Today, July 19th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia remember a terrific TZ leading man: Jack Warden, who passed on this day in 2006 at the age of 85.
Warden made a strong first season impression in "The Lonely" as James A. Corry, a convict who lives alone on a desolate asteroid, millions of miles from Earth. He returned as the manager of the woeful Hoboken Zephyrs in "The Mighty Casey," replacing actor Paul Douglas, the original McGarry (Douglas was dying during the production, and after wrap, Serling and producer Buck Houghton deemed his footage unusable).
Warden (1920-2006) had a legendary career as a character actor in Hollywood. Early on, he was one of the sympathetic sergeants who befriends Montgomery Clift in From Here to Eternity. He also starred in 12 Angry Men, alongside fellow TZ veterans Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Jack Klugman and Edward Binns.
Later in his career, he played Warren Beatty's trainer, Max Corkle, in the wonderful Heaven Can Wait, and he reteamed with Beatty in Shampoo. And he played real life Washington Post editor Harry Rosenfeld opposite Dustin Hoffman and fellow TZ veteran Robert Redford in All the President's Men.
One of my favorite films of his is the underappreciated Escape From Zahrain, a Middle Eastern-set escape drama with Warden as a convicted embezzler opposite Yul Brynner and Sal Mineo.
So let's raise a glass of desert water sprinkled with a little ballpark beer to a TZ stalwart: Mr. Jack Warden, also available for your approval in The Twilight Zone.