Saturday, July 13, 2024

Remembering Stars: Piper Laurie Was Magnificent in Twin Peaks, Mark Goddard’s Six Degrees of Jack Nicholson, Lara Parker, Phyllis Coates


Several beloved actors have passed away recently. Among them was Phyllis Coates, age 96, the original Lois Lane on “The Adventures of Superman.” For little boys of a certain age, Coates is seared into our brains. She was lovely. She appeared in the two part “Mole Men,” episodes that remain outstanding after 65 years. Everyone from “Superman” is gone now. Very disconcerting.

Piper Laurie was already a highly respected, well regarded actress when she starred in the original “Twin Peaks” back in 1988. She’d been nominated for three Oscars and nine Emmys (she won one). She starred twice on Broadway over her long career. She was memorably in the movie, “Carrie.” But it was her role as the imperious and mysterious paper mill owner Catherine Martell on “Twin Peaks” that cemented her legacy. (She also played a Japanese man when Catherine briefly “died.“) One of my most fun nights at an Academy party was in 2019, I think, when I got to hang out with Laurie and her old pal, Ed Asner. There will never be people like this again.

Mark Goddard was a star of “Lost in Space,” for three seasons in the 60s before “Star Trek.” The first season is must see until Goddard, and the other adults — June Lockhart and Guy Williams — were back-burnered for the cartoonist saga of Will, Dr. Smith, and the Robot. Goddard was the single guy who was supposed to be romancing the hot young girl on the show (Marta Kristen).

The show was over in 1968 but Goddard stayed hot enough to romance and marry Susan Anspach, herself very hot in the biz because she was in “Five Easy Pieces” with Jack Nicholson. Anspach had a child with Nicholson, but the famous actor wouldn’t acknowledge him. Anspach married Goddard, and the kid — Caleb — took his name. Nicholson has never acknowledged Caleb or a daughter who also claims paternity, (They all look just like him.)

PS June Lockhart is still alive at age 98.

I never watched “Dark Shadows” as a kid. but you knew it was on while you were doing homework. Lara Parker was a knockout on the show. Now she’s passed away at age 84. She played Angelique, a witch. David Selby, Jonathan Frid, and Kathryn Leigh Scott were among the other stars. I guess “Outlander” now is the equivalent, with time travel and parallel stories. Parker’s memorably big round eyes were very fetching, even if she was conjuring spells or hanging with vampires. RIP.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News