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."
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.