BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Entertainment  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 5 November, 2002, 10:55 GMT
Lost In Space actor dies
Jupiter
The 60s series was set in outer space
Jonathan Harris, the actor behind the cowardly sci-fi villain Dr Zachary Smith in the TV series Lost In Space, has died at the age of 87.

Harris died on Sunday in Encino, California from a blood clot to the heart after receiving treatment for a chronic back problem.

Harris, who carved a niche as an animation voice artist after finding fame in the 1960s TV series, was born Jonathan Charasuchin in the Bronx, New York, in 1914.

He was the son of Jewish-Russian immigrants and changed his name and adopted a stage manner of affected upper-class Englishness, with a haughty accent and painstaking enunciation.

Gary Oldman played Dr Smith in the big-screen Lost in Space
When asked if he was from England, the actor would often reply: "No, just affected", a family spokesman, Kevin Burns, told reporters.

He became an actor in 1942, after training to become a pharmacist, and during World War II acted in review shows for troops in the Pacific.

After the war he returned to New York and made a name as a stage and TV actor, getting his first big role in the 1950s series The Third Man.

But it was his role as the ranting, megalomaniac saboteur Dr Zachary Smith in Lost In Space that turned him into a star.

In the series, Smith's cowardly villain sabotages the spaceship of the Robinson family - but is trapped with them when the rocket veers into unknown space.

Animation

The series, which was a pastiche of Swiss Family Robinson, was one of the biggest hits in 1960s US TV.

He acted in several other sci-fi series, including The Land Of Giants and Battlestar Galactica, before switching over to voice work in 1982.

In recent years he played the voices of the insect ringleader in Pixar's A Bug's Life, and the mysterious Cleaner in Toy Story 2.

A Hollywood remake of Lost in Space, starring Friends actor Matt LeBlanc, came out in 1998. The part of Dr Smith was played by Gary Oldman.

See also:

30 Jul 98 | Entertainment
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes