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Whit Bissell 1909-1996
 


Country : New York City, New York
Profession : Actor
Date of birth : 1909-10-25
Date of death : 1996-03-05
Cause of Death : Parkinson's disease

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Whitner Nutting "Whit" Bissell (25 October, 1909 – 5 March 1996) was an American actor.

Early life

Born in New York City, Bissell trained with the Carolina Playmakers, a theatrical organization associated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He had a number of roles in Broadway theatre, including the Air Force show Winged Victory, when he was a private.

Career

In a career that began in 1943 with the film Holy Matrimony, Bissell appeared in literally hundreds of films and television series episodes, including Sheriff of Cochise and Rod Cameron's syndicated City Detective (1955), The Brothers Brannagan (1960), and The DuPont Show with June Allyson (also 1960).

Viewers of 1950s low-budget science fiction, horror films and B movies know him as one of "those actors" (perhaps the actor) that always shows up somewhere in such movies. Some of the most well-known of these roles were as a mad scientist in the 1957 film I Was a Teenage Werewolf, as well as Professor Frankenstein in I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957). He also played the doctor who treats Kevin McCarthy's character in the 1956 classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and in the original 1954 Creature from the Black Lagoon.

In 1960, he appeared in George Pál's production of The Time Machine, as Walter Kemp, one of the Time Traveler's dining friends. Thirty-three years later, in the Time Machine: The Journey Back, reunited with Rod Taylor and Alan Young from the original, he recreated his role as Walter in the opening sequence. It was Bissell's last acting performance.

Bissell was a regular for the third and fourth seasons of the television series Bachelor Father (1959-1961), costarring John Forsythe, Noreen Corcoran, and Sammee Tong. He appeared as a guest star in practically every dramatic television series that aired between the early 1950s and the mid 1970s, with more sporadic appearances after that. In 1959, he appeared on NBC's science fiction series The Man and the Challenge. In 1961, he guest starred in the episode "A Fool for a Client" on James Whitmore's The Law and Mr. Jones legal drama on ABC.

His most prominent television role came when he co-starred as General Heywood Kirk in the 1966-1967 science-fiction television series The Time Tunnel. He often played silver-haired figures of authority, here as in many other roles (as described by Allmovie), "instantly establishing his standard screen characterization of fussy officiousness," leavened in many instances with a military bearing. Other examples of such authoritative roles as military or police officials, include appearances in The Manchurian Candidate, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Outer Limits.

Bissell appeared in the classic episode "The Trouble with Tribbles" of Star Trek, footage of which was re-used in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's "Trials and Tribble-ations".

Bissell's most-screened motion[citation needed] picture role is as the undertaker (who sees every man, no matter his race, as "just another future customer") in The Magnificent Seven (1960).

Bissell received a life career award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films in 1994. He also served for many years on the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild, as well as representing the actors branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board of governors.

Personal life

Bissell was married three times and had three daughters and a stepson.

Bissell died in 1996 in Woodland Hills, California from the effects of Parkinson's disease. He was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

TELEVISION
Bachelor Father Bert Loomis (1959-61)
The Time Tunnel Army Lt. Gen. Heywood Kirk (1966-67)

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter (13-May-1979)
Ike (3-May-1979)
Casey's Shadow (17-Mar-1978)
Flood! (24-Nov-1976)
Psychic Killer (1975)
Soylent Green (19-Apr-1973)
Pete 'n' Tilly (17-Dec-1972)
City Beneath the Sea (25-Jan-1971)
The Andersonville Trial (17-May-1970)
Airport (5-Mar-1970)
5 Card Stud (31-Jul-1968)
A Covenant with Death (15-Feb-1967)
Fluffy (27-Jun-1965)
The Hallelujah Trail (23-Jun-1965)
Where Love Has Gone (2-Nov-1964)
Advance to the Rear (15-Apr-1964)
Seven Days in May (12-Feb-1964)
Hud (28-May-1963)
Spencer's Mountain (16-May-1963)
Birdman of Alcatraz (3-Jul-1962)
The Magnificent Seven (23-Oct-1960)
The Time Machine (17-Aug-1960)
Never So Few (7-Dec-1959)
Warlock (1-Apr-1959)
No Name on the Bullet (Feb-1959)
Monster on the Campus (17-Dec-1958)
The Black Orchid (Sep-1958)
The Defiant Ones (14-Aug-1958)
I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (23-Nov-1957)
The Tall Stranger (17-Nov-1957)
I Was a Teenage Werewolf (19-Jun-1957)
Johnny Tremaine (19-Jun-1957)
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (30-May-1957)
The Young Stranger (1-Feb-1957)
Man From Del Rio (30-Oct-1956)
Dakota Incident (23-Jul-1956)
The Proud Ones (May-1956)
At Gunpoint (25-Dec-1955)
Shack Out on 101 (4-Dec-1955)
Trial (7-Oct-1955)
The Desperate Hours (5-Oct-1955)
Not as a Stranger (28-Jun-1955)
The Big Combo (13-Feb-1955)
Target Earth (7-Nov-1954)
Creature from the Black Lagoon (5-Mar-1954)
Riot in Cell Block 11 (28-Feb-1954)
It Should Happen to You (15-Jan-1954)
The Sellout (30-May-1952)
The Family Secret (24-Oct-1951)
Lost Continent (17-Aug-1951)
The Killer That Stalked New York (1-Dec-1950)
Convicted (Aug-1950)
Side Street (23-Mar-1950)
He Walked By Night (24-Nov-1948)
Raw Deal (26-May-1948)
A Double Life (25-Dec-1947)
Brute Force (30-Jun-1947)

 

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