Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fritz Weaver

Fritz Weaver sounds like a name from Spike Jones.  Sorry, that was Doodles Weaver (1911 - 1983).  Fritz Weaver (b. 1926) was a fine actor, and it may be questionable to include him as a Bit Actor. 

Weaver started acting in television in the late 1950s.  His first film was Fail Safe (1964) where he played a colonel.  There were a lot of colonels in that one.  Weaver's deep voice and great facial expressions of terror, disgust or horror help him to stand out.

He was very active on TV through most of his career.  You can find him on most of the dramatic and western series, including "Rawhide," "The Fugitive," and "Combat."

His next film was The Maltese Bippy (1969) starring Dan Rowan (1922 - 1987) and Dick Martin (1922 - 2008).  While "Laugh-In" was a big hit, I am not sure the movie was as good, and it didn't have Goldie Hawn

To put him back in his element, Fritz appeared multiple times on "The F.B.I." and "Mission Impossible" over the years of those well received shows.  It suited Weaver.  As did most dramatic or suspense roles. 

Weaver has a major part in The Day of the Dolphin (1973) starring George C. Scott (1927 - 1999).  Then, a few years later, he is in a trio of decent movies...Marathon Man (1976), Black Sunday (1977) and Demon Seed (1977). 

A year after appearing in 1977 on "The New Adventures of Wonder Woman" he has, perhaps, his best television role.  He plays Dr. Josef Weiss on the TV mini series "Holocaust."

Weaver appears in one segment of Creepshow (1982) which is a very interesting, and campy, horror flick by Stephen King (b. 1947).  The cast includes Hal Holbrook, Adirenne Barbeau, Leslie Nielsen and E. G. Marshall.  I loved it!

His final film was the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair starring Pierce Brosnan and the wonderful Rene Russo.  I thought that version held up well in comparison to the 1968 Steve McQueen version.  That sort of comment always causes a reaction from the public.  I do love McQueen, the King of Cool.

Fritz continued to work on the TV series, "Law & Order" up until 2005.  He is now 85 years young, so I hope he has the health to continue appearing in roles, even if they are small ones.  His voice can be heard on many History Channel documentaries, so Fritz Weaver will be around for quite a while.


  1. Fritz Weaver enjoyed a successful career on Broadway as well. He played Sherlock Holmes in the musical "Baker Street". Years ago I heard the cast album at a library. Cool stuff!

  2. Yes, Caftan, he did. The Internet Broadway Data Base ( has details on that venue. The lists of titles for an actor there aren't usually as long as on IMDb, but some of the plays run for years, so it is much better work. I don't always take the time to do all the research for Broadway parts.

    Plus, Broadway is now just a bit out of my price range! (Have you priced an evening in NYC recently?!?)

  3. I haven't been to NYC in 23 years! In fact, I rarely make it to the theatre here in Toronto any more. The outlandish prices keep me at home.

  4. I didn't realize Fritz Weaver's first film was "Fail Safe" - he seems to have been around forever (meaning: even before 1964). One of my favorites of his is "The Day of the Dolphin" ('Fa loves Pa!'). Glad to hear he's still alive and well at 85, a talented and memorable actor!

  5. According to IMDb he did a lot of television before Fail Safe. And a lot after it, too. His work on TV started in 1957, so there was plenty of Fritz to see.

    In the early days of television, they had to look for movie actors who wanted to give it a try. It was seen as a home alternative to the big screen, where teleplays could be presented with commercial interruptions.

    By the 1960s, the movie studios were looking for fresh faces to make new movies, so they turned to those who became popular on TV. Movie attendence was down because people were staying home and eating TV dinners.

  6. Fritz Weaver is in two of my all-time favorite Twilight Zone episodes, Third from the Sun and the extremely creepy The Obsolete Man. He's a nice guy trying to get his family into outer space on the eve of destruction in the first one and he's really nasty as Burgess Meredith's judge, jury, and hopeful executioner in a world where Meredith's librarian has been deemed obsolete in the latter.

    His appearance in Creepshow really sticks with me from my youth as well! Thanks for covering him!

  7. I agree! Fritz was perfect for the "Twilight Zone" genre, and movies like Creepshow. He could look menacing or terrified. Great expressions.

    Thanks for the comment.

  8. Tonight we enjoyed watching the "Hot Tickets" episode of Frasier in which Fritz Weaver plays a famous play-write. I had previously only seen him in the two Twilight Zone episodes. Great performance.

  9. Yes, Nat, I could see him as a play-write. He could bring an air of authority to his role, but also (as he did in Fail Safe) add a touch of instability. And that versatility extended into comedy as well.


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