(written from a Production point of view)
Ray Walston (2 December 1914 – 1 January 2001; age 86) was the actor who played Boothby in three Star Trek episodes. He first played the role in the Star Trek: The Next Generation fifth season episode "The First Duty". He later appeared in two episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, portraying Chakotay's hallucination of Boothby and a holographic re-creation of Boothby in "The Fight" and a member of Species 8472 disguised as Boothby in the episode "In the Flesh".
He was perhaps best known for his role as "Uncle Martin" the Martian in the 1960s television comedy series My Favorite Martian. He was also known for his Tony Award-winning performance in the Broadway production of Damn Yankees, his two-time Emmy Award-winning role as Judge Henry Bone on the drama series Picket Fences, and his supporting roles in several popular films, including South Pacific, The Apartment, The Sting, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Walston was born Herman Walston in New Orleans, Louisiana, on 2 November 1914, although some sources state he was born on 2 December. He began acting at an early age, acquiring minor acting parts in stage productions at many New Orleans theaters. He also began performing in traveling shows until his family moved to Houston, Texas.
In 1938, Walston made his professional stage debut in a production of High Tor as part of the Houston Civic Theater's repertory company. He later spent three years with the Cleveland Playhouse in Ohio, during which time he acted in such productions as Tennessee Williams' You Touched Me.
Walston ultimately made his way to New York City, where he made his Broadway debut in a 1945 production of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. He then acted in a Broadway revival of The Front Page along with TOS guest actor Arnold Moss. His subsequent Broadway credits include The Survivors (1948, with Marc Lawrence and Kenneth Tobey), Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke (1948-49), Shakespeare's King Richard III (1949, with Nehemiah Persoff), Me and Juliet (1953-54), and House of Flowers (1954-55).
In 1955, Walston was cast as Mr. Applegate (actually the Devil) in the Broadway musical Damn Yankees. For his performance in this production, Walston won the 1956 Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical. One of Walston's co-stars in Damn Yankees was James Komack, who later directed the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "A Piece of the Action". Both Walston and Komack reprised their stage roles in the 1958 film adaptation of Damn Yankees.
Early film and television work
Walston first appeared on television in an episode of CBS' live anthology series Suspense in 1949, appearing in several more episodes between 1949 and 1954. He also appeared on such anthology dramas as Studio One (with James Gregory), Hallmark Hall of Fame (with Theodore Bikel), and Playhouse 90. Throughout the early 1960s, he appeared on such television programs as Outlaws, Cain's Hundred, and Ben Casey.
Walston made his film debut in the 1957 war romance Kiss Them for Me. He then played Luther Billis in the 1958 musical South Pacific, a role he had played in a production of the play on tour in the US in 1950 and in London in 1951. France Nuyen also starred in the film as Liat. That same year, Walston reprised his stage role from the Broadway musical Damn Yankees in the film version of the same name. Walston later worked with writer/director Billy Wilder on two acclaimed comedies, the Academy Award-winning The Apartment (1960) and 1964's Kiss Me, Stupid (which also featured Henry Gibson).
At the 1959 Laurel Awards, Walston ranked 8th place in the category for Top Male Personality. In 9th place was recurring Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actor James Darren. Walston's South Pacific co-star and fellow Trek alumna France Nuyen ranked ninth in the Top Female Personality category.
My Favorite Martian
From 1963 through 1966, Walston starred in the CBS science fiction/situation comedy series My Favorite Martian (which was filmed at Desilu). On this show, Walston portrayed a stranded extraterrestrial befriended by a reporter who passes him off as his "Uncle Martin". The series was a hit for CBS and made Walston an American household name. Regular Star Trek extra and stand-in William Blackburn served as Walston's stand-in on the series.
In 1999, over thirty years after My Favorite Martian ended its run, Walston appeared in the feature film based on the series, also called My Favorite Martian. In this film, the role of "Uncle Martin" was played by Star Trek III: The Search for Spock actor Christopher Lloyd. Walston portrayed Armitan, an older Martian in disguise who had been stranded on Earth since the 1960s. The antagonist of the film was played by another Star Trek alumnus, Wallace Shawn.
In 2000, Walston portrayed Uncle Martin one final time in a television commercial for AT&T. In the ad, Martin is still stranded on Earth and wonders if AT&T's rates apply for phoning fellow Martians living in the United States.
The post-Martian years (1966-1979)
After My Favorite Martian ended its run in 1966, Walston appeared in the 1967 film Caprice along with Irene Tsu and Michael J. Pollard. He then portrayed Mad Jack Duncan in the 1969 western musical film Paint Your Wagon, based on the Broadway play of the same name. Karl Bruck, Robert Easton, Roy Jenson, William O'Connell, and Harve Presnell also had roles in this film.
During the 1970s, Walston had supporting roles in such films as the Academy Award-winning 1973 crime comedy The Sting (with Ed Bakey and James Sloyan) and the hit 1978 action comedy Silver Streak (with Stefan Gierasch). He also guest-starred on many television series, including Mission: Impossible, Ellery Queen (with Joan Collins), The Six Million Dollar Man, Starsky and Hutch (starring David Soul), and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (with Tim O'Connor and Earl Boen).
In addition to his film and television work, Walston continued acting on stage at venues in New York City, Philadelphia, and Cleveland. He was a guest artist at the Philadelphia Drama Guild from 1971 through 1972 and at the Cleveland Play House from 1975 through 1978.
In 1979, Walston was a regular on the short-lived serialized television drama Stop Susan Williams. In this series, Walston portrayed the traitorous editor of a newspaper owned by Marj Dusay; fellow TNG guest star John Hancock also played a villain. Stop Susan Williams was one of three serials telecast on NBC under the umbrella title Cliffhangers in 1979; the other two serials were The Phantom Empire, starring Mark Lenard and David Opatoshu, and The Curse of Dracula, starring Michael Nouri and Louise Sorel.
One of the directors with whom Walston worked on Stop Susan Williams was Reza Badiyi. Walston and Badiyi worked together again later that year for an episode of The Incredible Hulk, which also reunited Walston with his My Favorite Martian co-star, Bill Bixby. The episode, by no coincidence, was titled "My Favorite Magician".
Walston made numerous film and television appearances throughout the 1980s. Perhaps his best known film role is that of uptight history teacher Mr. Hand in the cult 1982 teen comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Fellow TNG guest actors Vincent Schiavelli and Scott Thomson also starred in this film. Walston and Schiavelli were the only actors from the film to reprise their roles in the short-lived 1986 television spin-off, Fast Times, which co-starred Wallace Langham.
Walston's other film roles during the 1980s include Popeye's father, Poopdeck Pappy, in 1980's Popeye (co-starring Paul Dooley and Richard Libertini), and the blind (then deaf and later amnesiac) newspaper vendor in 1984's Johnny Dangerously (with Joe Piscopo, Vincent Schiavelli, and Scott Thomson). He also played the role of Kore in the cult 1981 science fiction/horror B-movie Galaxy of Terror, which starred Edward Laurence Albert and co-starred Jack Blessing and Sid Haig. In 1988 he appeared in another B-movie project, Saturday the 14th Strikes Back, which also featured Joseph Ruskin and Michael Berryman.
In addition, Walston guest-starred in such television series as Hart to Hart (with Dean Stockwell), Fantasy Island (starring Ricardo Montalban), Gimme a Break! (starring John Hoyt), Newhart (with Tony Papenfuss), Night Court (as Judge Martin A. Landis, a wordplay on "Martian has landed," again working with Vincent Schiavelli, as well as John Larroquette and Biff Yeager), St. Elsewhere (starring Ed Begley, Jr., Bruce Greenwood, and Norman Lloyd), 21 Jump Street (with Robert Hooks and Kurtwood Smith), and Murder, She Wrote (with Richard Beymer, Lawrence Pressman, and Jay Robinson). He also appeared in three episodes of Simon & Simon, including one directed by Vincent McEveety and co-starring Logan Ramsey.
In 1984, Walston made several appearances as Mr. Bottoms on the primetime soap opera Santa Barbara, on which Judith Anderson, Nicholas Coster, and Louise Sorel were regulars. The following year, he was briefly a cast member on the comedy series Silver Spoons, on which Franklyn Seales was a main cast member.
Walston may also be remembered for playing Matt in the 1986 TV special The Mouse and the Motorcycle, based on the children's novels by Beverly Clearly. Walston reprised this role in two sequels, 1988's Runaway Ralph and 1991's Ralph S. Mouse. The main character in these specials – a young boy who befriends a talking, motorcycle-riding mouse named Ralph – was played by fellow TNG guest actor Philip N. Waller. Walston's other television credits during the 1980s included the 1989 two-part mini-series I Know My First Name Is Steven (with Gregg Henry, Barbara J. Tarbuck, and John Vickery) and made-for-TV movies such as Amos (with James Sloyan and Don Keefer) and Crash Course (with Olivia d'Abo).
In January 1990, Walston received the Life Career Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. Later that year, Walston appeared in an episode of the hit drama series L.A. Law, on which Corbin Bernsen and Larry Drake were regulars and Diana Muldaur had a recurring role. Two years later, David E. Kelley, the co-writer of Walston's L.A. Law episode, created Picket Fences and cast Walston in the role of the irritable Judge Henry Bone. Walston worked on the series throughout all of its four seasons, from 1992 through 1996. His role was a recurring one during the show's first season, after which he became part of the regular cast. Walston received an Emmy Award nomination for portrayal of Judge Bone in 1994. He was nominated again in 1995 and 1996, winning both times.
Besides his role on Picket Fences and his appearances on L.A. Law and Star Trek: The Next Generation, Walston also worked on such shows as Eerie, Indiana (with Gregory Itzin), The Commish (with Kaj-Erik Eriksen), Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (starring Chad Allen and Joe Lando), and Ally McBeal (with Albert Hall and Tracy Middendorf). He also played Glen Bateman in the 1994 mini-series The Stand, working with Miguel Ferrer, Matt Frewer, and Ken Jenkins.
Walston's most notable film credit during the 1990s was his role as Candy in the 1992 adaptation of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men (co-starring Richard Riehle and Noble Willingham). He was also seen in the 1996 comedy House Arrest, working with Christopher McDonald and Wallace Shawn. Walston and Shawn later worked together on the aforementioned My Favorite Martian movie. In Addams Family Reunion, the 1998 direct-to-video sequel to Paramount's hit Addams Family films, Walston played the father of Ed Begley, Jr.'s character. Carel Struycken also appeared in the movie, reprising his role as Lurch.
Work on Star Trek
Walston filmed his scenes for his appearance in the Star Trek: The Next Generation fifth season episode "The First Duty" on Monday 27 January 1992 on location at the Japanese Garden at the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys, California. According to the call sheet, he was picked up at 5:30 am at home and had a makeup call at 6:00 am.
For the fifth season episode of Voyager, "In the Flesh", Walston filmed his scenes on Tuesday 7 July 1998, Thursday 9 July 1998, and Monday 13 July 1998 on Paramount Stage 8 and 16 and on location at the Japanese Garden at the Water Reclamation Plant.
During his appearance on the Star Trek: Voyager episode "In the Flesh", Walston often had trouble with remembering his lines during long one-shot dialogue scenes. However, while the cameraman was changing the film during shooting of the scene in the briefing room, Walston recited a line from Hamlet. Robert Beltran then stated the next line, and Walston the next. The two went on for about five full minutes, amazing the entire cast and crew. Tim Russ remembered in an interview for the special features of the Voyager Season 5 DVD that it was so quiet besides them, you could hear a pin drop, and that when they were done, everyone broke out in applause.
In 1967, reading the script rewrite of "The Apple", which featured Akuta having an antenna implanted in his head (much like "Uncle Martin"), Bob Justman jokingly suggested they should hire Walston to play the part. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two, p. 204)
Final work and death
Walston's final film was a 2001 comedy called Early Bird Special, in which he co-starred with William Windom. In the previous year, Walston made a guest appearance on the drama series Touched by an Angel, in an episode also featuring J.G. Hertzler, Lee Meriwether, and Keith Szarabajka. Just before his death, he filmed his second appearance on the series 7th Heaven, which starred Stephen Collins and Catherine Hicks, having previously appeared on the show in 1998.
Walston died in Beverly Hills, California, on New Year's Day, 2001, following a six year battle with lupus. He had just turned 86 years old one month earlier. He was survived by his wife, Ruth Calvert, their daughter, Kate, and two grandchildren. Walston was cremated and his ashes were given to his daughter.