Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Zalman King R.I.P.

Zalman King, who as an actor appeared in shows ranging from The Alfred Hitchcock Hour to Charlie's Angels and later produced erotic television shows on cable, passed on 3 February 2012 at the age of 70. The cause was colon cancer.

Zalman King was born Zalman King Lefkowitz on 23 May 1942 in Trenton, New Jersey. He attended Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa to become a commercial scuba diver. He later went into acting, making his television debut in an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. In the Sixties he appeared on such TV shows as The Munsters, The Loner, Bonanza, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Gunsmoke, Adam 12, Daniel Boone, and Then Came Bronson. In 1969 he became a regular on the series The Young Lawyers (one of the rotating shows under the umbrella title The Bold Ones).  He continued on The Young Ones until 1971.

In the Seventies Mr. King appeared in such films as You've Got to Walk It Like You Talk It or You'll Lose That Beat (1971), The Ski Bum (1971), Some Call It Loving (1973), Trip With the Teacher (1975), The Passover Plot (1976), and Tell Me a Riddle (1980). He appeared on such TV shows as Ironside, The F.B.I., W.E.B., and Charlie's Angels. In the Eighties he retired from acting, only appearing in the movies Galaxy of Terror (1981) and Endangered Species (1982). He would only appear twice more as an actor, once in a 1996 episode of The Red Shoe Diaries and again in the 2007 film Saint Francis.

It was in 1980 that Zalman King went into writing and producing, writing the story for the movie Roadie and serving as an executive producer. He would also write and produce the movie 9 1/2 Weeks (1988). It was in 1988 that Mr. King also began directing. That year he directed, wrote, and produced the movie Two Moon  Junction. Over the years he would direct (and usually write and produce as well) such film as Wild Orchid (1989), Delta of Venus (1995), In God's Hands (1988), Women of the Night (2001), Dance with the Devil (2006), and Kamikaze Love (2012). He produced the TV series The Red Show Diaries, ChromiumBlue.com, and Body Language.

I was never a fan of Mr. King's erotic films and TV shows (I disliked Two Moon Junction), although I did like Roadie and 9 1/2 Weeks. I was much more impressed with Zalman King as an actor. Like many of the actors who made frequent guest appearance on television in the Sixties, he was versatile. He played everything from a beatnik courting Marilyn Munster on The Munsters to lawyer Aaron Silverman on The Young Lawyers to the pushy, smug rescue team leader Baelon in Galaxy of Terror. He was a very good actor who could play a variety of roles and be convincing in all of them.

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