(written from a Production point of view)
Robert Lansing (5 June 1928 – 23 October 1994; age 66) was an actor who played Gary Seven in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Assignment: Earth". This episode was actually to serve as a pilot for a possible television series that would have starred Lansing as the Gary Seven character, but the series was not picked up.
Nonetheless, Lansing was the star of three other series during the 1960s: 87th Precinct in 1961, Twelve O'Clock High in 1964, and The Man Who Never Was (which was produced and directed by John Newland) in 1966. Of those three, Twelve O'Clock High was the most successful, lasting three seasons (compared to the one season of the other two). However, Lansing left the show after only one year. This series also co-starred fellow TOS guest actor Frank Overton and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine guest actor Bert Remsen. Just after Twelve O'Clock High, Lansing shot a pilot for a series called The Long Hunt of April Savage which was created by Sam Rolfe and produced by Gene Roddenberry. The unsold pilot also featured Charles Dierkop.
Lansing has also made guest appearances in a number of shows, including Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Ironside, Law & Order, The Mod Squad (with Clarence Williams III and Tige Andrews), Murder, She Wrote, Simon & Simon, Thriller, The Twilight Zone (with Mariette Hartley), and The Virginian.
In 1983, he starred in the short-lived science fiction TV series Automan. In 1985, he again became part of a regular cast in a TV series, this time as a co-star, on The Equalizer. He remained with this show until its end in 1989. Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise guest actor Keith Szarabajka co-starred in this series. Both Lansing and Szarabajka also co-starred in the 1988 Equalizer TV movie called Memories of Manon, which also featured Anthony Zerbe and Mark Margolis.
In 1959, Lansing co-starred with fellow TOS guest star Lee Meriwether in the science fiction film 4D Man. Guy Raymond also starred in this film. Lansing and Meriwether co-starred again in Namu, the Killer Whale (1966). In 1963, he had a supporting role in the war drama A Gathering of Eagles, which featured DS9 actress Louise Fletcher in an uncredited role. The following year, he appeared in the romantic comedy Under the Yum Yum Tree, which also featured Gloria Calomee and Bill Erwin. In 1971, he co-starred with fellow TOS alumni Kim Darby, Hal Baylor, and Don Keefer in The Grissom Gang, and in 1977, he co-starred with Joan Collins and Robert Pine in the cult sci-fi film Empire of the Ants. Lansing's other film credits include An Eye for an Eye (1966, with Paul Fix and Clint Howard), Namu, the Killer Whale (1966, with John Anderson and Lee Meriwether, and fearturing a score by Samuel Matlovsky), and Bittersweet Love (1976, with Gail Strickland).
Lansing has also appeared in a number of made-for-TV movies and specials, including Killer by Night (1972, with Theodore Bikel and Jason Wingreen), The Astronaut (1972, with Monte Markham, James B. Sikking, and Paul Kent, written by Harve Bennett), Crime Club (1975, with David Clennon), The Deadly Triangle (1977, with Diana Muldaur), Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (1989, with Jeff Yagher).
In his later years, Lansing served as president of The Players, the New York City theatrical and literary club on Gramercy Park, where his portrait still hangs. In 1993, he became a recurring cast member on Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. Sadly, his role only lasted until the following year, when he died of cancer at the age of 66.
Lansing was married to Emily McLaughlin, who married Jeffrey Hunter after she and Lansing divorced.
Further reading Edit
- "From the Files of Gary Seven", Peter Bloch-Hansen, Starlog, issue 149, December 1989, pp. 23-26, 36