William Joseph Schallert (born July 6, 1922) is an American character actor who has appeared in many films and in such television series as Perry Mason, The Smurfs, Jefferson Drum, Philip Marlowe, The Rat Patrol, Gunsmoke, Star Trek, The Patty Duke Show, 87th Precinct, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Waltons, The Partridge Family, Bonanza, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Leave It to Beaver, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Love, American Style, Get Smart, Lawman, Combat!, The Wild Wild West and in later years, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Medium and True Blood.
As with many character actors with long careers, Schallert's face is more recognizable than his name.
Early life and careerEdit
William "Bill" Schallert was born in Los Angeles, the son of Edwin Francis Schallert, a longtime drama critic for the Los Angeles Times, and Elza Emily Schallert (née Baumgarten) a magazine writer and radio host. He began acting while a student at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and in 1946, helped found the Circle Theatre with Sydney Chaplin and several fellow students. And, in 1948, Schallert was directed by Sydney's father, the famous Charlie Chaplin in a staging of Somerset Maugham's "Rain."
Schallert has appeared in supporting roles on numerous television programs since the early 1950s, including Gunsmoke (season 3, episode 16 "Twelfth Night") in 1957 and (season 4, episode 16 "Gypsum Hills Feud") in 1958 and The Partridge Family, as a very humble folk-singing guitar player with "Stage Fright", in 1971. He appeared three times as Major Karl Richmond on NBC's Steve Canyon, starring Dean Fredericks in the title role.
Schallert has also appeared in several movies. One of his early cinematic roles is a brief uncredited performance as a police detective in The Reckless Moment (1949) with Joan Bennett and James Mason. He had roles in The Man from Planet X (1951) with Robert Clarke, The Tarnished Angels (1958) with Robert Stack, Blue Denim (1959) with Brandon deWilde, Pillow Talk (1959) with Doris Day and Rock Hudson, Speedway (1968) with Elvis Presley, The Jerk (1979) with Steve Martin, Teachers (1984) with Nick Nolte, and Innerspace (1987; directed by Dante), in which he played Martin Short's doctor. He also played (uncredited) an ambulance attendant in the early minutes of the 1950s sci-fi classic, Them! (1954). He is a founding member of the Circle Players at The Circle Theatre, started in 1946, now known as El centro theatre.
Schallert starred in Philbert, an innovative 1964 TV pilot for ABC, which combined live action camera work and animation. Created by the late great Warner Brothers animator Friz Freleng and directed by Richard Donner, ABC backed out of the series shortly before full production was to begin, though the completed pilot was released in theaters by Warner Brothers as a short subject.
Schallert is probably best known as Martin Lane on The Patty Duke Show. He also appeared as a wise teacher, Mr. Leander Pomfritt on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, and as The Admiral on Get Smart. Coincidentally, on the two former shows he worked opposite actress Jean Byron. Schallert made three guest appearances on CBS's Perry Mason between 1957–1962, including the role of Donald Graves in the series' fifth episode, "The Case of the Sulky Girl," and Dr. Bradbury in the 1961 episode, "The Case of the Misguided Missile."
He is also remembered for playing the role of Nilz Baris in the Star Trek episode "The Trouble With Tribbles". He also appeared in the archive footage of that episode which was used in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations". Schallert appeared in DS9 himself, in the second season episode "Sanctuary", in which he played Varani, a Bajoran musician.
Schallert played the role of Carson Drew in the television series The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977–1979), featuring Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy Drew.
In addition to his onscreen performances, Schallert has done voiceover work for numerous television and radio commercials over the years. Among these were a recurring role as "Milton the Toaster" in animated commercials for Kellogg's Pop-Tarts.
Schallert has the rare distinction of appearing in both the original movie version of In The Heat of The Night (1967) and the later NBC TV version in 1992. In 2004, TV Guide recognized Schallert's portrayal of Martin Lane on The Patty Duke Show as No. 39 on its list of "50 Greatest TV Dads."
Later career / SAG PresidentEdit
Schallert served as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) from 1979 to 1981, and has remained active in SAG projects since then, including serving as a Trustee of the SAG Pension and Health Plans since 1983, and of the Motion Picture and Television Fund since 1977. (His former co-star and television daughter, Patty Duke, also served as SAG president from 1985 to 1988.) During Schallert's tenure as SAG President, he founded the Committee for Performers with Disabilities, and in 1993, he was awarded the Ralph Morgan Award for service to the Guild.
Schallert has also continued to work steadily as an actor in later life, appearing in a 2008 episode of How I Met Your Mother, the HBO television movie Recount (2008) as U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, the HBO series True Blood and his distinctive voice continues to bring him work for commercial and animation voiceovers. 2009 appearances included a guest role on "Desperate Housewives" on March 15, 2009, in which he played the role of a small newspaper editor, and he also appeared in an episode of According to Jim. More recently, he appeared in the January 21, 2010 pilot episode of The Deep End on ABC as a retiring CEO with Alzheimer's Disease. He also made an appearance on Medium on the February 5, 2010 episode and a cameo on the June 26, 2011 season premiere of True Blood as the Mayor of Bon Temps. He played Max Devore, a secondary antagonist, in the A&E adaptation of Bag of Bones (based on the Stephen King novel).
In 2010, Schallert made a series of Public Service Announcement videos with Patty Duke and other castmates from The Patty Duke Show for the Social Security Administration, which can be found at www.ssa.gov.
Since 1949, Schallert has been married to actress Leah Waggner, who has appeared with him in various shows, including episodes of The Patty Duke Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show. They have four children.