Actor William Schallert of 'Patty Duke Show' fame dies at 93

Mon May 9, 2016 4:42pm EDT
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By Peter Cooney

(Reuters) - William Schallert, who parlayed an everyman face into hundreds of television and film roles, most notably as the father in the 1960s TV situation comedy "The Patty Duke Show," died on Sunday, his son Edwin said. He was 93.

Schallert was alert to the end and in no pain, his son told Reuters, without specifying a cause of death.

He appeared in shows spanning the history of television, did hundreds of voice-overs and served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1979 to 1981. Schallert is best remembered for his role as Martin Lane, the father in "The Patty Duke Show," which aired from 1963 to 1966.

Duke, who had already won an Oscar for her role as Helen Keller in 1962's "The Miracle Worker," played look-alike cousins - Patty, a typical American teenager, and the cosmopolitan Cathy, who moves in with Patty's family to go to school after living in Europe.

Schallert's death came just a few weeks after Duke died on March 29 at age 69.

Schallert's character in "The Patty Duke Show" was the managing editor of the New York Daily Chronicle. He also appeared in several episodes as his identical twin brother, who was Cathy's father and a foreign correspondent for the same newspaper.

Schallert appeared in all 104 episodes of "The Patty Duke Show," as well as the TV movie reunion in 1999 with other original cast members including Duke and Jean Byron, who played his wife on the program.

"I was a nice father and a nice dad," Schallert said of his character's appeal in an interview with the Archive of American Television.   Continued...