Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Author and Actor Jan Merlin Passes On

Jan Merlin, who starred on the Fifties television shows Tom Corbett, Space Cadet and The Rough Riders, as well as the author of several books, died on September 20 2019 at the age of 94.

Jan Merlin was Jan Wasylewski born on April 3 1925 in New York City. During World War II he served in the United States Navy as a torpedoman. After the way he studied acting at the Neighbourhood Playhouse in New York City. He appeared was a replacement for the role of Payne in the Broadway production of Mister Roberts.

Jan Merlin made his television debut in 1951, playing the role of Roger Manning on Tom Corbett, Space Cadet. Roger was an egotistical, self-satisfied, and arrogant cadet, who nonetheless had a soft heart. Later in the Fifties Jan Merlin played Lt. Colin Kirby on The Rough Riders. During the decade Jan Merlin also guest starred on such shows as Robert Montgomery Presents, The Loretta Young Show, Dragnet, General Electric Theatre, Frontier, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Broken Arrow, Trackdown, Climax!, The Lawless Years, Perry Mason, Disneyland, and Bat Masterson. Mr. Merlin made his film debut in Them! in 1954. He appeared in the films Six Bridges to Cross (1955), Big House, U.S.A. (1955), Illegal (1955), Running Wild (1955), A Day of Fury (1956), Screaming Eagles (1956), A Strange Adventure (1956), The Peacemaker (1956), Woman and the Hunter (1957), Cole Younger, Gunfighter (1958), and Hell Bent for Leather (1960).

In the Sixties Jan Merlin guest starred in such shows as Cain's Hundred, Bonanza, Tales of Wells Fargo, Rawhide, Laramie, Ripcord, The Lieutenant, The Virginian, Gunsmoke, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Branded, 12 O'Clock High, Tarzan, Combat!, The Fugitive, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Invaders, Ironside, Mannix, and Mission: Impossible. She appeared in The List of Adrian Messenger (1963), Gunfight at Comanche Creek (1963), Guns of Diablo (1964), The Oscar (1966), The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967), Strategy of Terror (1969), and Take the Money and Run (1969).

In the Seventies Mr. Merlin guest starred on such shows as Mission: Impossible, Cade's County, Search, The F.B.I., Little House on the Prairie, Baretta, Switch, and Tales of the Unexpected. He appeared in the movies The Twilight People (1972), The Slams (1973), I Escaped from Devil's Island (1973), and The Hindenburg (1975).

In the Eighties he appeared in the movies Permanent Record (1988), Nowhere to Run (1989), Time Trackers (1989), Silk 2 (1989), and False Identity (1990). He guest starred on the shows Tales of the Gold Monke, Masquerade, Riptide, The A-Team, and Dallas. In the Nineties he guest starred on the TV show Paradise.

Jan Martin was also the author of several novels, beginning with the novel Brocade in 1982. Among his books were Gunbearer--Part One,Gunbearer--Part Two, Gypsies Don't Lie, and Shooting Montezuma.  He also wrote scripts for the soap opera Another World for several years, for which he won a Daytime Emmy.

Jan Merlin was a remarkable actor. He was known for playing heavies. In the Laramie episode "Stolen Tribute" he played Clint Wade who forces main character Jess Harper at gunpoint to help him search for stolen money. In the Bonanza episode "The Ride" he played Bill Enders, a ruthless man who robbed a way station and might just get away with it. Of course, Jan Merlin was capable of playing more than villains. He did play heroes as well. On Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, Roger may have been an egomaniac, but he was definitely on the side of the angels. On The Rough Riders he was the dashing Lt. Kirby. Jan Merlin was a versatile actor, who could play villains or heroes with ease.

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