In the 1950s part of my childhood, the residents on my street finally got television. Then, we had TV andmovies to entertain us. But, it seemed to me, many “character actors”–often present in both sources of fun—were seen again and again. Granted, each film and TV show had its stars, but some members of the supporting cast seemed to be coming through a revolving door separating the two forms of entertainment. Here are some names and pictures of people I saw on a regular basis. Are any of their faces familiar to you, as well? (Note: F/TV means film or television performances)
Harry Morgan. 165 F/TV between 1942 – 1999. His TV seriesincluded: December Bride; Pete and Gladys; The Richard Boone Show; Dragnet; MASH. He had numerous appearances on other shows. His Filmsincluded: The Ox-Bow Incident, High Noon, Inherit The Wind.
Strother Martin. 175 F/TV between 1950 – 1980. His TV seriesappearances included: Fireside Theatre; Schlitz Playhouse; Baretta; Lassie; Perry Mason,; Have Gun – Will Travel; Hotel deParee; Gunsmoke; Bonanza; Death Valley Days. His Filmsincluded: Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, The Wild Bunch, True Grit, Slap Shot. His Best Line: “What we’ve got here is … failure to communicate.”
Rita Moreno. 155 F/TV between 1950 – 2018. Her TV seriesappearances included: Jane the Virgin; OZ; Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego; The Rockford Files; The Electric Company. Her Filmsincluded: West Side Story, The King and I. Finest Achievement: She is one of 12 people who have won: An Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and a Grammy.
Paul Fix. 337 F/TV between 1925 – 1981. In 1936, he was in 17 films. In 1937, he was in 15. He served in World Wars 1 + 2. He was in 26 John Wayne films (eg, Red River) and, for a time, was Wayne’s acting coach. He was Elizabeth Taylor’s Father in “Giant.” He was Judge Taylor in “To Kill A Mockingbird.” He was in episodes of: Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and The Twilight Zone. He was still getting fan mail in 1981 for playing Marshal Micah Torrance in “The Rifleman,” with Chuck Connors. Words of Wisdom: “The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it’s unfamiliar territory.”
Burgess Meredith. 180 F/TV between 1935 – 1996. His bio in www.Imdb.comis fascinating. He is someone with an incredible number of interests and skills. His performance as Mickey in “Rocky” only scratches the surface. Remember his performance in The Twilight Zone episode, “Time Enough at last?” And 3 other episodes. He had significant parts in 6 TV series. Plus, his performance as The Penquin in “Batman.” His advice: Like the seasons of the year, life changes frequently and drastically. You enjoy it or endure it as it comes and goes, as it ebbs and flows.
Ellen Corby. 266 F/TV between 1933 – 1997. Active in films and TV guest episodes until 1971. Then, she was in “The Waltons.” She was nominated for 6, and winner of 3, Emmys. Was a regular in “Trackdown” a cowboy series starring Robert Culp. But Grandma Walton was her major role.
Richard Boone. 71 F/TV between 1949 – 1981. Occasional film work (including films with John Wayne, eg, his last film, “The Shootist”) kept him busy before and after his 4 TV series. The first series, “Medic”, was one of the first medical dramas on TV. “Hec Ramsey” was his fourth effort. In between was his money-maker: “Have Gun – Will Travel.” It was one of the better cowboy shows when they ruled primetime. “The Richard Boone Show” was based on a unique idea. A repertoire of actors presented an original drama each week, with the lead and supporting cast changing hands.
Robert Culp. 169 F/TV between 1953 – 2010. Had more success on TV than in films. “Trackdown” was a very good western on the late 50s. Teamed with Bill Cosby and had a popular show. A couple other TV series went well and his 4 appearances on “Columbo” went very well. Never a big star, but well-liked and handsome.
Robert Loggia. 233 F/TV between 1951 – 2018. Has done a ton of TV work. Had a show where he was lead (T. H. E. Cat), but it only lasted a year. Guest spots on Rockford Files and Magnum, P. I. went well. And then there was “Big.” Hit the jackpot, with Tom Hanks. I’ve never seen him anything but wonderful. “Return to Me” had a great cast, including him, Carroll O’Connor , Minnie Driver, David Duchovny, David Alan Grier and was a fine RomCom.
James Hong. 426 F/TV (that’s not a misprint) between 1954 – 2018. Films, TV work, voice overs –he does everything. You need an Asian-American actor? He’s it. For example, in 1956 he was a guest on “Sky King”; 1956, he was a guest on “The Millionaire”; and in 1958, he was on “Dragnet”, with Jack Webb. In 2016, he was on “Elementary” and “The Blacklist.” I saw all those shows. Mr. Hong has RANGE. Oh, and in “Blade Runner”, when good and bad “guys” are tracking down folks who “made” replicants, Mr. Hong –trying to talk his way out of a tight spot—says “I just do eyes. Just eyes.”, you believe him. And how many folks do you see still working who were a contestant on Groucho Marx’s “You Bet Your Life” AND auditioned for the part of Sulu (1966) in Star Trek? James Hong did.