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Robert F. Simon
Robert Simon
Robert Simon made three guest appearances as Major General Maynard Mitchell on the M*A*S*H TV series, in Season 2.
Personal Information
Gender: Male
Birthplace Mansfield, Ohio, U.S.
Deathplace Tarzana, San Fernando Valley, California, U.S.
Occupation/
Career:
Actor
Years active: 1950-1985
Character information
Appeared on/in: M*A*S*H
Episodes appeared in: 3 in Season 2
Character played: Major General Maynard Mitchell


Robert F. Simon (December 2, 1908 – November 29, 1992) guest appeared as Major General Maynard Mitchell in three episodes during Season 2 of the M*A*S*H TV series. A revered veteran character actor, Robert ofte portrayed military or authority figure roles. Though his face was recognized by audiences, he was mostly unknown by name. A life member of The Actors Studio,[1] Simon appeared in films and on television between 1950 and 1985, having mastered the genre of westerns, drama, and comedy.

Early yearsEdit

Simon was born in Mansfield, Ohio, where he was an all-state high school basketball champion in the 1920s. He played basketball in one-on-one games well into his forties. Before he entered acting, he was a traveling salesman. He initially thought that acting would help him to overcome his natural shyness, but he enjoyed appearing on stage and later film so much that he decided to make a career as an actor. His first professional job was in Marc Blitzstein's No For an Answer in which he displayed his song-and-dance abilities. He was also involved with The Cleveland Play House and then with The Actors Studio, through which he became an understudy to Lee J. Cobb for the lead in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.[2]

Theatre workEdit

Simon appeared on Broadway in Clifford Odets's play, Clash by Night. In 1949, he succeeded Lee J. Cobb as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. His first film appearances were as Inspector Foley in Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) and as a psychiatrist in Bright Victory (1951). His first television role was at the age of 43 in 1952 as Captain Scott in the episode "Woman with a Sword" on Hallmark Hall of Fame anthology series. Simon appeared as Ackerman in the 1954 film Rogue Cop. Between 1951 and 1954, he appeared on The Philco Television Playhouse and Justice.

In 1955, he appeared on television in episodes of Medic and Alfred Hitchcock Presents as well as such feature films as Chief Crazy Horse, Seven Angry Men, and The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell. Actress Elizabeth Montgomery, who would later play Simon's daughter-in-law, Samantha, on Bewitched, made her film debut in The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell. In 1956, Simon achieved his first significant film role as Dave Goodman, the father of musician Benny Goodman, in The Benny Goodman Story.[3] Between 1953 and 1956, Simon appeared in four episodes of Kraft Television Theatre and twice in the anthology series Studio One.  In 1956 and 1957, he appeared in episodes of State Trooper, The Millionaire and M Squad. In 1957, he appeared as George Nordmann in the feature film Edge of the City, starring John Cassavetes and Sidney Poitier. In 1958, Simon guest-starred as Captain Woods in "The Coward of Fort Bennett" on General Electric Theater. In 1957 and 1958, he appeared in four episodes of the CBS-TV anthology series, Playhouse 90. In 1959, he appeared on Peter Gunn and Adventures in Paradise.

TV rolesEdit

WesternsEdit

There were few television westerns in which Simon did not guest star. From 1956 to 1970, he appeared in Broken Arrow, Disneyland, Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater, Laramie, Johnny Ringo, Cheyenne, and The Dakotas, Wichita Town, The Man From Blackhawk, The Texan, Tate, and Shotgun Slade, Stagecoach West (which co-starred future M*A*S*H TV series co-star Wayne Rogers), Bat Masterson, Lawman, Klondike, Rawhide, Have Gun - Will Travel, Wagon Train, The Legend of Jesse James, Gunsmoke, Laredo, The Virginian, Bonanza, and The Guns of Will Sonnett.

Simon appeared as Handy Strong in the acclaimed feature film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

DramaEdit

Robert appeared in such programs as Crusader, Route 66, Dante, The DuPont Show with June Allyson, Johnny Midnight, Straightaway, The Roaring 20s, Sea Hunt, and State Trooper. In the 1961-1962 season, he appeared on episodes of The Dick Powell Show, The Lloyd Bridges Show, Cain's Hundred, The Defenders, and Sam Benedict.

Robert guest-starred three times on Perry Mason., including the role of murderer Edward Bannister in the 1958 episode, "The Case of the Desperate Daughter." In 1965, Simon appeared in episodes of Slattery's People, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Dr. Kildare.

In 1966, Simon starred as Mr. Rellik in the Highway Safety Films' production The Third Killer. Simon's role was that of a "Death" salesman charged with three accounts, including traffic fatalities.

Comedic rolesEdit

In addition to Bewitched and Nancy, Simon appeared in other sitcoms, such as McHale's Navy, Mrs. G. Goes to College, Get Smart, and The Andy Griffith Show. In 1967, Simon appeared as "Cervantes" in The Reluctant Astronaut. He appeared in a 1970 episode of Love, American Style, in a 1971 episode of Nichols, starring James Garner, and a 1973 episode of The Partridge Family. From 1969 to 1985, Simon appeared in Marcus Welby, M.D., The Mod Squad, The Interns, Barnaby Jones, Hawaii Five-O, Cannon, Ellery Queen, Columbo, McCloud, Quincy M.E. and Eight Is Enough. His last television appearance was in a 1985 episode of Airwolf.

DeathEdit

Simon died of a heart attack in Tarzana, California, three days before what would have been his 84th birthday. He is interred at Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth, California.[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio by David Garfiled, MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York City, ISBN 0-02-542650-8, page 278, Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980.
  2. http://members.tripod.com/~samstephens/simon.html Robert F. Simon as Frank Stephens, Tripod.com, accessed January 18, 2009.]
  3. The Benny Goodman Story at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
  4. Robert F. Simon at Find A Grave.com accessed January 18, 2009.

External linksEdit

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