(written from a Production point of view)
|Date of birth:||6 July 1922|
|Place of birth:||Los Angeles, California|
|Character(s):||Nilz Baris, Varani|
|... as Varani|
William Schallert, (born 6 July 1922; age 90) is a Los Angeles-born character actor who in his career has played hundreds of roles on television and in film. Outside of the realm of Star Trek, he is probably best known as Patty Duke's father on The Patty Duke Show from 1963 through 1966. He was ranked #39 list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" in the June 20th, 2004 issue of TV Guide.
Schallert began acting in the late 1940s, although he did not receive credit for many of his appearances from then throughout the 1950s. Some of the few exceptions were his supporting roles in the science fiction films The Man from Planet X and The Incredible Shrinking Man, released in 1951 and 1957, respectively. The latter also featured Billy Curtis. In 1954, however, he, TOS star Leonard Nimoy and Trek actor/director Lawrence Dobkin made uncredited appearances in the cult sci-fi classic Them! That same year, Schallert made a small (albeit credited) appearance in the war film The High and the Mighty, also featuring TOS guest stars David Brian, William Campbell and Paul Fix. Schallert also had a small role in the 1958 thriller Cry Terror!, with fellow character actor and DS9 guest star Kenneth Tobey. Schallert and Tobey had previously appeared in the 1954 film Down Three Dark Streets and would also roles in the short-lived 1958 western series The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca, starring TOS guest actor Skip Homeier and also featuring Brian Keith and Leonard McCoy actor DeForest Kelley.
Schallert's other films include an uncredited appearance with Whit Bissell and John Crawford in 1951's The Red Badge of Courage and a supporting role in 1962's Lonely Are the Brave, which featured music by Jerry Goldsmith, as well as appearances in the classic 1949 adventure Mighty Joe Young, the acclaimed 1952 musical Singin' in the Rain (with Gail Bonney, Robert Fortier and Joseph Mell), the 1956 drama Written on the Wind (with Gail Bonney), the Oscar-nominated 1956 drama Friendly Persuasion (with Peter Mark Richman, Richard Hale and Billy Curtis), the 1956 Roger Corman western Gunslinger (with Dick Miller) and the 1959 romantic comedy Pillow Talk (with Joseph Mell and Charles Seel).
After gaining fame from The Patty Duke Show, Schallert took the supporting role of Mayor Webb Schubert in the multi-Oscar-winning crime drama In the Heat of the Night in 1967, which also featured Kermit Murdock. This was immediately followed by roles in the westerns Hour of the Gun (1967; with Steve Ihnat, William Windom, Monte Markham, Robert Phillips and Dave Perna; music by Jerry Goldsmith) and Will Penny (1968, with future Star Trek: Insurrection actor Anthony Zerbe). He returned to sci-fi in 1970 with a supporting role in the film Colossus: The Forbin Project. That same year, he was seen in the war epic Tora! Tora! Tora!. In 1973, he appeared in a supporting role in Charley Varrick, co-starring recurring DS9 actor Andrew Robinson. Later feature film credits like the 1979 comedy The Jerk, James L. Conway's 1980 sci-fi thriller Hangar 18, and the 1984 comedy-drama Teachers (with Stephen Mendillo and Richard J. Zobel, Jr.).
In 1978, Schallert, William Shatner, and John de Lancie had roles in the pilot episode for a Little Women TV series. Of those three actors, only Schallert continued his role past the pilot, although the series only lasted for a few episodes. The following year, Schallert appeared in two television mini-series forcusing on a US President and featuring fellow Trek alumni. These were Ike, with Jonathan Banks, Whit Bissell, William Boyett, Richard Herd, and Laurence Luckinbill, and Blind Ambition, with Graham Jarvis, Lawrence Pressman, James Sloyan, and William Windom.
In 1983, Schallert co-starred with DS9 actress Salome Jens in the made-for-TV movie Grace Kelly. That same year, he appeared in Twilight Zone: The Movie, co-starring with Dick Miller and Bill Mumy in a segment directed by Joe Dante. (Other segments of the film featured the likes of John Larroquette, Bill Quinn, Peter Brocco, and Larry Cedar.)
Throughout the years, Schallert appeared in a number of films directed by Joe Dante, including 1984's Gremlins, 1987's Innerspace, and 1993's Matinee. The latter three films also featured Star Trek: Voyager actor Robert Picardo, while all featured Dick Miller and Kenneth Tobey. Schallert, Picardo, and Miller would also go on to appear in Dante's 1997 TV movie The Second Civil War, also featuring Ron Perlman and Brian Keith. (Schallert and Miller had first acted together in the 1956 western, Gunslinger.)
In the 1980s, Schallert was a part of the cast of two epic mini-series: as General Robert E. Lee in North and South, Book II in 1986 (featuring Trek actors like Jonathan Frakes, Kirstie Alley, Jim Metzler, Leon Rippy, Bumper Robinson, Jean Simmons, Kurtwood Smith, David Ogden Stiers, and Anthony Zerbe); and as Harry Hopkins in War and Remembrance in 1988 (also featuring Steven Berkoff, John Rhys-Davies, Lawrence Dobkin, Bruce French, Glenn Morshower, George Murdock, and Charles Napier).
Schallert has also been active as a guest actor on many television series, the majority of which were westerns, including numerous episodes of Gunsmoke. His other guest appearances include Have Gun – Will Travel, Perry Mason, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mission: Impossible, The Wild Wild West, Bewitched, Hawaii Five-O, and The Waltons. He played Admiral Hargrade, the first Chief of CONTROL, in four appearances on Get Smart in 1967 and '68. He also appeared in an episode of Quantum Leap, starring future Star Trek: Enterprise actors Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell.
Schallert also served as the President of Screen Actors Guild (SAG) from 1979 to 1981 (fellow DS9 guest star Barry Gordon also served as SAG president from 1988 to 1995) and is currently a SAG Health Plan Trustee like Barry Gordon. Joseph Ruskin and Kitty Swink also both served on the Screen Actors Guild Executive Board of Directors and then as Trustees at the Screen Actors Guild Pension and Health Plan. Yet, even having held this position and even with his hundreds of acting roles in his nearly sixty-year career, Schallert has gone on record as saying that the one role he is most recognized for is Nilz Baris from the classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Trouble with Tribbles".
- TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles" as Nilz Baris