Thursday, 15 December 2016

Booth Colman (Councillor Zaius)

Booth Colman (8th March, 1923 – 15th December, 2014) was an American film, television and stage actor. In his later years he played older authority figures such as doctors and lawyers. Colman appeared in films since 1952, when he appeared uncredited in The Big Sky directed by Howard Hawks.

Colman was born in Portland, Oregon. As a child actor in local productions became active in local radio. He attended the Universities of Washington and Michigan. After Army service during World War II he went to New York and in 1944 began a long career in Broadway theatre, first appearing in a production of Irwin Shaw's war drama The Assassin. He was soon invited to join Maurice Evans's acting company, where he continued to act on stage and later in films.

He appeared dozens of times on prime-time television dramas and comedies. In 1964 he appeared in two episodes of Perry Mason, one as a doctor in police investigations and the other as a prosecuting attorney. Other televisions appearances include Frasier, Gilligan's Island, McCloud and The Monkees. Films include Them! (1953), Norma Rae, The Man Who Wasn't There and Intolerable Cruelty. In 1983 he portrayed the kindly scientist Professor Hector Jerrold in the ABC daytime melodrama General Hospital.

In 1974 Colman played the role of Councillor Zaius in the popular short-lived TV series, Planet of the Apes; the role made famous on the big screen by his former teacher, Maurice Evans. In the six episodes in which he appeared, he even wore the same costume that Evans wore in Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

Booth Colman died in Los Angeles at the age of 91 on December 15, 2014.

- from Wikipedia (edited)

Colman's appearances on Planet Of The Apes:

Escape from Tomorrow

The Legacy
The Surgeon
The Interrogation
The Cure
Up Above the World So High

Colman with Mark Lenard (Urko)

Colman with Roddy McDowall (Galen) in Escape From Tomorrow (the only episode in which they shared screen-time)

Colman spoke with Maurice Evans about the role of Zaius: "I wore the same ape costume he had worn in the features. It had been carefully preserved at the studio. I found an old British lotto ticket in an inner pocket and returned it to Maurice by mail. He wished me well and said something about keeping my weight down. Well, it was never a problem with me. But his costumes did fit me. Maybe that's why I got the job!

"The make-up wasn't very comfortable. After they cast me, they took an impression of my face in a plastic mask, and my hands. The full make-up took quite a bit of getting used to. Frank Westmore made me up every morning, and it took three hours. I had to be in his chair at 5 a.m. to be ready on set at 8 a.m., with a very short interval for breakfast, before they had the lower half of my face to deal with. When he got the top half on it was all done by hand; the hair was human hair and yak hair and had to be done very carefully. They would bring in a tray of breakfast and so I would have a few minutes to eat some eggs or whatever it is. And then they would put on the lower half with the animal mouth being about two inches away from my own, which precluded eating anything, except through a straw. So I could never eat lunch. Just some sort of milkshake thing that they had. But later they got very good at it so that usually they were through with me in the early afternoon. But when we started out I spent two or three days fully made up and bewigged, waiting to work. And the schedule would be changed and I wouldn't work at all that day. So it was frustrating a bit. But the makeups were beautifully done and they were carefully removed at the end of the day's shooting. They would spend ten minutes or fifteen minutes taking it off carefully. They would use it on an extra player the next day. Of course, today you wouldn't be allowed to do anything like that. It wasn't very hygienic. Non-essential conversation was discouraged because talking loosened the masks. The makeup people would constantly fix, dab and adjust the makeup throughout the day, and that took some getting used to! Yet it was a happy set most of the time.”

It soon became apparent that confidence in the series was no match for poor ratings figures, and the plug was pulled after just fourteen episodes had been filmed.
“It was a real shame. My makeup guru, Frank Westmore, told me that we were going to be cancelled. Had the stories been better written and the characters developed, we could have had a three-year run. But the stories didn’t have the imagination or quality necessary to sustain viewers. One could only cope with the dialogue, develop a personality for the character, hit your mark and hope it looked believable."

Booth Colman, 1923 - 2014

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