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Patrick Macnee
Antonio Margheriti
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Hugh Marlowe
William Marshall
Arlene Martel
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Lee Meriwether
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MERIWETHER, LEE
(1935– ). American actress.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in: The 4D Man (Irvin YEAWORTH, Jr. 1959); Clear Horizon (tv series) (1960-61, 1962); "The Mad, Mad Tea Party Affair" (1965), episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; Batman (Leslie MARTINSON 1966); The Time Tunnel (tv series) (1966-67); "King Tut's Coup/Batman's Waterloo" (1967), episodes of Batman; "That Which Survives" (1969), episode of Star Trek; "The Bunker," "The Numbers Game," "Submarine," "Robot" (1969), episodes of Mission: Impossible; "Rescue" (1969), episode of Land of the Giants; "An Element of Risk" (1970), episode of Nanny and the Professor; "Queen's Gambit" (1970), episode of The Immortal; Cruise into Terror (tv movie) (a Bruce Kessler 1979); "The Copywriter" (1979), episode of Time Express; Mirror, Mirror (tv movie) (1979); "The Butler's Affair" (1983), episode of Fantasy Island; The Munsters Today (tv series) (1988-89); "Batmantis" (1994), episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast; "Pig Amok" (animated; voice) (1994), episode of Duckman.
 
The story of women performers in science fiction films is usually a tale of missed opportunities: the woman appears on the scene, is impressive in some early roles, then vanishes from the scene, to either achieve success outside of the genre or drift into oblivion. Of course, since ever-burgeoning budgets and attention have not erased the sense that science fiction is a distinctly declassé pastime, performers like Dame Diana RIGG or Joan COLLINS may have eagerly sought to escape from its clutches; but many male science fiction stars have evidenced no real desire to escape, and even those who visibly attempt to break out and fail, like Christopher LEE, can always return to their original stomping grounds for another series of roles. Unlike male performers, however, female performers are rarely allowed to specialize in science fiction films—so that a film reference book on science fiction, no matter how much it strives for equal coverage, can never manage to devote 50% of its coverage to the fairer sex.

As for why that may be true, that is a discussion that must be continued at another time—because all of this, after all, is supposed to be functioning as an introduction to a discussion of the career of Lee Meriwether, another tale of missed opportunities. When I first saw her in the brilliant and underrated film The 4D Man, Meriwether was truly a revelation: she was beautiful, she could act, and she could project intelligence on the screen.  She was, in short, an excellent leading lady for science fiction films, even though no one appeared to realize that, leading to later involvements with the genre which were either inconsequential or peripheral. Asked to serve as solid support or as an emergency replacement, she never fulfilled the potential displayed in her first major film role.

A summary of her later adventures: she appeared in the curious daytime soap opera Clear Horizon, focused on the personal problems of American astronauts and their wives; in the film Batman, she was poorly cast as the Catwoman, too classy a broad to project the slutty sexuality that Julie NEWMAR effortlessly brought to the role; in two Batman episodes as the henchperson of an overacting Victor BUONO, she was inevitably upstaged; she was wasted in a recurring role as a laboratory-bound engineer in Irwin ALLEN's The Time Tunnel—since she would have been a far more interesting time traveler than James Darren or Robert Colbert; she performed adequately as a politely murderous hologram in the Star Trek episode, "That Which Survives"; and, during the fourth season of Mission: Impossible (1969-70), when the fired Barbara BAIN's contract prevented the hiring of a permanent replacement, Meriwether played a female agent in four episodes. But the producers did not choose her as Bain's successor, and despite other guest appearances, no one thought to put her at the forefront of a science fiction series.

So, she was left to find her greatest success far afield of science fiction, as Buddy Ebsen's daughter in the long-running detective series Barnaby Jones. Again, however, her talents were badly underestimated: even though the series was doing perfectly well focusing on her and Ebsen, the producers brought in Mark Shera after three seasons to add some youthful male energy and pushed Meriwether a bit toward the sidelines. After the series ended, her career lost any sense of direction, as she unwisely took on Yvonne de Carlo's old role in an unsuccessful revival of The Munsters and performed as a stooge for the likes of Space Ghost and Duckman. The last I heard of her, she was performing on stage in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I, still whistling a happy tune instead of brooding about missed opportunities.

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