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G Entries
Frederic Gadette
Beverly Garland
Fred Gebhardt
William Gibson
Jeff Goldblum
Jerry Goldsmith
Bernard Gordon
Bert I. Gordon
Peter Graves
Lorne Greene
Sir Alec Guinness
 
GREENE, LORNE
(1915–1987). Canadian actor.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in: The Silver Chalice (Victor Saville 1954); "Help Wanted" (1956), episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents; "The Little Lame Prince" (1958), episode of Shirley Temple's Story Book; Earthquake (Mark Robson 1974); Tidal Wave (Shiro Moritani and Andrew Meyer 1975); SST—Death Flight (tv movie) (David Lowell Rich 1977); "The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula" (1977), episode of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries; Battlestar Galactica (tv series) (1978-79); Battlestar Galactica (Richard A. COLLA and [uncredited] Alan J. Levi 1979); Galactica 1980 (tv series) (1980); The Wizard of Oz (animated; voice) (1982); "A Substantial Gift" (1982), episode of Police Squad; "The Smile in the Third Row" (1985), episode of Highway to Heaven; "Disco Inferno" (footage from Earthquake) (1989), episode of Quantum Leap.
 
William SHATNER and Lorne Greene were both born in Canada, and both starred in science fiction series, but there the resemblance ends. For all his faults, Shatner always took an active and passionate role in shaping the shows he was in; Greene was a lazy actor who came to the set every morning, did whatever he was told to do, and went home at the end of the day without giving the matter any further thought. When properly cast—most notably, as the father in the television western Bonanza—his avuncular presence, furrowing brows, striking gray hair, and deep voice might make a suitable impression; but acting in science fiction films generally demands a modicum of intelligence, and if that intelligence wasn't in the script, Greene couldn't, or wouldn't, provide it.

I first realized that Battlestar Galactica was going to be a terrible bomb when Greene was interviewed on television a week before its premiere, and his comments on the new series went something like this: "You know, space is like Dolly Parton—you can't quite believe it, but there it is!" Well, I concluded, a person comparing the impact of the cosmos with the impact of Dolly Parton's breasts was manifestly not in the proper frame of mind to begin a science fiction series, and when producer Glen A. LARSON's atrocity was finally unveiled, it was painfully apparent that its space armada's guiding patriarch did not believe in, or even understand, exactly what was going on—one of many factors contributing to the program's early demise. It is puzzling, then, that Larson thought Greene was the one cast member worth bringing back for the inane successor series Galactica 1980, where a beard and a few extra wrinkles did nothing to alter the complete ineffectiveness of his performance.

Aside from these conspicuous fiascos, Greene generally steered clear of science fiction and fantasy, with occasional exceptions: early television roles in Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Shirley Temple's Story Book; a turn as an Earthquake victim; the token Caucasian presence in a few scenes added to the American version of Japan Sinks, Tidal Wave; a Van Helsing-like encounter with Dracula and (even more horrifying) television's Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew; and a sentimental reunion with Bonanza co-star Michael Landon in Highway to Heaven. After his death in 1987, he was appropriately brought back from the dead (via footage from Earthquake) to appear in Quantum Leap, the series of the 1980s and 1990s that endeavored to make sense of the 1950s and 1960s, Greene's golden years as an actor. Today, Lorne Greene may still be cherished by western fans for his role in Bonanza, but for science fiction fans, he is memorable only as an excellent example of everything a science fiction actor shouldn't be.

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