William Schallert

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, William Schallert (1922-2016) talks of wanting to be a composer and stumbling upon acting while studying at UCLA. He describes his involvement with the Circle Theater in Los Angeles, his early film roles, and his first television appearances on Space Patrol, Matinee Theater, Playhouse 90, and Climax! He recalls working on several television Westerns, making memorable appearances on Get Smart and Star Trek, and playing "Mr. Leander Pomfritt" on T he Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Schallert then details his time on The Patty Duke Show, where he played Patty Duke's father, "Martin Lane." He speaks of his voiceover career, which includes voicing "Milton the Toaster," and outlines some of his more recent television work. Amy Harrington conducted the interview on February 29, 2012 in Pacific Palisades, CA.

"Just make sure you need to act. It's not enough to like it; it's not enough to want it; it's got to satisfy a real need in you. Because otherwise you won't be able to tolerate the bullshit, which you'll inevitably find... Acting has to satisfy something really deep inside you so you know that this is it." 

People Talking About ...
Highlights
William Schallert on why "Martin Lane" on The Patty Duke Show resonated with audiences
William Schallert on how scenes with the identical cousins were shot in The Patty Duke Show
William Schallert on appearing on the Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles"
William Schallert on his voiceover work as "Milton the Toaster"
William Schallert on feeling like he could act, but that he didn't look like an actor
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on wanting to be a composer and stumbling upon acting while attending UCLA; on being one of the founding members of The Circle Theatre in Los Angeles
On his father's prominent newspaper role and his last name being recognized in Hollywood; on plays in which he acted; on his early movie roles ("The Foxes of Harrow", "The Man From Planet X"); on getting cut from "Singin' in the Rain"
On his early TV roles in Space Patrol; on being a character actor and not feeling typecast; on working on Matinee Theater, Playhouse 90, and Climax!; on the end of live anthology dramas
On working with Rod Serling and Charlton Heston; on appearing on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show

Chapter 2

On his work in the TV western Gunsmoke; on often playing several roles on one series
On playing "Mr. Leander Pomfritt" on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis; on reprising his role for a TV movie
On TV comedy in the 1950s and '60s; on his work on Hennesey, The Jack Benny Program,The Red Skelton Show, and The Lucy Show; on working with Johnny Carson
On how he got hired for The Patty Duke Show; on working with animator Friz Freleng on Philbert (Three's a Crowd)
On the premise, theme song, production, and stars of The Patty Duke Show; on how the show reflected the era; on working with writer Sidney Sheldon

Chapter 3

On his co-stars on The Patty Duke Show; on how scenes with the identical cousins were shot; on his favorite episodes; on reuniting with Patty Duke on The Torkelsons
On appearing on the Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles", Get Smart, and on working with Elvis Presley on "Speedway"
On his voiceover work; on voicing "Milton the Toaster"; on voicing characters on The Smurfs; on The Nancy Walker Show; on working on The Nancy Drew Mysteries; on playing "Robert E. Lee" on the miniseries North and South (Book II)
On his tenure as President of SAG; on starting the Committee for Performers with Disabilities; on chairing a committee to merge SAG and AFTRA; on Ed Asner succeeding him as President of SAG
On Patty Duke running for SAG office; on the mission of SAG; on how he finds work nowadays (2012)

Chapter 4

On working on True Blood; on his work in the Stephen King TV miniseries Bag of Bones; on appearing on According to Jim
On the longevity of his career; on something his fans may not know about him; on the role he's most remembered for; on getting recognized; on advice to aspiring actors
On his proudest achievement, biggest regret, and how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Academy Awards, The

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William Schallert on getting a shout-out from Johnny Carson when Carson hosted The Academy Awards

Climax!

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William Schallert on working on Climax!

George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The

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William Schallert on appearing on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show

Get Smart

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William Schallert on memorable appearances on Get Smart

Gunsmoke

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William Schallert on his work in the TV western Gunsmoke

Hennesey

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William Schallert on his work on Hennesey, directed by Jackie Cooper

Jack Benny Program, The

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William Schallert on working with Jack Benny

Lucy Show, The

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William Schallert on working with Lucille Ball on The Lucy Show

Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The

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William Schallert on being a regular on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
William Schallert on playing "Mr. Leander Pomfritt" on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis; on his cast-mates

NBC Matinee Theater

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William Schallert on working on Matinee Theater

Nancy Walker Show, The

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William Schallert on The Nancy Walker Show

North and South

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William Schallert on playing "Robert E. Lee" on the miniseries North and South II

Patty Duke Show, The

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William Schallert on being second choice for many of the roles for which he's well known, including his role on The Patty Duke Show
William Schallert on how he got hired for The Patty Duke Show
William Schallert on how he got the role for The Patty Duke Show; on the premise and theme song of the show
William Schallert on why The Patty Duke Show shot in New York; on Patty Duke and his character on the show
William Schallert on his co-stars on The Patty Duke Show; on how scenes with the identical cousins were shot; on his favorite episodes and his character "Martin Lane"; on reuniting for a TV movie of The Patty Duke Show

Playhouse 90

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William Schallert on working on the first episode of Playhouse 90
William Schallert on memories of working on Playhouse 90

Red Skelton Show, The

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William Schallert on working with Red Skelton on The Red Skelton Show

Space Patrol

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William Schallert on playing villains on live TV's Space Patrol

Star Trek

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William Schallert on appearing on the Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles"
William Schallert on being remembered for working on Star Trek

Three's A Crowd

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William Schallert on the pilot Philbert (Three's a A Crowd)

Torkelsons, The

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William Schallert on reuniting with Patty Duke on The Torkelsons

True Blood

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William Schallert on working on True Blood

Wanted: Dead or Alive

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William Schallert on his work in the TV western Wanted: Dead or Alive
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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William Schallert on his character(s) "Martin Lane" (and his identical brother) on The Patty Duke Show
William Schallert on why "Martin Lane" on The Patty Duke Show resonated with audiences
William Schallert on playing "Admiral Hargrade" on Get Smart

Diversity in Television

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William Schallert on starting the Committee for Performers with Disabilities

Industry Crossroads

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William Schallert on his tenure as President of SAG and a strike

Industry Strikes

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William Schallert on his tenure as President of SAG and a strike

People with Disabilities

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William Schallert on starting the Committee for Performers with Disabilities

Pop Culture

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William Schallert on the theme song of The Patty Duke Show
William Schallert on the music featured on The Patty Duke Show
William Schallert on his character(s) "Martin Lane" (and his identical brother) on The Patty Duke Show
William Schallert on why "Martin Lane" on The Patty Duke Show resonated with audiences
William Schallert on playing "Admiral Hargrade" on Get Smart

Rock 'n' Roll on TV (1950s & '60s)

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William Schallert on the music featured on The Patty Duke Show

TV Theme Songs

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William Schallert on the theme song of The Patty Duke Show

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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William Schallert on working on Matinee Theater
William Schallert on working in live TV on Matinee Theater
William Schallert on appearing on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
William Schallert on appearing on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show

Technological Innovation

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William Schallert on how scenes with the identical cousins were shot in The Patty Duke Show

Television Industry

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William Schallert on his tenure as President of SAG and a strike
Professions

Actor

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William Schallert on being a character actor and not feeling typecast
William Schallert on feeling like he could act, but that he didn't look like an actor
William Schallert on often playing several roles on one series
William Schallert on how he creates different personas
William Schallert on his tenure as President of SAG; on chairing a committee to merge SAG and AFTRA
William Schallert on the mission of SAG
William Schallert on how he gets jobs nowadays (2012)
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

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William Schallert on working in live TV on Matinee Theater

Comedy Series

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William Schallert on why The Patty Duke Show shot in New York; on Patty Duke and his character on the show
William Schallert on how he got the role for The Patty Duke Show; on the premise and theme song of the show
William Schallert on his co-stars on The Patty Duke Show; on how scenes with the identical cousins were shot; on his favorite episodes and his character "Martin Lane"; on reuniting for a TV movie of The Patty Duke Show

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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William Schallert on his work in the Stephen King TV miniseries Bag of Bones

Western Series

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William Schallert on working on TV Westerns
People

Don Adams

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William Schallert on working with Don Adams on Get Smart

Gracie Allen

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William Schallert on appearing on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show

Rod Amateau

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William Schallert on being directed by Rod Amateau on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis

Danny Arnold

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William Schallert on working with Danny Arnold in The Circle Theatre

Edward Asner

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William Schallert on Ed Asner succeeding him as President of SAG

Jim Backus

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William Schallert on Richard Donner teaching him a highbrow accent, like Jim Backus used on Gilligan's Island

Alan Ball

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William Schallert on Alan Ball hiring him to work on True Blood

Lucille Ball

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William Schallert on working with Lucille Ball on The Lucy Show

Warren Beatty

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William Schallert on Warren Beatty on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis

Jack Benny

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William Schallert on working with Jack Benny

Pierce Brosnan

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William Schallert on his work in the Stephen King TV miniseries Bag of Bones

George Burns

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William Schallert on appearing on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show

Johnny Carson

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William Schallert on working with Johnny Carson

Jackie Cooper

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William Schallert on his work on Hennesey, directed by Jackie Cooper

Bob Denver

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William Schallert on his cast-mates on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - Bob Denver; on how "Maynard" reflected the times

Richard Donner

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William Schallert on Richard Donner teaching him a highbrow accent, like Jim Backus used on Gilligan's Island

Patty Duke

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William Schallert on working with Patty Duke on The Patty Duke Show
William Schallert on why The Patty Duke Show shot in New York; on her work in "The Miracle Worker" and how he got along with her on The Patty Duke Show
William Schallert on reuniting with Patty Duke on The Torkelsons
William Schallert on why "Martin Lane" on The Patty Duke Show resonated with audiences
William Schallert on Patty Duke running for SAG office

Nancy Dussault

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William Schallert on his proudest professional achievement - the musical "Candide"

Frank Faylen

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William Schallert on his cast-mates on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - Frank Faylen

John Frankenheimer

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William Schallert on working on Playhouse 90

Friz Freleng

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William Schallert on working with animator Friz Freleng on Philbert (Three's a Crowd)

Charlton Heston

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William Schallert on "Touch of Evil", a movie he was supposed to be in with Charlton Heston and Orson Welles
William Schallert on working with Charlton Heston on Climax!

Dwayne Hickman

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William Schallert on his cast-mates on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - Dwayne Hickman

Geri Jewell

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William Schallert on starting the Committee for Performers with Disabilities and Geri Jewell getting a regular role on The Facts of Life

Stephen King

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William Schallert on his work in the Stephen King TV miniseries Bag of Bones

Norman Lear

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William Schallert on The Nancy Walker Show and being under contract for Norman Lear

Martin Manulis

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William Schallert on working with producer Martin Manulis

Albert McCleery

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William Schallert on working on Matinee Theater

Paul O'Keefe

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William Schallert on Paul O'Keefe "Ross Lane" on The Patty Duke Show

Elvis Presley

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William Schallert on working with Elvis Presley on "Speedway"

Gene Reynolds

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William Schallert on working on Matinee Theater

Rod Serling

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William Schallert on working with Rod Serling

William Shatner

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William Schallert on appearing on the Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles"

Sidney Sheldon

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William Schallert on Sidney Sheldon writing The Patty Duke Show
William Schallert on working with writer Sidney Sheldon on The Patty Duke Show

Red Skelton

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William Schallert on working with Red Skelton

McLean Stevenson

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William Schallert on getting a role on The New Gidget because McLean Stevenson turned it down

Peter Strauss

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William Schallert on one of his proudest professional achievements - "The Mind with a Dirty Man" - a play with Peter Strauss

Vivian Vance

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William Schallert on working with Vivian Vance on The Lucy Show

Nancy Walker

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William Schallert on The Nancy Walker Show and being under contract for Norman Lear

Dennis Weaver

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William Schallert on his work in the TV western Gunsmoke and copying Dennis Weaver's accent

Orson Welles

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William Schallert on "Touch of Evil", a movie he was supposed to be in with Charlton Heston and Orson Welles

Mae West

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William Schallert on working with Mae West on The Red Skelton Show

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