(written from a Production point of view)
John Hoyt (5 October 1905 – 15 September 1991; age 85) was a veteran actor of film, television, and theater who portrayed Dr. Philip Boyce in Star Trek's first pilot, "The Cage". Footage of his role as Boyce was later incorporated into the two-part episode "The Menagerie, Part I" and "The Menagerie, Part II".
Hoyt was born John McArthur Hoysradt in Bronxville, New York. A graduate of Yale, he worked as as a teacher of history and as well as a stand-up comedian before joining Orson Welles' Mercury Theater in 1937, performing with the company until World War II. After serving with the Army, he returned to acting at the end of the conflict and built a career around portraying "heavies". By the time of his retirement in 1987, he had built up nearly 250 screen credits.
He died of lung cancer in Santa Cruz, California, at the age of 85. It is believed his participation in the 1956 film The Conqueror led to his demise; 91 members of that film's cast and crew contracted cancer and 46 of those died of the disease, believed to be a result of filming near the nuclear weapon testing site in Nevada. (; ; ; Olson, James S. Bathsheba's Breast: Women, Cancer and History, 2002, Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 0-8018-6936-6)
Hoyt made his debut on the Broadway stage in 1930 with a role in a play called Overture, which ran for 41 performances. He performed in several more Broadway productions throughout the 1930s, including the musical Ziegfield Follies of 1936, The Masque of Kings (co-starring with Richard Hale), and Orson Welles' famous 1937 Mercury Theatre production of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, co-starring Norman Lloyd. Hoyt would reprise his role of Decius Brutus from this play in the 1953 film adaptation of Julius Caesar starring Marlon Brando and also featuring Michael Ansara, Lawrence Dobkin, Richard Hale, and Ian Wolfe.
Hoyt's last known Broadway play was the musical Maggie in 1953, co-starring TOS guest actor Keith Andes.
Hoyt made his feature film debut with the third male lead in the 1946 war drama O.S.S., co-starring TOS guest actor Richard Webb. In 1951, he co-starred with Richard Derr in the classic science fiction film When Worlds Collide. The same year, he made an uncredited appearance as Wilhelm Keitel in The Desert Fox (which also featured an uncredited Gil Perkins). Hoyt also had a supporting role in the Academy Award-nominated 1955 drama Blackboard Jungle, along with Richard Kiley. Five years later, Hoyt was seen in Stanley Kubrick's epic, Oscar-winning Spartacus, in which Jean Simmons, Peter Brocco, Dick Crockett, and Seamon Glass were also featured, as well as William Blackburn and Gary Lockwood in background roles. The film also featured costume design by William Ware Theiss. Yet another period piece set in the days of the Roman Empire in which Hoyt appeared was the incredibly expensive 1963 epic Cleopatra.
In addition, Hoyt co-starred with "The Trouble with Tribbles" actor Whit Bissell in several films: Brute Force in 1947 (also featuring Jeff Corey), Lost Continent in 1951, The Big Combo and Trial in 1955 (the latter co-starring Elisha Cook, Jr.), and Never So Few in 1959 (also featuring George Takei). Hoyt and Bissell also appeared together on a number of television programs (see below).
His other many other film credits include Sealed Verdict (1948, with Celia Lovsky), Androcles and the Lion (1952, starring Jean Simmons), Desirée (1954, also starring Jean Simmons), Casanova's Big Night (1954, with Arnold Moss, The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955, starring Joan Collins), Forever, Darling (1956, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz), Death of a Scoundrel (1956, with Celia Lovsky), Baby Face Nelson (1957, with Paul Baxley, Anthony Caruso, and Elisha Cook, Jr.), Roger Corman's X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963, with Dick Miller), Gunpoint (1966, with Robert Pine, Warren Stevens, and Morgan Woodward), Panic in the City (1968, with Nehemiah Persoff), and In Search of Historic Jesus (1979, with John Anderson, Anthony De Longis, Lawrence Dobkin, Stanley Kamel, David Opatoshu, John Rubinstein, and Nehemiah Persoff). Hoyt costarred with Arlene Martel (billed as Arline Sax) and Elisha Cook, Jr. in a 1964 mystery film called The Glass Cage. Hoyt was also the executive producer of this film and he co-wrote the script.
In 1974, Hoyt made a surprising appearance in the soft-core porn spoof Flesh Gordon, albeit in a non-pornographic role as the title character's father. This film also starred William Dennis Hunt and featured behind-the-scenes work from Bjo Trimble, Greg Jein and an uncredited Mike Minor. Hoyt's final film role was as a "Space Commander" in 1985's Desperately Seeking Susan, co-starring Robert Joy, Tim Ransom, Timothy Carhart, and Isabel Lorca.
Having already gained footing on stage and in film, Hoyt began to tackle television in the early 1950s. Many of his early TV work consisted of performances on live anthology programs such as The Philco Television Playhouse, Fireside Theatre, Cavalcade of America, Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, Climax!, The Ford Television Theatre, General Electric Theater, Studio One, and three episodes of Playhouse 90, including one with Skip Homeier and Richard Kiley. He also guest-starred on a great many popular Western shows throughout his career, including The Lone Ranger, Gunsmoke (two episodes, one with Ken Lynch and another with Rex Holman), Wagon Train (three episodes, including one with Ken Lynch), The Rifleman (on which Bill Quinn was a regular), Riverboat (in an episode with Madlyn Rhue), Laramie (two episodes, one with Brian Keith and another with Frank Overton), Have Gun - Will Travel, Death Valley Days, Rawhide, Maverick (three episodes in 1961, including a two-parter with Michael Forest), Twelve O'Clock High (starring Robert Lansing and guest-starring Seymour Cassel and Michael Forest), The Big Valley (with Paul Comi, Nehemiah Persoff, and Paul Sorenson), The Wild Wild West, and multiple episodes of The Virginian (including one with Paul Carr, another with Perry Lopez, and a third with Robert Ellenstein).
Another western series Hoyt appeared on was Outlaws in 1960, appearing in a two-parter with William Shatner, who would go on to replace Hoyt's castmate Jeffrey Hunter as the star of Star Trek. (The Outlaws episodes also featured John Anderson and Ken Lynch.) Hoyt and "The Trouble with Tribbles" guest star Whit Bissell appeared together in an episode of another western, Laredo; yet another episode of that series featured Hoyt working alongside Barbara Luna and Arnold Moss. Hoyt and Bissell also appeared together in a 1957 episode of the western anthology series Zane Grey Theater; Hoyt went on to appear a few more times on that series, working with Bill Erwin and George D. Wallace in the process. He also appeared in two episodes of Bonanza, including a 1962 episode in which he played a vindictive judge who nearly hangs a physician who couldn't save the judge's wife. Coincidently, the part of the physician was played by DeForest Kelley, who went on to succeed Hoyt in the role of chief medical officer of the USS Enterprise.
Other programs on which Hoyt appeared range from sitcoms like Make Room for Daddy, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Leave It to Beaver, Petticoat Junction, The Munsters, Get Smart, The Beverly Hillbillies, and The Flying Nun, to more serious shows such as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Peter Gunn, The Untouchables, Dr. Kildare, I Spy, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Ironside. He also appeared in multiple episodes of Perry Mason and Hogan's Heroes. In addition, he had roles in two episodes of The Twilight Zone, including 1961's "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?", in which he played a Martian invader who tricks people to their deaths (opposite TOS guest actor Morgan Jones and TNG guest actor Bill Erwin).
He was also seen in three episodes of The Outer Limits, each co-starring fellow TOS alumni: "Don't Open Until Doomsday" with Anthony Jochim and Robert C. Johnson; "The Bellero Shield" with Sally Kellerman; and "I, Robot" with Marianna Hill, Peter Brocco, and Hoyt's castmate from "The Cage", Leonard Nimoy.
Hoyt's later genre credits include two guest spots on The Time Tunnel, on which Whit Bissell, James Darren, and Lee Meriwether were regulars, and three spots on the Planet of the Apes series (along with Morgan Woodward appearing in one episode), as well as appearances on the cult shows Kolchak: The Night Stalker (starring John Fiedler, in an episode with Paul Baxley and Andrew Robinson) and Battlestar Galactica (with John Colicos, Anthony De Longis, Lance LeGault, and Bruce Wright). In an episode of "The Six Million Dollar Man," Hoyt had a small part as a scientist with David Opatoshu as another scientist.
TV movies and mini-series
Hoyt was among several Trek alumni to have roles in the 1977 mini-series The Rhinemann Exchange. His fellow Trekkers on this series were Rene Auberjonois, Stephen Collins, Jeremy Kemp, and Katherine Woodville. Hoyt has also been cast in a handful of TV movies, including 1967's Winchester 73 with Barbara Luna and Paul Fix (who replaced Hoyt as the chief medical officer for Star Trek's second pilot) and 1972's Welcome Home, Johnny Bristol, which co-starred Brock Peters, Richard Evans, and Alan Bergmann.
In 1964, Hoyt was among the regulars of a sitcom series entitled Tom, Dick and Mary, but that show only lasted for twelve episodes. From 1972 through 1974, Hoyt played the role of Martin Peyton on Return to Peyton Place, which co-starred fellow TOS veterans James Doohan, Julie Parrish, and Warren Stevens. Perhaps Hoyt's best-remembered TV role, however, is that of Grandpa Stanley Kanisky on the Nell Carter series Gimme a Break! Hoyt joined the cast of this series in its second season in 1982 and stayed with it until its cancellation in 1987, after which he retired from acting. He passed away just four years later.