Mark Goddard (born July 24, 1936) is an American actor who has starred in a number of television programs. He portrayed Major Don West, the adversary of Dr. Zachary Smith (played by Jonathan Harris) in the cult 1960's CBS television series, Lost in Space, and young Detective Sgt. Chris Ballard on The Detectives starring Robert Taylor.
Early life Edit
Goddard was born Charles Goddard in Lowell, Massachusetts. He is the youngest of five children, and grew up in Scituate, Massachusetts. He led both his high school baseball and basketball teams to the state championship finals. Goddard dreamed of becoming a basketball player but eventually turned to acting. He studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. After two years, he moved to Los Angeles, California.
Early Acting Career Edit
In 1959, after just three weeks in Hollywood, he landed a role in the CBS Four Star Television series Johnny Ringo, having played the character of Cully, the deputy, to Don Durant's character of Ringo, and Karen Sharpe's Laura Thomas, the girlfriend of Ringo. At this time, he changed his name to Mark Goddard at the suggestion of his friend and mentor, Chuck Connors of ABC's The Rifleman. Goddard appeared as Norman Tabor in the 1960 episode "Surprise Party" of the CBS anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson. He was cast as Sheldon Hollingsworth in the 1960 episode "To See the Elephant" of the ABC western series The Rebel, starring Nick Adams. He played Tod Rowland in the 1960 episode "The Mormons" on CBS's Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater. Goddard was also signed for a role lasting three years and sixty-four episodes in The Detectives, another series produced by Four Star Television. The Detectives was a hit series which ran on ABC and NBC from 1958 to 1961, and starred film actor Robert Taylor, along with actors Tige Andrews, Russell Thorson, and Goddard as Chris Ballard.
In 1963, Goddard appeared as Roy Mooney on CBS's Perry Mason, in the episode "The Case of the Potted Planter." In 1965 he played Lester Crawford in "The Case of the Frustrated Folk Singer." He also appeared with Keir Dullea as sparring college roommates in an episode of ABC's drama series Channing, costarring Jason Evers and Henry Jones. He was featured in the 1965 film A Rage to Live, starring Suzanne Pleshette.
From 1964-1965, Goddard starred in another one-season CBS series, Many Happy Returns, in which he portrayed Bob Randall, the young husband of Joan Randall, played by Elinor Donahue, formerly of Father Knows Best and The Andy Griffith Show. The program starred John McGiver as the head of the complaint department of a fictitious Los Angeles department store. Elena Verdugo, later on ABC's Marcus Welby, M.D., and Mickey Manners were also in the cast.
Lost in Space Edit
Goddard's next role was for the three seasons of Lost in Space (1965–1968), in which he played Major Don West. There were two pilots shot for the series. The original 1965 pilot was much different from the pilot that aired and the episodes that followed in the actual series. There was a blossoming romance between Don West and Judy, the eldest daughter of the Robinson family, but it did not extend further than the first season. By the middle of the second season, the show took on a more comic tone.
The plot lines increasingly centered around the mishaps of Dr. Zachary Smith (Jonathan Harris) and his friends who could always be counted upon to save him and all of the inhabitants of the Jupiter 2—the Robot (Bob May) and Will Robinson (Bill Mumy), the youngest of the three Robinson children.
Goddard's on- and off-screen chemistry with Jonathan Harris had been very remarkable. After Goddard's best-known role on Space, Goddard remained very close to Harris. On June 14, 1995, he and the rest of his cast paid tribute to producer Irwin Allen who had died late in 1991. On October 16, 1997 (the same day the show's fictional Jupiter 2 spaceship was supposed to take off in the original episode), Goddard and the rest of the surviving Lost in Space cast also appeared on the inside cover of TV Guide, to promote the new Lost in Space movie while at the same time the Sci-Fi Channel had planned to do a Lost in Space marathon, according to the network. Goddard was grief-stricken when, on November 3, 2002, his mentor and friend of more than thirty-five years, Jonathan Harris, died. He, along with Harris and the rest of his cast were planning for the movie, Lost in Space: The Journey Home, which never came to fruition with NBC.
Later Acting Career Edit
Goddard guest starred on three ABC series The Fugitive, The Mod Squad and The Fall Guy. At one point he moonlighted as a Hollywood agent. In 1976, he starred as politician Edward Fleming in the movie Blue Sunshine. In 1970, Goddard co-starred opposite Kent McCord and Martin Milner, in a very poignant episode of the NBC police drama Adam-12 in which he plays a friend of Pete Malloy (Milner) who is killed in the line of duty. The episode was entitled "Elegy for a Pig" (so titled and announced by Jack Webb himself). Goddard played a support role in a first season episode of NBC's Quincy M.E. as an attorney. In 1978, Goddard starred with Liza Minnelli in "The Act" (a Broadway musical). Goddard starred as Ted Clayton on One Life to Live and Lt. Paul Reed on The Doctors. Later, Goddard starred as Derek Barrington on General Hospital. Goddard made a cameo appearance in the reboot film Lost in Space (1998) as the general in charge of the Jupiter Mission, and superior officer to his former character, Major Don West.
Later Life Edit
Goddard finished college thirty years after beginning his studies and thereafter received his Master's degree in education. He is currently a special education teacher at the F. L. Chamberlain School in Middleboro, Massachusetts. In 2009, he released an autobiographical memoir, To Space and Back.
Mark Goddard Interview Edit
Goddard recalled a great relationship with Guy Williams but they had their moments too. Goddard offered a pretty candid, humorous and fair assessment of how these things can go. "It varied when it started out. I go along with Guy and June. June and Guy got along, then Guy and June didn't get along with Jonathan. The, Marta and I got along then Marta and I didn't get along and I didn't get along with Guy when he took my lines. Then I got along with Jonathan. I always sided up with someone. The two kids' mothers, they never got along. They were always fighting for better scripts and Marta was always fighting for better scripts. She and I didn't get along. I treated her like a kind of a sister. Every day it was something else.