played Ed's love interest on The Mary Tyler Moore Show over 30 years earlier!) We were fortunate enough to successfully recruit Lois for the recent Twilight Zone Conventions. She was unable to attend the 2002 and 2004 Conventions in Los Angeles, and both times expressed her regrets. Finally, in 2006, she made it, and appeared again in 2007. At the 2006 event, she was able to reunite with Tom Reese (who played the episode's thirst-crazed intruder; the two actors had not seen each other since they did the episode in 1961.) A true thespian, she admitted that the basis of her career was taking only the roles that were right for her - that she was intentionally "picky!" In the early 1990s, she did a reading of "The Midnight Sun" script for Harper Audio Books, playing not only Norma but all the other parts. But her TV appearance in the episode was one she always treasured, along with her fans. Lois was a warm and wonderful person and she will be missed.
William Idelson (1920-2007)
William "Bill" Idelson passed away on 31 December.
He has the distinction of being the only individual to have written for and acted in The Twilight Zone. He wrote "Long Distance Call" in the second season, and played a Production Assistant in "A World of Difference" in the first season. Idelson began his career as an actor, starring in the popular radio show "Vic & Sade" in the 1940s. After serving in the Navy in WWII. "Long Distance Call" (originally titled "Direct Line") was his first script. He says, "Almost accidentally, I broke through...and thus began a twenty-year period as a working writer."
Indeed, he was one of the finest comedy writers of the 1960s, writing scores of episodes for "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (where he also played Rose Marie's occasional date, Herman Glimsher), "The Andy Griffith Show", and "The Odd Couple", to name only a few. He often acted in the shows he wrote for. In his later years, he ran a writers workshop in Southern California which has been acclaimed by many current writers of comedy, and about which he wrote a the book "Bill Idelson's Writing Class". He also authored a book on "Vic & Sade" (both titles are available from BearManor Media, Inc.). His script for "Long Distance Call" was first published in 2004 as part of Andrew Ramage's "Forgotten Gems from The Twilight Zone" (also available from BearManor.) Idelson and his wife of 56 years, Seemah Wilder, were the parents of award winning comedy writer Ellen Idelson (1961-2003), best known for her writing work for the legendary "Will & Grace."
Dick Wilson (1916-2007)
Dick Wilson, who in his time was one of the most frequently seen faces on television, passed away on 19 November. He briefly appeared twice on TZ, as one of the insurance adjusters in "Escape Clause", and as a mover in "Ninety Years Without Slumbering." Audiences will forever know him not for his work in TV and movies, but as supermarket manager Mr. Whipple, who was guilty of 'squeezing the Charmin' on the Charmin' tissue commercials of the 1970s. Born Ricardo DiGuglielmo in England, he first lived in Ontario and graduated from college, and served in the Canadian Airforce in WWII. He then left for New York, where he was trained in Vaudeville, then made his permanent home in the Southern California in 1954. His daughter, Melanie Wilson, was an actress and appeared in many episodes of "Perfect Strangers". Mr. Wilson retired from acting in the mid 80s. The Charmin' company supposedly gave him a lifetime supply of tissue products in appreciation of his memorable work.
George Grizzard (1928-2007)
George Grizzard, star of "The Chaser" and "In His Image", passed away in New York City after a five-decade career on stage and screen. Grizzard's home was in the theater, although he appeared in many episodes of television.
He and TZ alum Natalie Trundy co-starred in the pilot episode of "Thriller" in 1960.
To say that he was talented would be a great understatement. He never became a household name but won both an Emmy award (for "The Oldest Living Graduate", an acclaimed TV play done live in 1980 starring Henry Fonda) and a Tony award (after many nominations, in 1996). He was a key player - on and offstage, in the New York theatrical community. He won great acclaim for his roles onstage in the 1950s, which propelled his career in television. He appeared on "Law and Order" several times in the 1990s. Of her colleague, Gail Kobe relates, "I'd seen him in a play with Hume Cronyn and he was fantastic in it...and then we did [the episode "In His Image"] together. The chemistry between us was wonderful. We had a sympatico and could practically answer each other's lines. He is a very special actor." Grizzard recalled Kobe with fondness as well, and also Rod Serling...and the honor of doing the first hour-long episode of the show. He was a kind and generous soul, and will be missed.
William Tuttle, 1912-2007
William J. "Bill" Tuttle, who was responsible for
some of the more horrific moments in "Twilight Zone" history, including the famous porcine doctors and nurses in Serling's "Eye of the Beholder", passed away after a long 95 years on 2 August. Kevin McCarthy remembers fondly Tuttle's masterful makeup work on "Long Live Walter Jameson", where Tuttle skilfully made him age two-thousand years over the course of 30 seconds. The photo above shows Tuttle holding two of his mask masterworks, worn by Chuck Hicks and Tipp McClure, who played the robots Maynard Flash and Battling Maxo in Richard Matheson's "Steel" (1963).
Tuttle was a a pioneering makeup artist whose ground-breaking work in "7 Faces of Dr. Lao" prompted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to officially recognize his craft for the first time by giving him an honorary Academy Award in 1965. He worked on hundreds of films, creating the monstrous Morlocks in "The Time Machine" (1960) and turning Peter Boyle into the monster in the Mel Brooks' comedy "Young Frankenstein" (1974). Tuttle's final credit, in 1981, was for "Zorro, the Gay Blade."
At 18, Tuttle moved to Los Angeles and took art classes at USC with Charles Schram, who became his longtime makeup-effects collaborator. They were recruited to apprentice with Jack Dawn, a makeup artist who was then head of makeup at Twentieth Century Pictures. He donated the more than 100 masks featuring such famous faces as Paul Newman, Charlton Heston and Laurence Olivier to USC, where he taught from 1970 to 1995. Tuttle had a brief marriage to Donna Reed in the 1940s; his third wife of over 40 years survives him.
Laura Devon, 1931-2007
Ms. Devon, who played Ellwyn "Elly" Glover in Jess-Belle opposite James Best and Anne Francis,
died on 19 July in Beverly Hills. She had a brief acting career that ended after marriage in 1967 to composer Maurice Jarre. Their son, Kevin Jarre, was the screenwriter for "Tombstone" and other fine films. Ms. Devon had leads in several films from the mid- to late '60s, including "Red Line 7000" opposite James Caan in 1965, and "Gunn" with Craig Stevens and "A Covenant of Death" with George Maharis, both in 1967. A native of Detroit who started her career singing in nightclubs there, she moved to Southern California in the early '60s and made her film debut in director Vincente Minnelli's "Goodbye Charlie" (1964).
She was a regular on "The Richard Boone Show," a dramatic anthology series that aired in the 1963-64 season.
James Callahan, 1930-2007
James T. "Jimmy" Callahan, who played the son-in-law of Ed Wynn and wife of Carolyn Kearney on "Ninety Years Without Slumbering", died on 7 August 2007.
After serving in the Army in West Germany from 1951 to 1953, Callahan returned home to work at the post office.
He discovered acting while attending school in the Midwest. On the advice of a teacher, he enrolled in the University of Washington to study drama and graduated in the late 1950s.
Between 1959 and 2007, Callahan appeared in more than 120 films and television shows. More recently, Callahan had appeared on several episodes of the medical drama "Body & Soul" on the Pax TV network. In 1994, at age 63, he married for the first time. His wife survives him.
Charles "Charlie" Lane was one of the several most-recognized character actors in American television, film, and theater. The wiry, bespectacled Lane had well over 500 credits to his name, he worked for over six decades starting in 1931! He usually played the short-tempered boss or high-level official, as he did as Mr. Peckinpaugh on the TZ episode "Mr. Bevis." Most know him for his appearances on "I Love Lucy", on the episode featuring the birth of Little Ricky. He played a father who already had six girls, whose wife gave birth to triplets on the same day that Lucy gave birth to her son. He also logged a number of appearances on "Bewitched." Mr. Lane was honored at the 2005 TV Land Awards, around the time of his 100th birthday. At the ceremony, he said, "I'm still available if anyone wants me!"
We belatedly report the passing of Phillip Pine, who died at his Las Vegas home on 22 December. Mr. Pine was a fine actor, who demonstrated his competency twice on "The Twilight Zone." I remember him mentioning that he was glad he got to play a nice guy in "The Incredible World of Horace Ford," contrary to the vile man he played in "The Four of Us Are Dying." Mr. Pine attended both of our Hollywood "Twilight Zone" Conventions, the second with his wife Madelyn Keen, who was ten years older than he. They lived for many years in the San Fernando Valley, and moved to Las Vegas to be closer to family for the last two years of their lives. Madelyn passed away just four days after Phillip. A kind and generous soul, Mr. Pine (and Madelyn) will be missed.
Dabbs Greer, one of the most familiar faces in all of television and silver screen films, died of natural causes on April 28. On April 2, he celebrated his 90th birthday. He had a mammoth number of credits to his name (over 250 TV episodes, plus over 50 films) and continued working up until 2003 with more recent shows such as Lizzie McGuire and Spin City.
Some 10 years prior to his death, Hollywood gave Greer another big break—he played a 108-year-old man at the beginning and end of "The Green Mile" (the younger version of him was portrayed by Tom Hanks). On Twilight Zone, he appeared opposite Andy Devine in "Hocus Pocus and Frisby", and as one of the town officials in "Valley of the Shadow" who has the distinction of being stabbed with a knife, moments later to have the whole process reversed, blood and all. This was an experience he remembered fondly—the suit he wore was his own, and the cleaners were never able to get the Hershey's syrup out.
Barry Nelson, an actor who had a long career in film and television, starred in some of the more durable Broadway comedies of the 1950s and 60s, and achieved a permanent place in the minds of trivia buffs as the first actor to portray James Bond, died on 7 April, 2007. Mr. Nelson became familiar to many moviegoers in his middle years, appearing in films like "Airport" and "The Shining." Born Robert Haakon Nielsen in San Francisco on April 16, 1917, he graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1941. Spotted by a talent scout, he was soon signed to an MGM contract and appeared in studio films like "Shadow of the Thin Man" (1941) and "Johnny Eager" and "Dr. Kildare's Victory, both in 1942. Joining the Army and assigned to an entertainment unit, he made his Broadway debut in 1943. It was in an unremarkable one-hour television production in 1954 that he left a lasting mark, or asterisk. That was when he played Jimmy Bond. Sean Connery's Bond followed Mr. Nelson's eight years later, in "Dr. No." In 1964 he starred in one of the most memorable episodes of The Twilight Zone, "Stopover in a Quiet Town," in which a stranded couple wake up in a typical small town to find that it is completely deserted and deathly quiet except for the sound of a child's laughter.
Adam Williams, who played two roles in Twilight Zone died on 4 December. In the first season, he played the sailor who Nan Adams picks up in the middle of the night. It was his second season appearance as the inimitable Woodward of "A Most Unusual Camera" (opposite Jean Carson and Fred Clark) that gave him a chance to shine brightly. Hitchcock fans will also remember him as one of two henchmen employed by Martin Landau in "North by Northwest." With over 100 screen credits to his name, Williams ceased acting after 30 years in 1981 to enjoy retirement in Southern California. He was born and raised, and trained in acting in New York.
Milton Selzer, who played Wilfred Harper, Sr. in "The Masks," and the lead alien in "Hocus Pocus and Frisby" died on 21 October at age 88. Born and raised on the east coast, he served in World War II and began his career after graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He moved to Los Angeles in 1960 and continued his acting career. He appeared on countless TV shows and films up through the 1980s. His distinctive appearance made him one of many familiar-faced character actors. He also worked extensively in the theater.
Phyllis Kirk, co-star of "A World of His Own" opposite Keenan Wynn and Mary LaRoche, passed away on 19 October at age 76. She appeared in Broadway plays before moving to Hollywood, where she co-starred with Frank Sinatra in "Johnny Concho" and Jerry Lewis "The Sad Sack". She also had a memorable role opposite Vincent Price in "House of Wax." After retiring from acting in the 1960s, she became a philanthropist and was responsible for various programs which included starting preschool programs for poor families in Los Angeles. She also had a career in public relations.
Elizabeth Allen, who co-starred in the ultra-classic TZ episode "The After Hours" in the first season, passed away on 19 September. She was 77. Her most noteworthy role was opposite John Wayne in the 1963 film classic "Donovan's Reef," playing Boston socialite Amelia Dedham. Her second-best role was, of course, the no-nonsense department store clerk in "The After Hours," opposite Anne Francis. Ms. Allen appeared in TV, film, and theater regularly from the early 1950s through the 1980s, including "Kojak," "Columbo," and "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century." She also originated the daytime soap opera role of Victoria Bellman on both NBC's "Another World," and its subsequent spinoff, "Texas," from 1979-1982. In 1983, she took over the starring role of fading singer Dorothy Brock in the Broadway musical production of "42nd Street" and continued in this role for nearly 15 years, retiring in 1996. She held the Broadway role for approximately 5 years, then took that same role on the road in numerous touring productions of "42nd Street" all around the world until that version of the show closed in 1996. She spent the remaining years between residences in New York and California, devoting time to charitable organizations and philanthropic groups.
The late Jack Palance did not appear on "The Twilight Zone." Instead, he was the star of Rod Serling's Requiem for a Heavyweight which aired on "Playhouse 90". Palance portrayed Mountain McClintock, a declining prizefighter, in what was perhaps Serling's best, and most original script. It can be said that the performance by Palance in 1956 (alongside Kim Hunter, Ed Wynn and Keenan Wynn) helped to establish Rod Serling as a major Hollywood writer. Throughout his long career, Palance was always somewhat self-effacing and he is said to never have watched any of his work on the big or small screen. He also commented that nearly every part he got was 'garbage.' However, he spoke with great remembrance, on more than one occasion, about "Requiem", which was perhaps his best role.
Born in The Bronx, Lennie Weinrib had a prolific 30-year career in television that including writing all of the episodes of the beloved "H.R. Pufnstuf" series and doing the voice of hundreds of characters on animated series'. One of the few voice actors they should have recorded and kept for future characters. Or even for use in a live live answering service. He logged three episodes as guest on "The Dick Van Dyke Show". On "Twilight Zone", he played Charley Parkes' well-meaning, wisecracking brother in law, Buddy, in "Miniature" opposite Barbara Barrie. In 1990, he left the USA and made a new home in Santiago, Chile, where he suffered an unexpected stroke on 28 June, 2006.
Robert Cornthwaite passed away on 20 July, 2006. One of the most familiar faces in all of classic TV, he appeared on scores of television shows, and in some fifty feature films. On "Twilight Zone", he appeared in two episodes - the long-suffering house director of Rance McGrew's sitcom on "Showdown With Rance McGrew" (starring Larry Blyden), and as the pontificating banker, Mr. Hanford, in "No Time Like the Past" (starring Dana Andrews.) Mr. Cornthwaite was very receptive and appreciative of his fans, of which there were many. Born in Portland, Oregon (my hometown, too) in 1917, he began his acting career in 1935 at Reed College. I remember he told me that the play closed at the college the night before he embarked on what became a long career in Hollywood. He spent his last years at the Motion Picture Retirement Home in Calabasas, California. He will be missed.
Jack Warden, veteran character actor of stage, screen, and theater, died in New York on 21 July, 2006 at the age of 85 after a long illness. We here at The Twilight Zone Museum acknowledge his contribution to the series, as star of the second episode produced, "The Lonely" by Rod Serling (shot in Death Valley), and as Paul Douglas' replacement later that season in "The Mighty Casey." Mr. Warden worked steadily until retiring in 2001.
If there were ever a “greatest comedian of all time,” Don Knotts would arguably have that title. A quiet man off camera, on camera he was a force to be reckoned with. Although Don never appeared in an episode of The Twilight Zone, we humbly acknowledge his contribution to TV and film. The world is always a bit brighter when Don’s reruns are on the tube. If it's true that lack of laughter shortens the human lifespan, perhaps Don Knotts' greatest achievement is that he made, and will continue to make, millions of lives longer - or at least happier.
Robert Sterling, co-star of "Printer's Devil" alongside Burgess Meredith and Patricia Crowley, died of natural causes on May 30. His wife and other close relatives were at his bedside. Although he appeared in dozens of movies, Sterling was best known for the 1953-1956 TV series "Topper," based on the Thorne Smith novel, and the 1937 film starring Cary Grant and Constance Bennett. Sterling and wife, the eminent actress Anne Jeffreys played George and Marion Kirby, a fun-loving couple who were killed in an accident but returned as ghosts to haunt the new occupant of their home, a banker named Cosmo Topper. Sterling was born William Hart in 1917 in New Castle, Pa., the son of Chicago Cubs catcher William S. Hart. He attended college in Pennsylvania and worked as a clothing salesman before breaking into movies. He proved a versatile player, especially in romantic roles, and appeared in five films in 1941, including the romantic comedy "Two-Faced Woman" with Greta Garbo and "The Penalty" with Lionel Barrymore. After "Topper," Sterling retired from acting to become a businessman. Sterling was married to actress Ann Sothern from 1943 to 1949 and they had a daughter, actress Tisha Sterling. He married Jeffreys in 1951 and they had three sons: Jeffrey, Dana and Tyler.
Dennis Weaver, who will forever be known for his role on Gunsmoke, passed away after a short battle with cancer. Unfortunately, Dennis was one TZ actor we never met—he did appear at one of the fiendish Hollywood Collector Shows here in town a few years before he died.
His performance in the episode "Shadow Play" was tremendous. His old friend Wright King remembers doing both Gunsmoke and Twilight Zone with him. "Dennis was simply a great guy, and his wife Gerry was also a good friend of ours. His kids and my kids shot a mini-western on the backlot of MGM. We had a lot of fun together." Dennis' daughter in law was one of the victims of the 2003 disaster in Santa Monica, California, where an elderly man drove his car through the 3rd Street Promenade Farmers Market. Dennis was a staunch advocate of environmental protection and ending hunger in third world countries. He hand-built his home in Ridgeway, Colorado, from all-natural products.
Kevin Hagen, one of TV's most recognizable faces for his role as Dr. Hiram Baker on "Little House on the Prairie" for 116 episodes, passed away after a brief struggle with cancer in 2005. Born in Chicago in 1928, his mother and an aunt moved to Portland, Oregon when he was a teenager. He attended Jefferson High School and Oregon State University (my alma mater, too!) before joining the US Navy. He started acting at the age of 27, after earning a degree in International Relations from UCLA. Acting was his second career choice; he had planned to be an attorney. By the late 1950s, he was landing roles on TV series such as "Twilight Zone." "Doc Baker" - which came after having done over 100 roles in TV and film - was his signature role, of course. He admitted to having problems with "Prairie" producer/lead actor Michael Landon, who made sure he was undercompensated for his fine work. Mr. Hagen returned to Oregon for a quieter existence after retiring from acting in the early 1990s. He had a son with his third wife, and was single for a 25-year period before marrying his fourth. He was always very appreciative of his fan base and had a website at www.docbaker.com from the late 1990s until his death in 2005.
Carolyn, co-star of the Desilu Playhouse production of Serling's "The Time Element" and also TZ's "Ninety Years Without Slumbering," passed away on 18 November. She was one of the nicest people you could ever hope to know. I was connected to her last year by a close friend of hers who found this website, only a couple months before the second TZ convention. She attended, and was amazed that she had so many fans! Several months later, we interviewed her for the DVDs and she got a great thrill out of this as well.
Born in Detroit, Carolyn started acting at the young age of 5. She trained at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. She appeared in four B films, including "The Thing That Wouldn't Die" (1958) with TZ alum William Reynolds, whom she enjoyed meeting again at the convention last year. In addition to The Twilight Zone, she did about 30 roles on various episodic TV shows, including Bonanza, Ben Casey and Dr. Kildare. She also co-starred in the Thriller episode "The Incredible Dr. Markesan" alongside Dick York and cherished the on-set breakfasts she had with Boris Karloff during the shoot. Opting to raise a family, she left showbiz in the mid 1960s. She lived in the LA area and is survived by two sons and husband.
Jean Carson, best remembered for Paula Diedrich, the basso-voiced crook on "A Most Unusual Camera", passed away on 2 November in Palm Springs after a long illness and recent stroke. Jean was a very dear lady who thrived on the devotion of her fan base from The Twilight Zone and The Andy Griffith Show (guest spots on three episodes). She always loved her fan mail, often sending free pictures and sometimes long letters out to her devotees! Jean graciously attended both of our Stars of the Zone Conventions, as well as many of the "Mayberry" events throughout the country, over the years. "Oh, palpitations!" and "Hello, Doll!" were her two signature lines.
In 2002, she appeared alongside the late Jonathan Harris on the convention actor panel discussion. Born in West Virginia, she came out to California in the late 1950s after appearing on many on-Broadway and off-Broadway plays. Rod Serling wrote the TZ episode with her talents specifically in mind, after approaching her backstage after a play she was doing in Los Angeles around 1959. She retired from acting in the early 1980s but continued to act occasionally in community theater and she was actively involved in many organizations. She lived in Palm Desert, California for many years and is survived by two sons. We will indeed miss her.
Lloyd, co-star of "To Serve Man", passed away at his home in Santa Monica, California on 29 October, at age 81. We will be forever grateful for his brilliant characterization of one Michael Chambers, the U.N. cryptographer who finds out the cruel intentions of the Kanamits too late. He is also well-known for a regular role on Dynasty, and for numerous roles as the sophisticated, evil male lead. He worked in television for more than 50 years and was working regularly until very recently. Lloyd attended both of our Stars of the Zone Conventions. Last year, he participated in the panel discussion, where he reminisced about the sadly-long-past days of early television. He was a very gentle person, and a true professional with a strong sense of himself.
Born and raised in Canada, he lived a few doors down from Rod Serling when Rod first came to Los Angeles. Lloyd is survived by his wife and three children. He will, of course, be missed.
John Larch was a talented actor who appeared in three episodes of The Twilight Zone the sophisticated psychiatrist Dr. Elliot Rathmann in "Perchance to Dream" (opposite Richard Conte); the energy-deprived Sheriff Koch in "Dust"; and most memorably, Mr. Fremont, father of irascible son Anthony in "It's a Good Life" (opposite Cloris Leachman and Bill Mumy). At the 2002 “Stars of the Zone Convention” in Hollywood, Suzanne Lloyd remarked that she very much enjoyed working with Larch and missed his presence very much. Larch appeared on hundreds of episodes of television from the early 1950s until the late 1980s, when he retired.
Harold J. Stone
Mr. Stone, who starred as Grant Sheckly in "The Arrival" and played a lot of heavies in various TV shows (The FBI) and movies, died on 18 November at the age of 92 at the Motion Picture Retirement Home in Woodland Hills, CA. Fans of Three’s Company know him for his role as Bustamente, the caustic loan shark who charges Jack Tripper interest for a loan which was paid back within two hours. Stone had been retired from acting for over 20 years. Some sources give his birthdate as 1910.
The world of comedy saw a great loss with the passing of the inimitable Howard Morris. A master voiceover artist and actor, he later turned to directing. He was very much respected by the artistic community in Hollywood and enjoyed a very long and fruitful career. In his later years, he participated in many events related to The Andy Griffith Show, for which he will forever be known as the zany mountain man Ernest T. Bass.
Although in poor health, he attended both of the Hollywood "Stars of the Zone" conventions. On The Twilight Zone, he was George P. Hanley in the episode "I Dream of Genie." The Los Angeles Times mentioned his appearance in this largely forgotten episode in his obituary.
Don Durant passed away after a long battle with lymphoma. We were lucky to have Don at the second “Stars of the Zone” convention in 2004; he was an avid fisherman and usually went fishing in August (hence he was unable to attend BOTH of the shows.)
Don and Ben Cooper were neighbors in Dana Point, California. They came to the show together and signed autographs at the same table. They arrived Friday night, before any of the other celebrities, and had a very good time. Don enjoyed only a brief career in showbiz. He had his own show, Johnny Ringo, for just one season (1959-60), which was cancelled due to sponsorship problems. He left the biz in 1964 and became a financial planner and real estate agent.
Janice Rule, who played schoolteacher Helen Foley in the Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare as a Child", died on October 17, at age 72. She was always at her most convincing playing embittered, neurotic socialites; in later life she turned to psychoanalysing the sort of characters she played. A former showgirl and nightclub singer, Janice Rule played the slatternly "rich bitch" wife of Robert Duvall who drunkenly swallows a string of pearls in The Chase (1966), and was Burt Lancaster's violently vengeful former mistress in The Swimmer (1968).
In Robert Altman's psychological drama Three Women (1977), she was the mute, pregnant artist wife of Robert Fortier, who translates her fears of men into bizarre murals of Aztec-like men and women. Janice Rule was born in Norwood, Ohio on August 15, 1931. She studied ballet and began dancing at Chicago's Chez Paree nightclub when she was 15, and in 1949 was a chorus girl in a Broadway production of "Miss Liberty". Contracted by Warner brothers in 1951, she made her film debut in Goodbye My Fancy (1951), in which she played the 47-year-old Joan Crawford's young rival for the affections of Frank Lovejoy. Joan Crawford's on-screen histrionics continued off-screen with snide comments about her co-star's lack of acting experience. As a result, the young actress botched take after take. "Miss Rule," Joan Crawford told her as her parting shot, "you'd better enjoy making films while you can. I doubt you'll be with us for long."
Janice Rule's other films in the 1950s included Starlift (1951), in which she played a starlet who falls for an air force corporal, and Holiday for Sinners (1952). In A Woman’s Devotion, she was the young wife of a psychologically disturbed, and possibly murderous, war veteran (Ralph Meeker) and in Bell, Book and Candle (1958) she was the frigid beauty who loses James Stewart to the seductive Kim Novak. In 1953, she made her Broadway acting debut as Madge Owens, the ingenue beauty queen in William Inge's Picnic, and went on to appear in several other Broadway productions. Her performance in Michael V. Gazzo's Night Circus (1959), in which she played the neurotic beauty who destroys the lives of others before destroying her own, led to her being cast in similar roles in films. She played a man-hating beatnik seduced by George Peppard in The Subterraneans (1960) and appeared in several Westerns, including Invitation to a Gunfighter (1964) and Alvarez Kelly (1966), in which she was the frustrated sweetheart of a Confederate officer (Richard Widmark), but is charmed by a cattleman (William Holden).
In the 1960s, Janice Rule became interested in psychology and began studying to become a psychoanalyst, eventually gaining a doctorate in the subject from the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute in Los Angeles. She practised in New York, although she continued to make occasional appearances as an actress. One of her last film credits was as the mysterious and dysfunctional mother of bicycle-racing brothers (David Grant and Kevin Costner) in American Flyers (1985). In her youth, Janice Rule was romantically linked to various Hollywood personalities, including Arthur Loew, Jr. and the actors Richard Anderson and Farley Granger. She and Granger entered into what was said to be the briefest engagement in show business. She was married and divorced three times: first to the writer-director Robert Thom, with whom she had a daughter; secondly to the playwright Robert Nash, and thirdly to the actor Ben Gazzara, with whom she had another daughter. Her daughters survive her.
Character actor and favorite Western villain Jack Elam, who menaced good-guy cowboys with his crazy grin, wild eyes and remorseless gunslinging in films such as "Rawhide" and "Wichita," died at his home in Ashland, Oregon on October 20th. Although he was not a sci-fi actor, he played a Martian-decoy on the Twilight Zone episode "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" in 1961.
Most biographies list the actor as 86 years old, but Hassan said he was actually 84, having lied about his age as a youngster to get work.
"He was cantankerous in a great way, in a funny way," Hassan said. "He smoked, drank, all that stuff. He lived one of the best lives I've ever seen."
Elam worked as a Hollywood accountant in the 1940s and had bit parts, usually uncredited, in the films Trailin' West (1949), Quicksand (1950) and One Way Street (1950).
He helped arrange financing for the Robert Preston film The Sundowners in exchange for a larger role, as the husband of actress Cathy Downs. Then came a tough-guy part in 1951's Rawhide, starring Tyrone Power, which helped make him a star.
Elam, born in Miami, Ariz., didn't always play the mean old hombre he also found himself cast as dirty old men and harmless drunks, sometimes with a humorous bent in comedies like Support Your Local Sheriff and The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County.
The actor's own cockeye was the result of a childhood fight in Phoenix. The way he told it, a fellow Boy Scout stabbed him in the left eye with a pencil during a scrape at a troop meeting. He remained blind in that eye, which wandered lazily around its socket.
Elam continued working into his later years in such films as Suburban Commando (1991) and the TV reunion shows Bonanza: The Return (1993) and Bonanza: Under Fire (1995), his last screen credit.
But he complained about the modern villains that evolved in the 1970s, who had shades of psychological problems behind their bad behavior. "The heavy today is usually not my kind of guy," he said in the Los Angeles Times in 1977.
"In the old days, Rory Calhoun was the hero because he was the hero and I was the heavy because I was the heavy and nobody cared what my problem was. And I didn't either," he added. "I robbed the bank because I wanted the money ... I've played all kinds of weirdos but I've never done the quiet, sick type. I never had a problem other than the fact I was just bad." He is survived by a wife and three children.
Suzy Parker was once said to be the highest-paid model in the world, earning more than $60,000 a year in the 1950s; she later embarked on a brief career as an actress in Hollywood.
Blessed with excellent bone structure, copper-coloured hair and seaweed-green eyes, Suzy Parker enchanted the great names of fashion in the 1950s. Christian Dior called her the most beautiful model in the world; she became the signature face for Coco Chanel and was photographed by Richard Avedon and Milton H. Greene. She was born Cecilia Anne Renee Parker on October 28, 1933. Her elder sister was the model Dorian Leigh, who had been a magazine "cover girl" since the 1940s; and it was she who introduced the future Suzy Parker to modeling when she was only 14, taking her to see the modelling agent Eileen Ford. The agent's initial impression was not favorable: she insisted that the teenager was, at 5' 9", too tall to be a successful model.
But Diana Vreeland, the fashion editor at Harpers Bazaar for 25 years and editor-in-chief of Vogue , disagreed; the influential arbiter of style and elegance immediately offered to use the 14 year old in fashion shoots. Suzy Parker soon became one of the most recognizable faces of the 1950s, and a forerunner of today's "supermodels".
It was perhaps inevitable that she should turn to Hollywood, and in 1957 Suzy Parker made her film debut in the musical Funny Face, which starred Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn—Hepburn was to become a good friend. Suzy Parker danced in a number called Think Pink, a send-up of editors such as Diana Vreeland. Further films followed. Also in 1957, Suzy Parker appeared opposite Cary Grant in Kiss Them for Me; the next year she was seen in Ten North Frederick, starring Gary Cooper. She appeared in The Best of Everything (1959); Circle of Deception (1961); The Interns (1962); and Chamber of Horrors (1966). There were also roles on the television screen, including parts in Tarzan and The Twilight Zone — in one episode of The Twilight Zone in 1963, entitled "Number Twelve Looks Just Like You", she played six different characters.
In the film Circle of Deception, a spy thriller, she found herself playing opposite Bradford Dillman. They fell in love, and in 1963 they were married on board an ocean liner by the ship's master. In the late Sixties, she and Dillman abandoned the glamour of Hollywood for a more down-to-earth existence in Montecito, California although Dillman continued to act. For the remainder of her life, the woman who had been one of the world's most famous models shunned the limelight, preferring to be known as Suzy Parker Dillman.
Suzy Parker's marital status, before her union with Dillman, had been somewhat mysterious. In 1958 she had broken both her arms, and her father had been killed, when the car in which they were travelling collided with a train at Saint Augustine, Florida. It then emerged that Suzy Parker had been secretly married, since 1955, to a French journalist and novelist called Pierre La Salle. It did not last, however, telling one interviewer: "Being married to a Frenchman is interesting - you hardly ever see your husband." They divorced in 1961. It also emerged that, at 17, she had eloped from high school to marry a childhood sweetheart, Charles Staton, apparently to escape going to college.
Said a close friend of hers, "She lived the glamorous life and was ready to draw in her horns." She is survived by Dillman, four children and two stepchildren.
Helen Foley (to the left of Rod Serling), was one of Serling's dearest friends. In fact, the Twilight Zone character of episode "Nightmare as a Child" (played by Janice Rule), was named after her. She was also an interviewee on the PBS special "Submitted for Your Approval" in 1995. Ms. Foley's permanent home was in Binghamton, New York, where she taught high school for over 40 years before retiring in 1979.
Those who saw Jonathan Harris at the Stars of the Zone Convention in August 2002 saw the indefatigable guy actively signing autographs from 10 to 5 on Saturday and Sunday. No one was quite sure how many of the "over age 80" actors were able to survive the high temperature roomful of fans at the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn, but Jonathan was among the survivors! Our Show was the last autograph show he did, and the hour-long panel discussion he did on Saturday was one of his last public appearances. Upon being asked to participate in the panel by Tony Albarella (who hosted), he willingly agreed and along with a select group of other actors, generously took an hour away from his photo sales to participate. He was scheduled to attend another show in New Jersey in October but reportedly cancelled for personal reasons. Jonathan was a true class act in every sense of the word. Instantly funny, infinitely talented, and proud posessor of that rare thing called mental agelessness. Undoubtedly due to good genes, he was very active right up until only a few weeks before he passed away. Co-star of "The Silence" (with Franchot Tone) and "Twenty-Two" (with Barbara Nichols), in which he played rather acerbic roles, fans of The Twilight Zone know Jonathan well. On the panel, he sat next to Arlene Martel who also had a part in "Twenty-Two," who wasn't sure if he remembered her … he assured her that he certainly did, because of her famous line, "Room for one more, honey!" That got some laughs from the audience. He talked a bit about the plans to do a two-hour movie version of Lost in Space and how he re-wrote the script to include Dr. Smith (who had originally been written out). He also mentioned his friendship with the great Rod Serling, and recalled how Rod struggled so much to get the networks to understand what he was doing for television. Mr. Harris lived in Encino, California, his home of many years, with his wife of over 60 years, Gertrude. We'll always remember "the man" for his wit and wisdom — he was one of the great ones. Salute, Jonathan.