April 7, 2006, Newsletter Issue #56: Actor Ray Walston dies

Tip of the Week

January 1, 2001. Ray Walston, who played the lovable extraterrestrial Uncle Martin on the 1960s sitcom "My Favorite Martian" and the devil in the Broadway musical "Damn Yankees," has died. He was 86. The actor, who died Monday at his home in Beverly Hills, was a bantam figure with an improbably deep, authoritative voice. He made a career playing kind-hearted cranks, including the acerbic Judge Henry Bone in the TV series "Picket Fences" and the crusty, slacker-hating history teacher Mr. Hand in the 1982 comedy "Fast Times At Ridgemont High." He won a Tony in 1955 for "Damn Yankees" and two successive Emmys in 1995-96 for "Picket Fences." "Ray was a beloved friend and colleague and we´re deeply saddened at his passing," said producer David E. Kelley, the show´s creator.
In "My Favorite Martian," Walston played opposite Bill Bixby as a Martian stranded on Earth. His antennae-sprouting alien character masqueraded as Bixby´s "Uncle Martin" and spent most of his time trying to conceal his identity from curious Earthlings. Walston once said he took the role for the money. When the series went off the air in 1966 after a three-year run, the actor found himself typecast and returned to the stage for several years before re-emerging with a succession of solid supporting roles in movies and on television. It took Walston decades to receive award recognition from the Hollywood community. "I have 30 seconds to tell you I have been waiting 60 years to get on this stage," he said in an Emmy acceptance speech.

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