While trying to think of a good post for today (I didn’t want to miss yet another one on account of the October Writing challenge I’m still working with!), I thought perhaps I’d fall back on an idea I’ve had for a while, that of highlighting another fabulous Perry guest-star.
It turns out this is a pretty good time for highlighting too, as I chose Milton Selzer, and he was born, as well as died, right around this time of year.
He is certainly among the most prolific of television’s character actors. I’m always seeing him pop up on something, from The Untouchables to The Fugitive to Hawaii 5-O. And he always turns out a brilliant performance, no matter whether he plays good guys or bad.
Born in 1918, Milton lived in Lowell, Massachusetts and then in Portsmouth, New Hampshire with his family. After serving in World War II, Milton got his start, as did many classic character actors, on Broadway.
Although he appeared in several movies after moving to Los Angeles, it’s largely his astounding amount of television guest-spots for which Milton is most strongly remembered. Just like with Richard Anderson and H.M. Wynant, Milton is everywhere. He appeared in several anthology shows in the 1950s, most of the major series during the 1960s and 1970s, and continued acting on into the 1990s. And unlike H.M., he even got in some regular roles in series, such as The Famous Teddy Z and Valley of the Dolls. (Wow, I didn’t know they made a whole series about that.)
To Perry fans, he is both Dr. Aaron Stuart in The Decadent Dean and Dr. Max Taylor in The Bullied Bowler. Unfortunately, it’s been so long since I’ve seen the latter episode that I can’t remember much about his character in that. (I’m told he’s the murder victim.) But I watch The Decadent Dean semi-frequently and it’s one of my favorite season 7 ventures.
Aaron Stuart is a great character, a man with so much stress being piled on him that he is losing his patience, and seriously, who can blame him? But he never loses his integrity or compassion. Even after everything Tobin Wade does to him, he feels no malice. He is absolutely sickened at the very thought of having killed a man, even if it was an accident. As he says to the fellow at the mortgage company, he hasn’t even begun to pay. He feels he will be atoning for it the rest of his life.
I usually see Milton play good guys, or at worst, neutral guys or antiheroes or down-on-their-luck average Joes. I’ve very rarely seen him play outright bad guys, except on The Wild Wild West. But, as he seems to have played many bad guys as well as many good, I’m sure I’ll be running across more of them eventually. I am very impressed with every one of his roles; they are always very believable.
He has appeared with prominent Perry alumni in several other shows, including Raymond Burr on Ironside, Richard Anderson on The Six Million Dollar Man, and H.M. Wynant (I’ll count him since Sampson recurs!) on Hawaii 5-O.
He was married to the same woman from 1953 to his death in 2006, which is awesome. According to the information I found, he was cremated.
He has left an astonishing legacy of appearances in media, according to IMDB.com, and I bet there’s still more that they don’t yet have listed. I look forward to discovering him in many more shows, and rediscovering him in current favorite episodes, in the future.