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William Schallert, Actor, 1922 – 2016

by on May 10, 2016

Veteran character actor William Schallert passed away on Sunday, May 8, 2016, at the age of 93. His career spanned for more than 6 decades, earning credits on stage, screens large and small, and in voice-over. He was born on July 6, 1922, in Los Angeles, CA, shifting his career goal from composer to actor while in college at UCLA, and began earning credits in features in 1947, and soon established a reputation as an intense authority figure in a supporting role, especially in 1950’s sci-fi genre films such as The Man From Planet X, Gog, and The Incredible Shrinking Man; and in TV shows such as The Patty Duke Show (where he played harried father Martin Lane) and The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (where he played the nemesis of the title character, teacher Leander Pomfritt). He also earned a permanent place in Star Trek fandom as Nilz Baris, a Federation functionary in the famed episode “The Trouble with Tribbles.” However, his career was remarkable for its consistency even if he never achieved household name status; he worked nearly continuously since the start of his career, with some of his latest credits including the HBO series True Blood and the sitcom 2 Broke Girls.

Mr. Schallert was also notable for being president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1979 to 1981, overseeing the union during a bitter and protracted strike in 1980 that ultimately led to a re-election defeat by Ed Asner in 1981.

Mr. Schallert’s voiceover credits were equally diverse, ranging from several Hanna-Barbera cartoons (including Dinky Dog and some Smurfs cartoons), Fish Police, The Angry Beavers, The Zeta Project, and the Green Lantern: First Flight direct-to-video feature. Superhero fans would also have seen him as Retired Man/Scarlet Cyclone in the (mostly) comedic live-action Legends of the Superheroes TV specials from the late 1970’s (which also reunited Adam West, Burt Ward, and Frank Gorshin from the 1966 Batman TV series)

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