The Original Martian Repellent
When a huge celebrity of the hour overdoses on his toilet or crashes his SUV (...) every single media outlet on the planet makes a huge dish out of it and serves leftovers for weeks. But when a great of the past expires away quietly at an advanced age, nobody seems to care. Or does so much too late and improperly. Hence my writing about the passing today of a little-remembered but once-beloved actor, Eugene Klass aka Gene Barry, who died this Thursday December 10th of unknown circumstances. He was 80 years old.
His screen career on the rise, the actor is offered more TV work than he wished for, and reluctantly did he look at such offers until a proposal to portray real-life wild west lawman Bat Masterson, gentleman who relied on his wit and gold-adorned cane rather than guns to take criminals down. The show lasted only 3 season but reached cult status almost immediately, ensuring Barry a typecast yet long career on the tube.
14 years of playing the elegant justice-maker on the tube made it nearly impossible for him to break out on the big screen any longer nor to explore further series of his own on TV, and thus Gene spent the remaining of his career either guest-starring on shows or returning to his first true love, Broadway musicals, where he met with great success and recognition. By the end of the 1980s he all but retired, appearing only occasionally in TV shows when specially requested to do so. His last appearance was for Steven Spielberg's own adaptation of War of the Worlds in 2005, for a cameo that confirmed his status as the star to a sci-fi cult classic of Hollywood's Golden Era.