Actor Cliff Robertson passed away Saturday September 10th, just a day after turning 88. The talented veteran actor took on many challenging roles in his career and appeared in many science fiction films and television series.
He also won the best actor award for his portrayal of a mentally disabled man who undergoes an experimental procedure to become a genius in the 1968 science fiction drama film ‘Charly’. ‘Charly’ was based on author Daniel Keyes book ‘Flowers for Algernon’. Most recently, Robertson has appeared as “Uncle Ben Parker” in the last 3 ‘Spider-Man’ films.
Robertson began his career in 1943 and scored his first lead in an ongoing series in 1953 as the lead in the science fiction serial ‘Rod Brown of the Rocket Rangers’. He appeared in all 58 episodes of the live series depicting his 22nd century protection of Earth. In the 1960s, he appeared in several ‘Twilight Zone’ episodes and he is also the only actor I could think of besides Leonard Nimoy who has appeared in both a 1960s and 1990s episode of ‘The Outer Limits’.
Interestingly enough, at about the same time he won his 1968 Oscar, he portrayed “Shame” on the highly campy ‘Batman’ television series for 4 episodes. In the 1970s, Robertson was cast as real life spaceman Col. Edwin A. ‘Buzz’ Aldrin Jr. in the astronaut drama ‘Return to Earth’. He also starred in the 1983 science fiction thriller ‘Brainstorm’ alongside Christopher Walken, ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Louise Fletcher, and what would be her last performance before her accidental drowning, Natalie Wood. Robertson also played “the President” in director John Carpenters’ sequel to ‘Escape from New York’, ‘Escape from L.A.’.