Today, April 22nd, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia remember actor Albert Salmi, who passed away on this day in 1990 at 62.
Salmi was a popular TZ player, well cast in "Execution" as Joe Caswell, the condemned wild west killer who is inadvertently plucked from the hangman's noose by a time travel-experimenting professor (Russell Johnson). Salmi perfectly captures the spirit of a man totally spooked by the future.
Interestingly, Salmi returned to time travel in the Season 4 episode "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville," this time playing another villain – bored robber baron William Feathersmith, who makes a pact with a comely devil (Julie Newmar) to divest himself of practically his entire fortune, return in time to his hometown, and begin again while maintaining his knowledge of the future. Needless to say, he gets "twilight zoned."
In between his time-travel trips, Salmi co-starred opposite Dean Stockwell in "A Quality of Mercy," playing a sympathetic U.S. Army sergeant trying to present the reality of war in the Philippines to an eager beaver shavetail (Stockwell).
Tall, imposing and bigger than life, Salmi always filled the screen. Right out of the box, he won the Best Supporting Actor award from the National Board of Review for his role as Smerdjakov opposite fellow future TZ players William Shatner and Richard Basehart in The Brothers Karamazov (1958).
Sadly, on this day in 1990, Salmi reportedly shot and killed his second wife, Roberta Pollock, and then turned the gun on himself – a tragic ending to a powerful career.