CLOSE
Original image

18 Celebrities Who Appeared on The Twilight Zone

Original image
Image Credit: Program Content 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. THE TWILIGHT ZONE and CBS, and related marks are registered trademarks of CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Rod Serling's groundbreaking anthology series The Twilight Zone introduced some enduring science-fiction themes and one of the most iconic title sequences in TV history—not to mention a slew of famous guest stars.

1. William Shatner

A fresh-faced, soon-to-be Captain James T. Kirk stars in one of the classic episodes of the series, 1963's "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," as an unhinged airline passenger trying to convince everyone else that a monster is destroying the plane (an episode that was remade with John Lithgow for Twilight Zone: The Movie).

"The particular script by Dick Matheson was really inventive and very much a one-man show, really," Shatner told Entertainment Weekly earlier this year. "This young actor was pleased with that, to get all that attention and screen-time ... [The episode] touches another universal in the human psyche, and that is the fear of flying. Buried somewhere in all of us when the going gets rough up there is: If God meant us to fly, we’d have wings. Why are we up here? ... That’s the only explanation I can come up with that makes that particular episode as popular as it is."

Just as creepy is his role as a newlywed who comes undone by superstition, thanks to a fortune-telling machine in a small town diner in the 1960 episode "Nick of Time."

2. Cloris Leachman

With a near-70-year career (and counting), Cloris Leachman is still one of Hollywood's grand dames of drama. She played Mrs. Fremont in the classic 1961 Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life," which depicts a malevolent child with terrifying powers that are merely hinted at until his temper erupts. It was the inspiration for a segment in Twilight Zone: The Movie and got a semi-official sequel in 2003 with "It's Still a Good Life," which ran as part of the Twilight Zone reboot series.

3. George Takei

Two years before he joined forces with Shatner on Star Trek, Takei played an out-of-work gardener named Arthur Takamori whose mysterious past is brought to the forefront over a shared beer with a neighbor—and World War II vet—to whom he has offered his landscaping services in "The Encounter." "This particular episode, however, gained some kind of notoriety," Takei recalled to the Archive of American Television in 2011. The episode's racial overtones and allusions to Pearl Harbor caused a bit of an uproar, particularly amongst "Japanese-American and Asian-American civil liberties and advocacy groups," according to Takei. "So for that reason, CBS pulled that episode. And it has a unique distinction of being the only Twilight Zone [episode] that was aired only once. It's never been re-aired. It's never enjoyed a re-run. And shucks darn, I missed out on my residuals on that one."

4. Roddy McDowall

Before he charmed the world as the lovable Cornelius in the Planet of the Apes franchise (1968-1973) and horror TV host Peter Vincent in Fright Night (1988), McDowall was Sam Conrad, a biologist on a mission to Mars who discovers that the Martian people are not so different from us in "People Are Alike All Over," which aired on March 25, 1960.

5. Robert Redford

When attempting to imagine what the Grim Reaper might look like, Redford's face probably isn't the one you'd picture. But anything goes on The Twilight Zone and in 1962, just two years into his career, the future Oscar-winner played the incarnation of Death in season three's "Nothing in the Dark" episode.

6. Burgess Meredith

Depending on your age, you might remember Meredith as either Rocky's surrogate father and trainer Mickey in the film franchise's first three installments, or the dastardly Penguin to Adam West's TV Batman from 1966 to 1968. But before those roles, he appeared in a number of Twilight Zone episodes, beginning with "Time Enough At Last"—about Harry Bemis, the last man on Earth—in 1959, followed by "Mr. Dingle, the Strong" (1961), "The Obsolete Man" (1961), and "Printer's Devil" (1963). He also narrated Twilight Zone: The Movie.

7. Don Rickles

With a storied career in TV, movies, and comedy long before he gave Mr. Potato Head a voice in the Toy Story series, Rickles joined Burgess Meredith in the 1961 episode "Mr. Dingle, The Strong," in which an alien race bestows the strength of 300 men on a humble vacuum cleaner salesman.

8. Jack Klugman

The boozy, unkempt Oscar Madison to Tony Randall's Felix Unger in TV's The Odd Couple, and the crusading, crime-fighting doctor Quincy, ME, Klugman popped up in several episodes of The Twilight Zone, including 1961's "A Game of Pool" (with Jonathan Winters) and "In Praise of Pip" and "Death Ship" (both 1963). But none were more melancholy than his first appearance, in 1960's "A Passage for Trumpet," where he plays a depressed musician who finds himself in a Twilight Zone world where everybody is frozen apart from him—and his far superior musical rival.

9. Elizabeth Montgomery

In the 1961 episode "Two," Montgomery played half of a male/female duo who approach each other with suspicion and fear in the ruined landscape of an apocalyptic battle that seems to have wiped out the rest of humanity. (Her male counterpart? Charles Bronson.) A couple of years later, she took the role in another series about strange powers and the supernatural that would make her name famous: Samantha in Bewitched.

10. Kevin McCarthy

Most famous for running down the streets of a small Californian town yelling "You're next!" to warn us about the pod people in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), McCarthy stars as an immortal being named Walter Jameson who's found out in the first-season episode "Long Live Walter Jameson." As an extra treat, he later appeared in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) in a remake of the episode "It's a Good Life."

11. Peter Falk

A decade before he assumed the role of the beloved shaggy detective Columbo, Falk turned in a delightfully campy performance as Central American dictator Ramos Clemente, a tyrant who finally cements his position but is then driven mad with paranoia by a magical mirror that reveals the traitors all around him, in the 1961 episode "The Mirror."

12. Lee Marvin

A longtime tough guy from Hollywood's Golden Age, Marvin features in two episodes. First is the haunting and scary "The Grave" (1961), in which a cowboy arrives in a frontier town to visit the grave of his fallen enemy, but meets destiny in the process. And there might be something familiar-sounding about 1963's "Steel," which depicts a future where humans control robotic boxers after the sport is outlawed; it was the basis for the 2011 Hugh Jackman hit Real Steel.

13. Carol Burnett

Five years before her eponymous variety show kicked off its 11-season run, Burnett played a down-on-her luck city girl who is trying to put her life in order with the help of an equally flighty guardian angel, only to realize that the life she has—flawed as it may be—isn't so bad. It's hardly surprising that the 1962 episode, titled "Cavender is Coming," was meant to be a comedic one, and as such is the only installment of The Twilight Zone to feature a laugh track. It was also intended to serve as a backdoor pilot for a new series revolving around Harmon Cavender, Burnett's hapless guardian angel (though it never took off).

14. Rod Taylor

Taylor was no stranger to the fantastic when he starred in The Time Machine (1960) and The Birds (1963). In 1959's "And When the Sky Was Opened," he played Colonel Clegg Forbes, an astronaut whose trip into space might just have rendered both him and his crewmates out of existence.

15. Russell Johnson

A science geek long before it was cool, Gilligan's Island's Professor starred in two Twilight Zone episodes about time travel. In the 1961 episode "Back There," he plays a young man who goes from discussing the realities of time travel with some of his cohorts to finding himself at Ford's Theatre on the night of Abraham Lincoln's assassination. In 1960's "Execution," Johnson is a scientist (and professor) who mistakenly brings a convicted 19th-century murderer into the present while attempting to perfect time travel technology

16. Vera Miles

Just as her movie star status began rising in Hollywood because of hits like Psycho and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Miles starred in the 1960 Twilight Zone episode "Mirror Image." She played a woman a little too in touch with her delusions when she imagines she's being haunted by her own doppelgänger.

17. Dennis Hopper

In 1963's "He's Alive," Dennis Hopper plays the leader of a floundering neo-Nazi group whose spirit is reenergized when he begins receiving visits and guidance from a shadowy figure who may very well be Der Führer.

18. Robert Duvall

In "Miniature," Duvall plays Charley Parkes, a man convinced that there are actual people living in a tiny museum dollhouse—a belief that eventually gets him institutionalized. But when Charley is nowhere to be found on the night of his release from the psychiatric hospital, his friends and family surmise that he has gone back to look at the dollhouse—only to discover something far more surprising. A lawsuit surrounding the episode caused it not to be released again until 1984, more than two decades after its debut.

arrow
Art
15 Things You Should Know About Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe’s enchanting floral still lifes are now a deeply ingrained part of American culture—so much so that they often eclipse her other colorful accomplishments. For a more complete portrait of the artist, who was born 130 years ago today, brush up on these 15 little-known facts about her.

1. FLOWER PAINTINGS MAKE UP A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF O'KEEFFE'S BODY OF WORK.

Though O'Keeffe is most famous for her lovingly rendered close-ups of flowers—like Black Iris and Oriental Poppies—these make up just about 200 of her 2000-plus paintings. The rest primarily depict landscapes, leaves, rocks, shells, and bones.

2. SHE REJECTED SEXUAL INTERPRETATIONS OF HER PAINTINGS.

For decades, critics assumed that O'Keeffe's flowers were intended as homages—or at the very least, allusions—to the female form. But in 1943, she insisted that they had it all wrong, saying, “Well—I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flowers you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower—and I don’t.” So there.

3. SHE WAS NOT A NATIVE OF THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST.


Joe Raedle/Getty Images

O'Keeffe was actually born on a Wisconsin dairy farm. She'd go on to live in Chicago; New York City; New York’s Lake George; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Amarillo, Texas. She first visited New Mexico in 1917, and as she grew older, her trips there became more and more frequent. Following the death of her husband in 1946, she moved to New Mexico permanently.

4. HER FAVORITE STUDIO WAS THE BACKSEAT OF A MODEL-A FORD.

In an interview with C-SPAN, Carolyn Kastner, curator of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, explained how the artist customized her car for this use: "She would remove the driver's seat. Then she would unbolt the passenger car, turn it around to face the back seat. Then she would lay the canvas on the back seat as an easel and paint inside her Model-A Ford."

Painting inside the car allowed O'Keeffe to stay out of the unrelenting desert sun, where she painted many of her later works. The Model-A also provided a barrier from the bees that would gather as the day wore on.

5. O'KEEFFE ALSO PAINTED SKYSCRAPERS.

While nature was her main source of inspiration, the time she spent in 1920s Manhattan spurred the creation of surreal efforts like New York With Moon, City Night and The Shelton with Sunspots.

6. O'KEEFFE IMMERSED HERSELF IN NATURE ...

While in New Mexico O’Keeffe spent summers and falls at her Ghost Ranch, putting up with the region's hottest, most stifling days in order to capture its most vivid colors. (The rest of the year she stayed at her second home, located in the small town of Abiquiu.) When she wasn't painting in her Model-A, O'Keeffe often camped out in the harsh surrounding terrain, to keep close to the landscapes that inspired her.

7. …WHATEVER THE WEATHER.

The artist would rig up tents from tarps, contend with unrelenting downpours, and paint with gloves on when it got too cold. She went camping well into her 70s and enjoyed a well-documented rafting trip with photographer Todd Webb at age 74. Her camping equipment is occasionally exhibited at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe.

8. SHE MARRIED THE MAN BEHIND HER FIRST GALLERY SHOW.

"At last, a woman on paper!" That’s what modernist photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz cried when he first saw O'Keeffe's abstract charcoal drawings. He was so enthusiastic about this series of sketches that he put them on display—before consulting their creator.

When O'Keeffe arrived at his gallery, she wasn't pleased, and brusquely introduced herself: "I am Georgia O'Keeffe and you will have to take these pictures down." Despite their rocky beginnings, Stieglitz and O'Keeffe quickly made amends, and went on to become partners in art and in life.

9. O'KEEFFE AND STIEGLITZ WROTE 25,000 PAGES OF LOVE LETTERS TO EACH OTHER.

When the pair met in 1916, he was famous and married; she was unknown and 23 years his junior. All the same, they began writing to each other often (sometimes two or three times a day) and at length (as many as 40 pages at a time). These preserved writings chart the progression of their romance—from flirtation to affair to their marriage in 1924—and even document their marital struggles.

10. SHE SERVED AS A MUSE TO OTHER ARTISTS.

Thanks in part to Stieglitz, O'Keeffe was one of the most photographed women of the 20th century. Stieglitz made O'Keeffe the subject of a long-term series of portraits meant to capture individuals as they aged, and she made for a striking model. Though he died in 1946, the project lived on as other photographers sought out O'Keeffe in order to capture the beloved artist against the harsh New Mexican landscapes she loved so dearly.

O'Keeffe later wrote:

When I look over the photographs Stieglitz took of me—some of them more than sixty years ago—I wonder who that person is. It is as if in my one life I have lived many lives. If the person in the photographs were living in this world today, she would be quite a different person—but it doesn't matter—Stieglitz photographed her then.

11. SHE QUIT PAINTING THREE TIMES.

The first break spanned several years (the exact number is a matter of debate), when O'Keeffe took on more stable jobs to help her family through financial troubles. In the early 1930s, a nervous breakdown led to her hospitalization, and caused her to set aside her brushes for more than a year.

In the years leading up to her death in 1986, failing eyesight forced O'Keeffe to give up painting entirely. Until then, she fought hard to keep working, enlisting assistants to prepare her canvas and mix her oil paints for pieces like 1977's Sky Above Clouds/Yellow Horizon and Clouds. She managed to use watercolors until she was 95.

12. AFTER GOING BLIND, SHE TURNED TO SCULPTING.


By Alfred Stieglitz - Phillips, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Although her vision eventually made painting impossible, O'Keeffe's desire to create was not squelched. She memorably declared, "I can see what I want to paint. The thing that makes you want to create is still there.” O'Keeffe began experimenting with clay sculpting in her late 80s, and continued with it into her 96th year.

13. SHE'S THE MOTHER OF AMERICAN MODERNISM.

Searching for what she called “the Great American Thing,” O'Keeffe was part of the Stieglitz Circle, which included such lauded early modernists as Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Paul Strand, and Edward Steichen. By the mid-1920s, she had become the first female painter to gain acclaim alongside her male contemporaries in New York's cutthroat art world. Her distinctive way of rendering nature in shapes and forms that made them seem simultaneously familiar and new earned her a reputation as a pioneer of the form.

14. SHE BLAZED NEW TRAILS FOR FEMALE ARTISTS.

In 1946, O’Keeffe became the first woman to earn a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. Twenty-four years later, a Whitney Museum of American Art retrospective exhibit introduced her work to a new generation. Fifteen years after that, O'Keeffe was included in the inaugural slate of artists chosen to receive the newly founded National Medal of Arts for her contribution to American culture.

15. SHE WASN'T FEARLESS, BUT SHE REJECTED FEAR.

O'Keeffe was purported to have said, "I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do."

Original image
Getty
arrow
Art
11 Fascinating Facts About Claude Monet
Original image
Getty

Oscar-Claude Monet is beloved for his series of oil paintings depicting water lilies, serene gardens, and Japanese footbridges. The French painter manipulated light and shadow to portray landscapes in a groundbreaking way, upending the traditional art scene in the late 19th century. In honor of his birthday, here are 11 things you might not know about the father of French Impressionism.

1. HIS ARTISTIC TALENT WAS EVIDENT AT AN EARLY AGE.

Born in Paris in 1840, Monet began drawing as a young boy, sketching his teachers and neighbors. He attended a school of the arts and, as a young teenager, sold his charcoal caricatures of local figures. He also learned about oil painting and en plein air (outdoors) painting, which later became a hallmark of his style. Monet’s mother encouraged his artistic talent, but his father, who owned a grocery store, wanted him to focus on the grocery business. After his mother died in 1857, Monet left home to live with his aunt and, against his father’s wishes, study art.

2. HE SERVED AS A SOLDIER IN ALGERIA.

In 1861, Monet was drafted into the army. Forced to join the First Regiment of African Light Cavalry, he left Paris for Algeria, a territory that was then controlled by France. Monet's father offered to pay for his son’s discharge if he would promise to give up painting, but Monet refused to abandon art. After serving one year of his seven-year military commitment, Monet got sick with typhoid fever. His aunt paid to get him released from the army, and she enrolled him in art school in Paris.

3. HE WAS SO FRUSTRATED WITH LIFE THAT HE JUMPED INTO THE SEINE.

In his late 20s, Monet was frustrated with the Académie, France’s art establishment. He hated creating formulaic artwork, copying the art that hung in the Louvre, and painting scenes from ancient Greek and Roman myths. Although he tried to get his paintings into the Académie’s art exhibits, his art was almost always rejected. Depressed and struggling to support himself and his family financially, Monet jumped off a bridge in 1868. He survived his fall into the Seine and began spending time with other artists who also felt frustrated by the Académie’s restrictions.

4. RENOIR CREATED A META PAINTING OF HIM.


Renoir's "Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil." Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

In 1873, Monet was spending his summer in a rented home in Argenteuil, a suburb of Paris. His friend Pierre-Auguste Renoir visited Monet to spend time together and paint outdoors. The two men connected over their mutual dislike of the traditional style of the Académie. During his visit, Renoir painted Monet painting in his garden, creating a painting within a painting. The painting, straightforwardly called Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil, depicts Monet standing outside as he paints flowers.

5. HE INDIRECTLY HELPED COIN THE TERM "IMPRESSIONISM."

Monet created a community with other frustrated artists, a group that included Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, and Paul Cézanne. The group, which called itself The Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers, etc., organized an exhibition in 1874. The exhibition included groundbreaking artwork featuring bright, vivid colors and loose, seemingly spontaneous brushwork. After a critic compared one of Monet’s paintings—"Impression, Sunrise"—to an unfinished sketch (or "impression"), the term "Impressionists" caught on to describe the artists who displayed these radically different, new paintings.

6. HIS SECOND WIFE WAS IRRATIONALLY JEALOUS OF HIS FIRST WIFE.

Monet frequently painted his first wife, Camille Doncieux, who worked as a model and had been in a relationship with the artist since the mid 1860s (they married in 1870). The couple had two sons, but Camille died, perhaps of uterine cancer, in 1879. Alice Hoschedé, the wife of a businessman and art collector, had been living with the Monets after her husband went bankrupt, and Monet may have started an affair with her while Camille was still alive. After Camille's death, Hoschedé jealously destroyed all of her letters and photographs. Despite this, Hoschedé (along with her six children) lived with Monet and his two kids, and the couple married in 1892 after Hoschedé’s husband died. (Fun fact: One of Hoschedé’s daughters later married one of Monet’s sons, so the step-siblings became husband and wife.)

7. HE IMPORTED HIS WATER LILIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD.

From 1883 until his death in 1926, Monet lived in Giverny, a village in northern France. Over the years, he hired gardeners to plant everything from poppies to apple trees in his garden, turning it into a beautiful, tranquil place for him to paint. Finally wealthy from sales of his paintings, Monet invested serious money into his garden. He put a Japanese footbridge across his pond, which he famously painted, and he imported water lilies from Egypt and South America. Although the local city council told him to remove the foreign plants so they wouldn’t poison the water, Monet didn’t listen. For the last 25 years of his life, he painted the water lilies in a series of paintings that showcased the plants in varying light and textures.

8. HE PAID A GARDENER TO DUST HIS WATER LILIES.

As Monet’s garden expanded, he hired six full-time employees to tend to it. One gardener’s job was to paddle a boat onto the pond each morning, washing and dusting each lily pad. Once the lilies were clean, Monet began painting them, trying to capture what he saw as the light reflected off the water.

9. HIS CRITICS MOCKED HIS VISION PROBLEMS.


Getty Images

Around 1908 when he was in his late 60s, Monet began having trouble with his vision. Diagnosed with cataracts in 1912, he later described his inability to see the full color spectrum: "Reds appeared muddy to me, pinks insipid, and the intermediate or lower tones escaped me." When he became legally blind in 1922, he continued painting by memorizing the locations of different colors of paint on his palette. Monet delayed getting risky cataract surgery until 1923, and critics mocked him for his blurry paintings, suggesting that his Impressionist style was due to his failing vision rather than his artistic brilliance. After two cataract surgeries, Monet wore tinted glasses to correct his distorted color perception and may have been able to see ultraviolet light.

10. IN 2015, THE WORLD DISCOVERED A NEW MONET PASTEL.

In 2015, an art dealer in London discovered an unknown Monet pastel that had been hidden behind another Monet drawing that he had bought at a 2014 auction in Paris. The pastel depicts the lighthouse and jetty in Le Havre, the port in France where Monet lived as a child. Art scholars authenticated the pastel as an authentic Monet artwork and dated it to 1868, around the time he jumped into the Seine.

11. TOURISTS CAN VISIT HIS HOME AND GARDENS.


MIGUEL MEDINA // AFP // Getty Images

In 1926, Monet died of lung cancer. Starting in 1980, his former home in Giverny has been open to tourists to see his gardens, woodcut prints, and mementos. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people visit Giverny to walk through the artist’s famous garden and refurbished home. Besides looking at a variety of flowers and trees, visitors can also see Monet’s bedroom, studio, and blue sitting-room.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios