William Schallert, a familiar face in television and film thanks to roles on “The Patty Duke Show,” “Star Trek,” and many more, died on Sunday at age 93, his son said.
The veteran character actor died in Pacific Palisades, California, Edwin Schallert confirmed. No details related to cause of death were provided.
Fans across generations mourned his death, noting that it came just a month after the passing of his television daughter, Patty Duke. Schallert’s role as patriarch Martin Lane on the popular 1960s show was among his most memorable, landing him on TV Guide’s 2004 list of 50 Greatest TV Dads and setting the stage for a career playing authority figures.
A recent recurring role on “True Blood” cast him as the mayor of Bon Temps, Louisiana, a testament to his enduring appeal and work ethic.
Schallert was born on July 6, 1922. His father Edwin Schallert, was a reviewer and columnist for the Los Angeles Times. His mother, Elza, had her own radio show and wrote for movie fan magazines, according to Hollywood Reporter.
He began his career with film roles in the 1940s and worked fairly consistently through 2014, appearing in recent shows including “2 Broke Girls,” “Desperate Housewives,” “How I Met Your Mother,” and “My Name is Earl.”
In addition to “The Patty Duke Show,” earlier generations of television viewers might recognize him from parts in “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” “Leave It to Beaver,” “The Waltons,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Wild Wild West,” “Get Smart” and “Hawaii Five-O.”
He earned a spot in the “Star Trek” hall of fame for his role as Nilz Baris in the popular episode from the original series, “The Trouble with Tribbles.” Schallert later turned up as Baris in the “Deep Space Nine” hour “Trials and Tribble-ations,” and then in another guest star role as Varani in the DS9 episode “Sanctuary.”
He also appeared in movies, including the 1967 Oscar-winning best picture “In the Heat of the Night” as small-town Mississippi mayor Webb Schubert.
He served as as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1979 to 1981, overseeing a three-month strike that centered around rates and residuals for pay TV, videocassettes and videodiscs and included a successful boycott of the year’s prime time Emmy Awards, according to Variety. When the strike failed, Schallert responded by leading an effort to merge the union with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
“Bill Schallert’s remarkable career put him in the rare position of being able to understand actors at all levels of the business,” SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement.
“He worked virtually every SAG contract, he appeared opposite movie stars and background performers, he was a series regular and an uncredited bit player. He turned this knowledge and experience into service for his fellow actors. Despite leading the union during a very difficult time, Bill maintained his integrity and commitment, a commitment that extended into many more years of board service. I am especially pleased that Bill lived long enough to see the SAG-AFTRA merger become a reality as he was one of the pioneers of that effort.”