Twilight Zone Shadow Play hero

June 4 in Twilight Zone History: Remembering actor Dennis Weaver on the anniversary of his birth

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Jun 4, 2018, 5:01 PM EDT (Updated)

Today, June 4th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia remember legendary actor Dennis Weaver on the anniversary of his birth in 1924.

In "Shadow Play," Weaver portrayed condemned murderer Adam Grant, a man forced to repeatedly relive his courtroom trial, incarceration and execution – a kind of nightmarish Groundhog Day ritual. Weaver, one of Hollywood's top character actors, is terrific in a role that builds in tension, fear and desperation. Those of us who were inundated with westerns back in the 1960s will always remember limping Chester Goode, the part he played on the long-running Gunsmoke series. It was on his hiatus from the western that he was cast in the Zone.


Convicted murderer Adam Grant (Dennis Weaver, right) tries to explain to a sympathetic reporter (Wright King, left) that his conviction has been repeated endlessly in "Shadow Play."

Weaver (1924-2006) also starred as Deputy Sam McCloud in the McCloud series that ran from 1970-1977. Watching late night movie reruns, I also discovered him as the nervous motel clerk ("I'm the Night Man!") in Orson Welles' cool noir thriller Touch of Evil.


Dennis Weaver's Sam McCloud was a 1970s law enforcement icon thanks to the success of the McCloud series. 

So, on this the anniversary of his birth, let's hoist one last meal to Adam Grant and to Dennis Weaver, immortalized in The Twilight Zone.