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July 30 in Twilight Zone History: Remembering actor Max Showalter ('It's a Good Life')

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Jul 30, 2018

Today, July 30th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia remember actor Max Showalter, who passed away on this day in 2000 at the age of 83.

Showalter, who also acted under the name Casey Adams, portrayed nervous piano player Pat Riley in "It's a Good Life." When you're playing piano for little Anthony Fremont (Bill Mumy), you have to be very, very careful. This is a youngster who doesn't tolerate sour notes (and peach brandy-sopped guests).

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Pat Riley (Max Showalter) tickles the keys while Anthony Fremont (Bill Mumy) listens attentively in "It's a Good Life."

Early in his career, Showalter was under contract to Fox, where he joined recent birthday boy Darryl Hickman in director Robert Wise's terrific Destination Gobi (1953), playing U.S. Navy weatherman and scholar Walter Landers. He also played Jean Peters' husband in Niagara (opposite Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotton). More contemporary audiences will remember him as the reverend who marries Bo Derek and Sam Jones in 10 (1979).

Showalter was originally cast to play Ward Cleaver in the pilot for Leave It to Beaver but was replaced by Hugh Beaumont when the show went to series.

So let's raise a glass of that same peach brandy to a sterling character actor who brought tons of talent to everything he did on the big and small screen – required chops for anybody entering The Twilight Zone.