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T–V Entries
George Takei
Rod Taylor
Marshall Thompson
Kenneth Tobey
Ivan Tors
Thomas Tryon
Sonny Tufts
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Sir Peter Ustinov
Robert Vaughn
Jules Verne
Gore Vidal
Thea von Harbou
Max von Sydow
 
TUFTS, SONNY
(Bowen Charlton Tufts III 1911–1970). American actor.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Appeared in: Cat-Women of the Moon (Arthur Hilton 1953); "And Leave the Drive-In to Us" (1965), episode of My Mother, the Car.
 
It is strange indeed that Sonny Tufts is regarded by some as an iconic figure of science fiction film, and that a reader has requested an entry devoted to his career, when the record shows that, with one marginal exception, his entire contribution to the genre consisted of one, extremely undistinguished film. Then again, few if any actors in science fiction films have even debased themselves with anything resembling Tuft's laughably wretched performance as Laird Granger, commander of the first flight to the Moon in Cat-Women of the Moon. Utterly unpersuasive as a trustworthy leader on such a mission, Tufts attempts to project a personality by alternately snarling, whining, and lecturing his hapless crew, making him so unsympathetic that the desperate filmmakers actually shifted to the role of hero to the very unlikely Victor Jory, so that that frail, homely man becomes the film's romantic lead and the only crew member intelligent enough to recognize that the Moon's sultry temptresses are actually up to no good.

It is also strange that this son of a prominent Boston family, a relative of the founder of Tufts University and graduate of Yale University, ended up starring in a film like Cat-Women of the Moon, but after garnering a few major roles during the 1940s when most of Hollywood's handsome young men were off fighting World War II, Tufts systematically destroyed his career with a string of bad performances and well-publicized incidents of public drunkenness. Then, offered the lead in Cat-Women in the Moon as his career neared rock bottom, he acted so poorly that afterwards, even science fiction films were uninterested in his talents (for truly, when compared to Tufts, John AGAR is an actor of Shakespearian quality). Yet Tufts continued to garner some occasional minor roles, mostly in westerns, and made a cameo appearance as himself in an episode of My Mother, the Car. Although that ridiculous sitcom mostly employed Tufts as the butt of jokes—the reincarnated car desperately wants to go to a drive-in to watch a film starring her old heartthrob, though members of her son's family have never heard of him—he was nonetheless happy to be on a soundstage again, and when he thanks the family for staying to watch his film through inclement weather, he actually seems sincerely grateful, no doubt reflecting his sincere gratitude that someday in Hollywood still remembered him. Others have long forgotten him, but for better or worse (and perhaps, especially for the very worst), aficionados of bad science fiction films never forget.

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