William Schallert

Active - 1949 - 2009  |   Born - Jul 6, 1922 in Los Angeles, California  |   Died - May 8, 2016   |   Genres - Drama, Science Fiction, Comedy, Mystery, Western

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The son of the Los Angeles Times' drama editor, William Schallert was, along with Sydney Chaplin, one of the co-founders of Hollywood's highly regarded Circle Theatre troupe. Sent to Great Britain on a Fulbright Fellowship to study British repertory theatre, Schallert guest-lectured at Oxford on several occasion before heading home. A character actor of almost intimidating versatility, Schallert began his long film and TV career in 1951. While he appeared in films of every variety, Schallert was most closely associated with the many doctors (mad or otherwise), lab technicians and scientific experts that he played in such science fiction endeavors as The Man From Planet X (1951), Gog (1954), Them! (1954) The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) and The Monolith Monsters (1959). Director Joe Dante paid homage to Schallert's prolific horror-flick work by casting the actor in his Matinee, where he played yet another dabbler in Things Man Is Not Meant to Know in the film-within-a-film "Mant." Schallert's hundreds television credits could fill a book in themselves; the Nickelodeon cable network once tried to put together a montage of the actor's guest star appearances, touching only the tip of the iceberg. He was a regular on such series as Dobie Gillis (as literature teacher Mr. Pomfrit, who always dismissed his class as though announcing the beginning of the Indy 500), Get Smart (as a senile 97-year-old Navy admiral), The Nancy Drew Mysteries (as Nancy's attorney father) The New Gidget (as Gidget's professor father) The Nancy Walker Show, Little Women and Santa Barbara. His most famous TV role was as Patty Lane's ever-patient newspaper-editor dad on The Patty Duke Show, which ran from 1963 through 1966; over twenty years later, Mr. Schallert and Ms. Duke were touchingly reunited--again as father and daughter--on an episode of The Torkelsons (1991-92). William Schallert once served as president of the Screen Actors' Guild, a position later held...by Patty Duke. Shallert continued acting until the early 2010s; he died in 2016, at age 93.

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