Actor Gene Barry died December 9 of congestive heart failure, reports the LA Times.
While the world may best remember him as a Tony nominee for his performance in the 1980s Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles (his favorite role), and to an earlier generation his name always brought to mind the iconic, derby-wearing sheriff Bat Masterson, science fiction fans know him best for the science fiction classic War of the Worlds.
(War of the Worlds’ most famous line wasn’t one of Barry’s, however. “Welcome to California” is said by a yokel waving a white flag to greet the Martians just before becoming toast.)
Barry also played Capt. Amos Burke, the millionaire Los Angeles chief of detectives on ABC’s Burke’s Law, which is less noteworthy for the acting than for the fact that four episodes of the series were written by Harlan Ellison:
In ‘Who Killed Alex Debbs?’, Sammy Davis, Jr. appeared as Cordwainer Bird, (a pseudonym of Harlan Ellison who wrote the script) a character wanted for questioning. Sammy arrived at the police station, and proceeded to dance all over Burke’s desk, only to be taken away and never seen again.
Gene Barry was 90 when he passed away.