Today, May 3rd, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia salute three TZ veterans who passed on this day: Jack Weston in 1996 at 71; Suzy Parker in 2003 at 70; and Jackie Cooper in 2011 at 88.
Jack Weston starred in "The Bard" as hack television writer Julius Moomer, who summons, of all people, William Shakespeare to be his ghostwriter. He had previously played the strictly dramatic drunk Charlie Farnsworth in "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street." I got to work with Weston on one of his final films: the BMX bicycle racing pic Rad.
Gorgeous Suzy Parker, a former model, played several characters in the futuristic world of "Number 12 Looks Just Like You," in which everyone has to be gorgeous, even her reluctant daughter Marilyn Cuberle (Collin Wilcox). I remember Parker as struggling actress Gregg Adams opposite Hope Lange and Diane Baker in The Best of Everything, a kind of pre-Valley of the Dolls soap drama set in the New York publishing world. Suzy was terrific.
Jackie Cooper arrived in Season 5, playing down-on-his-luck ventriloquist Jonathan West, a man fighting his own dummy to get a word in edgewise in "Caesar and Me." Cooper gave a bravura performance opposite Wallace Beery in The Champ and received an Oscar nomination for Skippy. He later became a top television director.
So let's raise a glass of Jack Daniels, a champagne cocktail, and some sour bourbon to Farnsworth, Moomer, all of Suzy Parker’s Number 12 characters, Johnny West, unforgettable TZ performances and equally unforgettable actors who brought top credentials to the exclusive story club we call The Twilight Zone.