THE BLOG
08/06/2013 03:37 pm ET Updated Oct 03, 2013

Frightway to Stardom (Part II)

Charles Bronson as a mute assisting a demented sculptor! Mike Connors as a gangster trying to assume control after a nuclear war! Nancy Davis as a woman combatting a possessed doctor!

These are three more celebs who began their climb to fame and fortune on a veritable "Frightway to Stardom":

Charles Bronson: Billed under his given name, Charles Buchinsky, he portrayed Igor, a malicious mute who assisted a disfigured sculptor (Vincent Price, star of innumerable horror films, such as 1958's "House on Haunted Hill") in transmogrifying cadavers into wax exhibits in the celebrated 3-D horror entry, "House of Wax"(1953).

Ruehl Fact: Director Andre de Toth, once married to blonde stunner Veronica Lake (star of 1942's "I Married A Witch"), could not appreciate the 3-D effects in "House of Wax" because he wore a patch over 1 eye!

Carolyn Jones, one of the early victims in the film, became a "pod person" in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"(1956"), then achieved television immortality as Morticia Addams on "The Addams Family" (1964-65).

Mike Connors: Using the name "Touch" Connors, the future "Mannix" was a gangster trying to dominate a group of survivors from a nuclear holocaust in "The Day The World Ended"(1956) and was a villain in "Voodoo Woman"(1957).

Ruehl Fact: Connors' birthname was Krikor Ohanian..."Touch" was a sobriquet from his days as a college basketball player, which he changed to "Mike" beginning with "Suicide Battalion"(1958).

Nancy Davis: The future First Lady (originally Anne Robbins, later Mrs.Ronald Reagan) was the galpal of a scientist (Lew Ayres) who was being psychically controlled by the brain of an evil dead mogul in "Donovan's Brain"(1953).

Ruehl Fact: The original cinematic incarnation of this story was 1944's "The Lady and the Monster," with Erich Von Stroheim (a homicidal hypnotist in 1946's "The Mask of Diijon") as a scientist who maintained the brain, which possessed his assistant (Richard Arlen, who, coincidentally, grappled with a doctor possessed by the spirit of an executed murderer in 1945's "The Phantom Speaks").

A later remake, the 1965 British-German film, "The Brain," saw Peter Van Eyck (who jousted against the spirit of the diabolical Dr.Mabuse in 1962's "The Death Ray of Dr.Mabuse" and 1963's "Dr.Mabuse Vs. Scotland Yard") as the scientist being telepathically dominated by the living blob of gray matter!

Lew Ayres portrayed the orangutan Mandemus, keeper of the armory, in 1973's "Battle for the Planet of the Apes," the 5th and final entry in the original "Ape" series.