Twilight Zone Lew Gallo hero

June 11 in Twilight Zone History: Remembering actor Lew Gallo ('The Hitch-Hiker,' 'The Rip Van Winkle Caper,' 'On Thursday, We Leave for Home')

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Jun 11, 2018, 5:01 PM EDT (Updated)

Today, June 11th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia remember actor Lew Gallo, who passed away on this day in 2000.

Blonde-pated, youthful Gallo played the service station mechanic who helps cross-country traveler Nan Adams (Inger Stevens) in "The Hitch-Hiker"; he's one of the gold train thieves who enters a suspended animation chamber for a hundred years in "The Rip Van Winkle Caper"; and he's part of the rescue saucer crew in "On Thursday, We Leave for Home."

Twilight Zone The Rip Van Winkle Caper hero

Oscar Beregi Jr., Lew Gallo, John Mitchum, and Simon Oakland in "The Rip Van Winkle Caper."

I always remember Gallo (1928-2000) for a trilogy of Lewis Milestone directed features: in Pork Chop Hill, he plays an eager beaver PR officer who somehow makes it to Gregory Peck's beleaguered company holding on to a hill by its fingernails; he's Patrick Wymore's impatient Las Vegas date in the original Ocean's Eleven, and he's featured as a yeoman who greets young John F. Kennedy (TZ veteran Cliff Robertson) in PT-109 (although Milestone got into a tiff with producer Bryan Foy and was replaced by TV director Leslie Martinson).

When I worked at Showtime back in the '90s handling publicity and screenings in L.A., Gallo would attend our original movie openings and we got a chance to talk about how Milestone mentored him. By then he was producing television projects.

So let's raise a cup of Joe to a fine character actor who hit the trifecta in the marquee race we call The Twilight Zone.

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