PACIFIC PASALIDES—Actor William Schallert and Former Screen Actors Guild Union (SAG) President died at his home in Pacific Palisades on Sunday, May 8. He passed at the age of 93, according to his son Edwin. Schallert was best known for portraying Patty Duke’s father on “The Patty Duke Show.”
He was born on July 6, 1922 in Los Angeles, California. He was the son of Edwin Francis Schallert who was the Los Angeles Times film and drama editor and former Sid Grauman publicist Elza Schallert. He began his acting career as a student at UCLA, while being the editor for the Daily Bruins Newspaper. In 1946, he helped found the Circle Theatre with Sydney Chaplin, daughter of Charlie Chaplin.
He also starred in several television shows and movies starting in the 1950s. Throughout his career he has appeared in such films and TV shows like, “Zoro,” “The Partridge Family,” “Leave It to Beaver,” “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Mission Impossible,” “The Lucy Show” and several others.
He was also featured in one episode of “Star Trek” titled, ‘The Trouble with Tribbles.’ He played the Federation Bureaucrat.
In 2004, Schallert was listed on the list of TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Dads (he placed No. 39) for his role as Martin Lane, the father of Patty Lane (Duke) and uncle to Lane’s cousin Cathy on “The Patty Duke Show” which ran from 1963-66 on ABC.
He served as the president of SAG from 1979-1981. In 1993, the guild awarded Schallert with its Ralph Morgan Award, named after its first president.
“Bill Schallert’s remarkable career put him in the rare position of being able to understand actors at all levels of the business,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “He worked virtually every SAG contract, he enjoyed working with movie stars and background performers, he was a series regular and an uncredited bit player. He turned this knowledge and experience into service for his fellow actors. Despite leading the union during a very difficult time, Bill maintained his integrity and commitment, a commitment that extended into many more years of board service. I am especially pleased that Bill lived long enough to see the SAG-AFTRA merger become a reality as he was one of the pioneers of that effort.”
He was president of the union during the 1980 TV-theatrical strike, which was called by the rising popularity of home video and paid television channels. He recently appeared on an episode of “2 Broke Girls” on CBS back in 2014.
Schallert is survived by four sons and seven grandchildren. He is the third SAG president to die this year. Ken Howard died on March 23 as president of the combined SAG-AFTRA union. Patty Duke, who served as union president in the 1980s, died on March 29.
There is no information on the exact cause of death. Funeral information has not yet been released to the public.