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Actor William Schallert Dead at 93

Schallert, Who Enjoyed an Eight Decade Career, is Most Remembered for Playing 'Popo' on 'The Patty Duke Show'

Just six weeks after the passing of Patty Duke comes word that her TV father, William Schallert, has died at the age of 93. He passed away at his home in Pacific Palisades, California, on Sunday, said his son, Edwin.

Born in Los Angeles on July 6, 1922, William Schallert began acting while a student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and, in 1946, helped found the Circle Theatre with Sydney Chaplin and several fellow students. He made his big screen debut in an uncredited role in “The Foxes of Harrow” in 1947, and his early film roles included “Mighty Joe Young” (1949), John Huston’s “The Red Badge of Courage” (1951), “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952), “The Man from Planet X” (1951), “Them!” (1954) and “The Incredible Shrinking Man” (1957).

Schallert’s early guest roles on television included series like “Fireside Theatre,” “Space Patrol,” “Mr. and Mrs. North,” “Four Star Playhouse,” “It’s a Great Life” and “Lux Video Theatre.” He made multiple appearances in series like westerns “The Adventures of Jim Bowie,” “Wanted: Dead or Alive” and “Gunsmoke;” the original “Hawaii Five-O;” “Perry Mason;” and sitcoms “The Burns and Allen Show” and “Get Smart” (not to mention hundreds of other TV appearances). And he guest starred on iconic “Star Trek” episode “The Trouble with Tribbles.” But it was Schallert’s three season stint as Martin Lane (aka “Popo”) on ABC’s “The Patty Duke Show” from 1963 to 1966 that he is most remembered for.

Schallert, additionally, had a recurring role on 1959-1963 CBS sitcom “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” and was a series regular on sitcoms “The Nancy Walker Show,” “The New Gidget” and “Almost Home” (originally called “The Torkelsons”), and “The Hardy Boys Mysteries.” He appeared in miniseries “North and South, Book II” and “War and Remembrance;” and his final TV role was a guest spot on sitcom “2 Broke Girls” in 2014.

Schallert also served as SAG president from 1979-81, and during his tenure he founded the Committee for Performers with Disabilities.

He married actress Leah Waggner, whom he met while at “The Circle Theatre,” in 1949. She died last year. In addition to Edwin, his survivors include other sons Joseph, Mark and Brendan and seven grandchildren.

Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of weekly column “Mr. Television” for Campaign US (www.campaignlive.com). Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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  1. I think this man appeared in more television series than anyone else historically. An amazing career.