THE BLOG
09/11/2013 02:28 pm ET Updated Nov 10, 2013

Frightway to Stardom (Part III)

Robert Duvall as a human transmogrified into an alien being! Clint Eastwood as a pilot who battled a titanic mutated tarantula! Blake Edwards as the target of a vengeful spirit!

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

-Robert Duvall: This eventual Oscar winner's early TV roles included the title character in the "William Wilson" episode of "Great Ghost Stories" (1961), a man who became part of a museum display in the "Miniature" on "The Twilight Zone"(1963), a human surgically transformed into an ET in "The Chameleon" on "The Outer Limits" (1964), and an alien named Zar in "The Invaders" episode of "Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea"(1965), not to mention an effective cinematic part as a citizen of a totalitarian 25th-century regime that outlawed all expressions of emotion in George Lucas' first film,
"THX-1138"(1971).

Ruehl Fact: A direct descendant of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, he actually portrayed his forebear in "Gods and Generals"(2003). "THX-1138" was George Lucas' first film, an embellished version of a prize-winning feature he produced at USC.

-Clint Eastwood: In "Revenge of the Creature(1955), he portrayed a lab assistant who helped put the Creature from the Black Lagoon on exhibit at a Florida aquarium. And, later that year, in "Tarantula," he was the lead Air Force pilot blasting away at a humongous mutated spider!

Ruehl Fact: Sadly, the "Creature" drowned in the next sequel," The Creature Walks Among Us"(1956), when he was surgically morphed into a gill-less land beast by a fiendish scientist (Jeff Morrow, the benevolent alien Exeter in 1954's "This Island Earth").

Amazingly, Eastwood's name is an anagram for "OLD WEST ACTION." He wore the same poncho in all 3 "Man With No Name" entries, never once washing it!

-Blake Edwards: Before achieving renown as a producer and director, this future architect of TV's "Peter Gunn"(1958-60) was menaced by a phantom bargeman unfairly hanged in "Strangler of the Swamp" (1946), but saved at the last minute by an emotionally-charged appeal delivered by his galpal (Rosemary La Planche, who essayed the title role in 1946's "Devil Bat's Daughter").

Ruehl Fact: His birthname was William Blake Edwards.

The "Strangler" was very effectively portrayed by Charles Middleton, celebrated as Ming the Merciless of the planet Mongo in a trio of "Flash Gordon" serials (1936,1938, and 1940).

Link to Blake Edwards in "Strangler of the Swamp":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9yAd5IUTKE

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