Today, March 15th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia remember actor and singer Don Durant, who passed away on this day in 2005 at 72, and director Stuart Rosenberg, who passed away in 2007 at 79.
In "A Piano in the House," tall, charismatic Durant plays playwright Gregory Walker, the not-so-secret lover of miserable Esther Fortune (Joan Hackett), the wife of an acid-tongued theater critic (Barry Morse) who seems to hate everyone with enough venom to fill three rattle snakes. However, when Mr. Fortune buys his wife a player piano for her birthday, every time it plays music, it also plays truth serum – which is going to bite Fortune on the ass.
Durant first came to the public's attention as the fast-drawing title character in the Johnny Ringo television series (1959-1960). However, he soon become disenchanted with show business and left it for a successful career in real estate and financial management. Roger Corman directed him in his only feature credit (1958's She Gods of Shark Reef). It's too bad he left the business, because he made a strong TZ debut as Gregory Walker.
Meanwhile, Stuart Rosenberg directed three episodes: "I Shot an Arrow into the Air," "He's Alive" and "Mute." Rosenberg (1927-2007) would go on to direct the timeless Cool Hand Luke, which won George Kennedy an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
I also liked his Brubaker film, which featured a terrific Robert Redford (a TZ vet himself) as a disruptive warden who comes to Wakefield Prison to change the life of the prisoners.
So let's raise our glasses to two TZ vets – a short timer and a long timer – who brought their special gifts to the series that never ages: The Twilight Zone.