Jonathan Harris was born November 6, 1914 and passed away on November 3, 2002.
Jonathan Harris (born Jonathan Charasuchin) was an American character actor. Two of his best-known roles were as the timid accountant Bradford Webster in the TV version of The Third Man and the prissy villain Dr. Zachary Smith of the 1960s science fiction television series Lost in Space. Near the end of his career, he provided the voice of “Manny”, a praying mantis in the animated feature A Bug’s Life, and then “The Cleaner” in the animated sequel Toy Story 2.
Harris was a popular character actor for 30 years on television, making his first guest appearance on an episode of The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre in 1949. The part led to other roles in such shows as: The Web, Lights Out, Goodyear Television Playhouse, Sanford and Son, 2 episodes of Hallmark Hall of Fame, Armstrong Circle Theatre, 3 episodes of Studio One, Telephone Time, Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, Climax!, The Outlaws, The Twilight Zone, Bonanza, The Rogues, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, 1 episode of Bewitched, among many others.
Harris returned to television, where he landed a co-starring role opposite Michael Rennie in The Third Man, from 1959-65. He played Bradford Webster, an eccentric, cowardly assistant. Half the episodes were shot in London, England; the rest were filmed in Hollywood. Harris’ teenaged son would visit the set at this time, and Harris did whatever he could to bridge the gap between father and son and tried to make up for lost time.
From 1963-65, Harris co-starred in the sitcom The Bill Dana Show. He played Mr. Phillips, the pompous manager of a posh hotel who is constantly at odds with his bumbling Bolivian bellhop, “José Jiménez” (Bill Dana). This formula presaged the popular John Cleese hotel comedy, Fawlty Towers.
Don Adams rounded out the cast as an inept house detective—his character, dialog, and other comedy bits would soon carry over into his “Maxwell Smart” role on Get Smart. In similar fashion, several of Harris’ one-liners from the show (such as “Oh, the pain!”), along with many character mannerisms, became part of the Dr. Zachary Smith character on Lost in Space. In an apparent homage to his earlier role, Harris played a similarly pompous diplomat on Get Smart in 1970. His female assistant is named “Zachary”. He also guest-starred on The Ghost & Mrs. Muir. His last series guest-starring role was on an episode of Fantasy Island. He also starred as the character ‘Fagan’ in the first episode of the science fiction show Ark II.
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