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Actor Ray Walston enjoyed a successful acting career and is best known for his character Uncle Martin O'Hara on the CBS series My Favorite Martian.
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However, it was on television that all of America fell in love with Ray Walston. In 1962, he was offered the title role in the television series, My Favorite Martian. He didn't want to do the show, initially, but agreed to make the pilot, convinced that it would never get on the air.
In 1963, My Favorite Martian premiered on CBS, and the show went on to make Walston a household name. The countenance of his character, "Uncle Martin O’Hara" was on everything from magazine covers to lunch boxes. He attempted to continue his prosperous stage and film career, but the one film he appeared in, Wilder's Kiss Me Stupid (1967), was a disappointment and his Broadway show, Agatha Sue I Love You, lasted only four nights.
By the third season of My Favorite Martian, the ambitious Walston was ready to move on. It wasn't easy to escape the notoriety of the nation's favorite Martian, but over the next decade Walston fought for roles. The actor revived his film career with several hits including The Sting (1973), starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, and Silver Streak (1976). In 1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High the veteran actor introduced himself to a new generation of fans with his performance as the unflappable Mr. Hand.
Despite family troubles and rumors of divorce, he continued to work, and in 1992, won a role in the David E. Kelley television series, Picket Fences. At the age of 77, Walston once again created a fresh, unique character with Judge Henry Bone. He was twice awarded the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Series.
Walston died on January 1, 2001, at his home in Beverly Hills, California, where he lived with his wife, Ruth. The couple had one daughter, Kate.
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