Today, July 14, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia remember Val Avery, who was born on this day in 1924.
Born Sebouh Der Abrahamian, Avery was a memorable character actor of Armenian descent who played Bruce the bartender in "Night of the Meek." It is Bruce who keeps an eye on woefully drunk Henry Corwin (Art Carney), a department store Santa who gets fired for being inebriated but proceeds to have an epiphany on Christmas Eve.
The son of Mgerdich der Abrahamian, a founder of the Republic of Armenia, Avery (1924-2009) graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, served as a flight instructor during World War II, and later made his television debut on Lux Video Theatre (1953). One of his most memorable bits was in The Magnificent Seven (1960), in which he played Henry, the traveling salesman whose offer to pay for Joe the Indian’s funeral leads to Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen driving the hearse to Boot Hill.
So let's raise a boilermaker to Avery, a quite memorable Christmas, and another equally memorable trip into The Twilight Zone.