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November 23 in Twilight Zone History: Birthday greetings to actor John Dehner ('The Lonely')

Contributed by
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Steve Rubin
Nov 23, 2017

Today, November 23, This Day in Twilight Zone History celebrates the birthday of actor John Dehner, who was born on this day in 1915.

Dehner (1915-1992), one of Hollywood's most ubiquitous character actors, starred in three episodes of The Twilight Zone: "The Lonely," as Captain Allenby, a space jockey who delivers supplies to asteroid-bound prisoner Corry (Jack Warden); "The Jungle," as civil engineer Alan Richards, who has just returned to the big city from a project in Africa that has incurred the wrath of a native witch doctor; and "Mr. Garrity and the Graves," a hoot of a Season 5 episode in which he played the title character, Jared Garrity, the ultimate flim-flam man who cons a whole town into believing he can raise the dead. What a bunch of nonsense!

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Dehner could be comfortable in flannel or buckskin, or even in a dinner jacket, but he was always wonderfully present in every role he played - here as civil engineer Alan Richards in "The Jungle."

Dehner was another one of those marvelous chameleon/actors who fit so nicely into so many storylines. Two movie roles stand out for me: oil-prospecting drunk Sid Barlowe in The Steel Lady (1953), which was a Saturday morning movie favorite on TV when I was growing up; and Henry Wheelock, the guy with the Doberman Pinschers in the tense finale of The Boys From Brazil (1978).

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John Dehner seemed to take particular delight in his final TZ performance, as con artist Jared Garrity in "Mr. Garrity and the Graves." 

You might not know his name, but Dehner was probably in many stories you watched on TV or in the movies. So on this day of his birth, let's hoist a brandy or two to this shining light and the joy he brought to our small screens on the show we never tire of: The Twilight Zone.

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