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Barry Atwater

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Barry Atwater
Twilight Zone Monsters are Due on Maple Street.jpg Twilight Zone Monsters are Due on Maple Street.jpg
Atwater (right) in The Twilight Zone
BornGarrett Atwater
(1918-05-16)May 16, 1918
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
💀DiedMay 24, 1978(1978-05-24) (aged 60)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.May 24, 1978(1978-05-24) (aged 60)
🏳️ Nationality
Other namesG.B. Atwater
💼 Occupation
💵 Salary :
📆 Years active  1954-1978

Garrett "Barry" Atwater (May 16, 1918 – May 24, 1978) was an American character actor who appeared frequently on television from the 1950s into the 1970s. He was sometimes credited as G.B. Atwater.

Life and career[edit]

The son of the landscape painter of the same name, Garrett Atwater was born in Denver, Colorado. He served as head of the UCLA Sound Department before he began his acting career.

His work teaching audio techniques led to a role[citation needed] in the student film A Time Out of War, a Civil War allegory that won the Oscar as best short film of 1954.[1]

He was awarded a Special Cinema Award for television work in 1958.[2]

He received positive notice in Variety for his role in The Hard Man (1957),[3] The True Story of Jesse James (1957),[4] The True Story of Lynn Stuart (1958),[5] Vice Raid (1959),[6] and As Young As We Are (1958).[7] About his work in the television show Judd for the Defense, Variety wrote, "Barry Atwater succeeded in bringing some life and a peculiar believability to an impossible role".[8]

By 1960 he had achieved enough stature to be named by host Rod Serling in the on-screen promo as one of the stars of the well-known CBS Twilight Zone episode "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street". Atwater made six guest appearances on Perry Mason including as murderer Robert Benson in the 1959 episode "The Case of the Dangerous Dowager" and as murder victim Dr. Stuart Logan in the 1965 episode "The Case of the Cheating Chancellor". A Variety review of the latter stated that Atwater played the part with "correct nastiness".[9]

He played Benedict Arnold in an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea[10] and received positive notice for an appearance on Playhouse 90.[11]

Atwater in the mid-1960s spent three years on the ABC soap opera General Hospital while he also made prime-time appearances, billing himself as G.B. Atwater from 1963–1965, a period in which he was cast in supporting parts. About his nine-month stint on General Hospital, Atwater said, "It was a good expierence and good income, but it got tiresome. Shows like that are written for women, and the men are all emasculated".[12] By the late 1960s and early 1970s, Atwater was again scoring primary guest-star roles, particularly on fantasy and science fiction series, including The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West, The Outer Limits, ("Corpus Earthling"), Night Gallery and Kung Fu, where his altered facial appearance suited his grim and sinister countenance due to its menacing and intense appearance.[13]

On the stage[edit]

Atwater performed regularly on stage throughout his career. In January 1958, it was announced that Atwater would be in a benefit performance in Passing of the Third Floor Back with the Episcopal Theatre Guild.[14]Atwater also appeared on stage in 1965 in The Disenchanted at the Actors Theatre.[15] In 1966, he was in the Edward Albee play Tiny Alice at the Ivar Theatre.[16] In 1968, he directed and performed in the play A Slight Ache at the Hollywood-Vine Methodist Center.[17]

Sci-fi legacy[edit]

Atwater's role as vampire Janos Skorzeny (pictured, far right) in the acclaimed TV thriller The Night Stalker (1972) made him a popular guest at 1970s fan gatherings that capitalized on the resurgence of classic horror during that decade.[citation needed] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times praised Atwater's performance, writing, "that gifted character actor Barry Atwater is terrific as the vampire".[18] Keith Ashwell of the Edmonton Journal wrote that Atwater was "a prince among vampires".[19]

Atwater was one of the few actors to play a character from Spock's planet on Star Trek: The Original Series, portraying Surak, father of Vulcan philosophy, in the episode "The Savage Curtain". Atwater could not achieve the Vulcan salute naturally, so when he bids farewell in a medium shot, he has to first lower his arm so his hand is out of camera view as he pushes his fingers against his body to configure them properly.[20]

Personal life and death[edit]

Atwater embraced and attributed his career success to the practice of Zen.[21]

Suffering from terminal cancer, he died from a stroke on May 24, 1978 in Los Angeles, shortly after his 60th birthday.[citation needed]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1956 The Scarlet Hour Crime Lab Technician Uncredited
1956 Nightmare Capt. Warner
1956 Man from Del Rio Dan Ritchy Uncredited
1956 The Rack Maj. Byron Phillips
1956 Everything but the Truth Arthur Taylor
1957 The True Story of Jesse James Attorney Walker
1957 The Hard Man George Dennison
1958 The True Story of Lynn Stuart Police Lt. Jim Hagan
1958 As Young as We Are Mr. Peterson
1959 Crime and Punishment U.S.A.
1959 Pork Chop Hill Lt. Col. Davis (battalion commander)
1959 Vice Raid Phil Evans
1960 Requiem to Massacre Custer
1961 Battle at Bloody Beach Pelham
1962 Sweet Bird of Youth Ben Jackson
1963 Captain Newman, M.D. Maj. Dawes Uncredited
1966 Alvarez Kelly General Kautz
1967 Return of the Gunfighter Lomax
1969 The Thousand Plane Raid Gen. Conway
1969 Star Trek Surak Episode: "The Savage Curtain"
1974 The Teacher Sheriff Murphy
1974 Win, Place or Steal Teller #2
1978 F.I.S.T. Milano's Attorney
1978 The Kid from Not-So-Big Nickerson (final film role)


  1. "The 27th Academy Awards | 1955". Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2020-07-23.
  2. "Wm. Marshall to Receive Special Cinema Award". Boxoffice. February 12, 1973. p. C4 – via Proquest. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. "Film review: The Hard Man". Variety. December 4, 1957. p. 6 – via Proquest. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. "Film review: The True Story Of Jesse James". Variety. February 20, 1957. p. 6 – via Proquest. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. "Film Reviews: The True Story of Lynn Stuart". Variety. February 19, 1958. p. 6 – via Proquest. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  6. "Film review: Vice Raid". Variety. December 16, 1959. p. 6 – via Proquest. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  7. "Film Reviews: As Young as We Are". Variety. September 24, 1958. p. 6 – via Proquest. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  8. "Television Reviews: Judd for the Defense". Variety. October 2, 1968. p. 48. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  9. "Television Review: Perry Mason". Variety. October 6, 1965. p. 42 – via Proquest. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  10. "Atwater Portrays Benedict Arnold". The Argus. 1968-03-08. p. 8. Retrieved 2020-07-23.
  11. "Television Reviews: Tele Follow-UP Comment - Playhouse 98". Variety. July 2, 1958. p. 29 – via Proquest. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  12. Kleiner, Dick (October 1, 1967). "Show Beat". Marysville Appeal Democrat. p. 40 – via Newspaper Archive. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  13. Meehan, Paul (October 20, 2010). Horror Noir: Where Cinema's Dark Sisters Meet (1st ed.). McFarland. p. 310. ISBN 0786445971. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  14. "Passing of Third Floor Back To Be Presented Here Feb. 1". Daily News-Post and Monrovia News-Post. 1958-01-20. p. 3. Retrieved 2020-07-23.
  15. "Barry Atwater Joins Play Cast". Valley Times. 1965-05-19. p. 31. Retrieved 2020-07-23.
  16. "Tiny Alice". The Los Angeles Times. 1966-01-30. p. 512. Retrieved 2020-07-23.
  17. "Pinter, Williams Dramas Staged by ARTIS Group". The Los Angeles Times. 1968-05-07. p. 78. Retrieved 2020-07-23.
  18. Thomas, Kevin (January 11, 1972). "The Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. p. 54 – via Newspapers.com. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  19. "Do les Anglais think French will go away?". Edmonton Journal. 1972-11-29. p. 82. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  20. Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 39, Episodes 77 & 78: The Savage Curtain/All Our Yesterdays (1966), CBS Paramount Home Video liner notes[citation needed]
  21. "Career Aided by Zen, Says Actor". Valley Times. 1962-01-13. p. 16. Retrieved 2020-07-23.

External links[edit]

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  • Barry Atwater at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
  • Barry Atwater at Find a GraveLua error in Module:WikidataCheck at line 23: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).

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