Tuesday, May 10, 2016

To Absent Friends - William Schallert

William Schallert
1922 - 2016

Actor William Schallert died this past Sunday at the age of 93.  The headline in his New York time obituary described him perfectly: "Prolific actor was father on 'The Patty Duke Show'."

"Prolific" aptly describes the career of William Schallert, as he appeared in literally hundreds of roles in both television and movies.  IMDB lists an incredible 375 acting credits for Schallert dating back to 1947.  It includes schlocky horror movies from the fifties, TV series such as Wagon Train, Twilight Zone, Leave It To Beaver, innumerable westerns,  Star Trek, cartoon voice over work, the Oscar winning movie "In The Heat of the Night", and an appearance as recently as 2014, when he was 92 years old, on Two Broke Girls.  He was and is the voice of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL.  He had a long running role as Professor Pomfritt on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, yet whenever you saw him in whatever movie or show it was, the chances are you probably thought "hey, that's Patty Duke's father."  Like his television daughter, Miss Duke, Schallert also served a term as President of the Screen Actors Guild.

I always am amazed at actors like Schallert, never a big star, but a guy who always found work, and was instantly recognizable.  As I have often said, you couldn't make movies or TV shows without actors like William Schallert.  A quote of his from 2009 was in the Times obituary:  “I’ve never been single-minded in my pursuit of acting as a career,” he said. “Whatever it was that got me hired and kept me working probably was just me.”

Here is that obit:

RIP William Schallert.

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