I watched a lot of tv growing up and it’s no secret that I became very fond of character actors. There was one character actor in particular, William Schallert, that just seemed to be everywhere during my childhood, whether it was a current show or rerun I was watching. He popped up on The Rifleman, Perry Mason, Star Trek, Get Smart, The Patty Duke Show (of course), and guest starred on too many other shows for me to count. He passed away this week (May 8th) at the age of 93.
According to IMDB, William Schallert had 375 acting credits to his name. He was a prolific actor. In addition, he was SAG president for a few years (1979-81). While you would think he would be most known for playing Martin Lane, father to Patty Lane (played by Patty Duke) on The Patty Duke Show, William Schallert, himself, has said that his role as Nilz Baris, a bureaucrat for the United Federation of Planets in the Star Trek episode “The Trouble With Tribbles”.
It’s hard for me to say what role I enjoyed William Schallert best in. The one that immediately comes to mind is clearly Martin Lane on The Patty Duke Show, but I also loved his hilarious role as the doddering Admiral Harold Harmon Hargrade, the first Chief of CONTROL, on Get Smart and his role as the spineless Nilz Baris on Star Trek. No matter what his role, comedy, drama, bit part or lead, I always enjoyed what William Schallert brought to his roles. So much so that my husband and I get a kick out of spotting him in the various shows and movies we watch, yelling “William Schallert alert!” when we do.
William Schallert was a talent that will be missed, may he rest in peace.
If you’d like to view some of William Schallert’s roles, you can find them on dvd, instant video at Amazon, or all over MeTV.