Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Nose-talgia #12: William Schallert -- Happy Birthday! 92 and still going strong!

An extra-special Happy Birthday greeting goes out to today to veteran movie, TV and stage actor William Schallert, a familiar face to audiences since the late 1940s.  Mr. Schallert turns 92 today!

In addition to his array of movie roles, including characters in films such as The High and the Mighty, Gog, Riot in Cell Block 11, In The Heat of the Night and as a compassionate doctor treating Grant Williams as The Incredible Shrinking Man, Schallert has worked non-stop in all television genres.  His credits are endless, including a recent cameo on the CBS hit comedy 2 Broke Girls this year.  You just have to take a look at the list of his roles -- it's mind-boggling and unbelievably impressive. Truly...just click here and have a look!

We'll present a few clips here to remind you of William Schallert's awesome body of work, but as you can imagine, there are just too many to do him full justice!

Here are a couple of movie trailers from interesting mid-1950s melodrama in which he appeared:

And now into his TV work.  One of his famous early gigs was his role as understanding schoolteacher Mr. Pomfritt in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, co-starring Dwayne Hickman and Bob Denver.

William Schallert's most beloved role was no doubt his character of Martin Lane on The Patty Duke Show for three seasons beginning in 1963.  He played the father of Patty and -- in an occasional dual role of his own -- her identical cousin Cathy, too.  Schallert's Martin Lane was wise, understanding, urbane and intelligent -- he was a newspaper editor -- and one of the very best TV fathers ever, thanks in large part to the generous portion of personal charm and warmth brought by Schallert to the role.

In 1998 the entire cast reunited for a TV movie called The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights:

An even more recent reunion took place on behalf of the Social Security Administration, as Patty Duke and several of the cast got back together in 2010 to make several nostalgic public service announcements on behalf of Medicare:

One very important aspect of William Schallert's long career is his continuing activism on behalf of the Screen Actors Guild and his commitment to ethical conduct and fair play for all citizens.  In 2010 he became an on-air spokesman for a California group advocating for single-payer healthcare in California.

You'll enjoy this clip of Schallert as Gen. Robert E. Lee from the popular 1986 miniseries North and South: Book 2, alongside Lloyd Bridges as Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Patrick Swayze as a dashing Rebel agent:

Last but certainly not least, we bring you the appearance that Schallert has claimed gets him the most attention from fans everywhere, and we don't doubt it.  Of course, it's from Star Trek and his episode just happens to be one of the most popular from the series, the unforgettable "The Trouble with Tribbles" from 1967.  His work as the uptight interstellar bureaucrat Nilz Baris is classic spot-on Schallert and assures his place forever in the annals of Popular Culture, not to mention that he also guested on an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space 9 and appeared in clips from their Tribbles tribute episode!  Solid gold credentials!

Again, check out the nearly endless array of William Schallert's TV and movie credits -- right here.  Is he the most prolific actor in TV's history?  If he isn't, he certainly has got to be in the topmost tier.  Fittingly, the Television Academy sat him down two years ago for a comprehensive interview about his incredible television legacy.  Check out his multi-part conversation at the Archive of American Television; click here.  There is also a wonderful two-part interview with Schallert beginning here -- it's terrific, and thanks to Sam Tweedle of Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict for doing it!

Mr. Schallert also recently started his own personal website which you should definitely visit -- click here! Lots of great information, wonderful photos and a tremendous selection of clips!  Great job!

There are nothing but good things to be said about William Schallert.  Talented, professional, caring, committed, kind, involved, dedicated -- those things are all William Schallert.

Our very best wishes to him for a wonderfully Happy Birthday today, and many more!

P.S.:  The clips here are but a tiny sampling of everything available on Mr. Schallert -- check out YouTube and other online video sources for more evidence of his prolific talent.  Many more are available linked at Mr. Schallert's own website, too!

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