This one really hurts!
David Hedison, actor of many roles with many "fan-constituencies" ("The Fly" with Vincent Price, two James Bond films as "Felix Leiter", and three soap operas: 2-afternoon, and 1-prime time) left us on July 18, 2019, at the age of 92.
He was best known for his "four-year-mission" as Captain Lee Crane of the Submarine Seaview on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (1964-1968)...
...That "four-years" actually playing out as TEN in the series unusual timeline, taking place between 1972 and 1982!
As Captain Crane, David Hedison adventured around the world both above and below the waves, and as far out as the planet Venus and the unknown reaches of "The Fourth Dimension"!
The Seaview itself never went to those last two places, but it's mighty weaponry DID almost crush the American Revolution in the service of the traitorous Benedict Arnold!
David Hedison shared star billing on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA with the incomparable Richard Basehart, as Admiral Harriman Nelson.
Together as Nelson and Crane, they were a sort of prototypical "Jean-Luc Picard and William Riker" of Star Trek TNG fame.
For a show that was unquestionably more "plot driven" than "character driven", Hedison and Basehart still always "brought their all" to their roles (that most often took a back seat to special effects), making them one of sci-fi television's more popular (certainly enduring, at any rate) duos for five-and-a-half-decades... and still counting!
For some idea of what David Hedison, Captain Lee Crane, and VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA meant to this humble Blogger, please see the post I put together for VOYAGE's fiftieth anniversary - HERE!
Beyond that, David Hedison, as Crane, was a constant presence throughout my life!
I watched the premiere episode of VOYAGE in 1964 as an enthusiastic young lad - and "stayed-tuned" until its end in 1968!
Then, there were syndicated reruns (of which I made audio cassette tape recordings in the '70s, so I could continue to relive the adventures), home-recorded VHS tapes in the '80s, professionally recorded bootleg VHS tapes in the '90s... culminating with the entire series being released on DVD in the 2000s!
I had the great pleasure of meeting David Hedison at a New York convention in 1999.
He was warm and friendly, very willing to converse with fans, and gave everyone a fair amount of time. Oh, and unlike some other celebrities, while he *did* sell photos from his several signature roles (at a very modest price, I might add), he did not charge for an autograph on anything else you brought to him for signing!
So, while there was this...
There was also this, which I brought along...
When David Hedison saw the comics he was a bit surprised...
"I never knew they made anything like this!", he said.
"So, that means you never had one?", I asked in return. "I'll be right back!"
I went directly to a comic dealer I knew, and picked-out the best specimen I could find - in particular one with Hedison's image inset next to the title logo (they would alternate him and Richard Basehart) - and one with a photo back cover!
I inscribed it with a thank-you note, my name, and the date, and got back on the "David Hedison Line"!
When I reached him again with another comic, he asked me if I wanted this one autographed too.
"No!" I said. "This is for YOU!"
He was taken aback at the gesture! He opened it, read my inscription, leafed through it, and said (I'm paraphrasing here...) "At all of these shows, no one has ever given me anything like this before!"
He was moved, and I was much more so - for having done a small kindness for someone who's been such a huge part of my life!.
I can still remember him looking at the back cover and saying "Awww... There's me with my good friend Richard!"
In response, he whipped-up and handed me another autographed photo! It was a great day!
Rest In Peace, Mr. David Hedison, and thank you for just being there for me to look up to as a kid, being a central figure of my days in Sci-Fi TV and Film Fandom, for a still-memorable day in 1999, and beyond!
HERE are David Hedison's many credits at IMDB!
HERE is his New York Times obit!