Dr. Zachary Smith is dead
Date: November 06, 2002 03:21AM
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Jonathan Harris, who with great relish and more than a bit of ham played the bumbling villain Dr. Zachary Smith on the 1960s TV cult hit "Lost in Space," has died at age 87 at a suburban Los Angeles hospital, associates said Tuesday.
Harris, who died Sunday of a blood clot, was a veteran of hundreds of films and TV shows, ranging from the "Twilight Zone" and "Bewitched" television series to films "A Bug's Life" and "Toy Story 2" in which he was the voice of Manny, the Preying Mantis, in the former and the Fixer in the latter.
But as far as television fans were concerned, Harris' greatest role was in the CBS series "Lost in Space," a futuristic takeoff of the "Swiss Family Robinson" saga which ran from 1965 to 1968 and is still being shown on cable channels as a cult favorite.
He played the cowardly but lovable villain Dr. Zachary Smith, whose sabotage of a spaceship sent an innocent family and himself lost in space. Harris's character became famed for both his double-dealing and phrase-making, including "Oh the pain, the pain," "You Neanderthal ninnies" and "You bubble-headed booby."
Born Jonathan Charasuchin on Nov. 6, 1914, Harris grew up in the Bronx and graduated from Fordham University with a degree in pharmacology. But the lure of show business proved strong, and Harris joined a Long Island repertory company, where he performed in a number of productions before landing roles on Broadway, including one in 1946 with Paul Muni and Marlon Brando (news) in "Follow the Flag."
In the 1950s, Harris guest-starred in dozens of TV productions, including "Lights Out" and "Studio One" and after "Lost in Space" went off the air, Harris continued to appear in films and TV.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Gertrude, one son and two granddaughters.
time waits for no man