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X–Z Entries
George Worthing Yates
Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr.
Michael York
Robert Zemeckis
Terri Zimmern
George Zucco
 
ZIMMERN, TERRI
(?–?). American actress.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in: The Manster (George P. Breakston 1959).
 
Few figures in science fiction film are as obscure and mysterious as Terri Zimmern. Everything that we know about this woman can be presented in one paragraph: in 1959, she starred in a Japanese-American horror film, The Manster, playing the Japanese mistress of a mad scientist who is assigned to seduce an American journalist so that he will become the subject of an insane experiment that transforms him into a monster. It is difficult to distinguish oneself in such an undistinguished production, but the beautiful Zimmern effectively presented her character as intelligent, assured, and sensual in a manner quite unusual for her era, and the actress seemed well qualified to move to other film roles. Yet she immediately vanished from sight, never receiving another screen credit, and there appears to be virtually no information available about her life and other activities.

In the absence of data, one is reduced to speculation. Perhaps she was a Japanese actress who chose to perform using a Western pseudonym; but her English is impeccable, and wouldn't a person in that position come up with a more commonplace name, like Susan Jones? Perhaps she was the American relative, or even the mother, of the one prominent person who shares her unusual surname, celebrity gourmet Andrew Zimmern; after all, he did comment once that his parents were inveterate travelers, and he has also provided what he claims was his grandmother's recipe for Chinese Chicken Wings, suggesting that she was of Asian descent. One can dream up the story that this resident of New York City happened to be visiting Japan, ran into an old friend, George P. Breakston, who was filming a horror movie, and was persuaded to take a role in the film; but disliking the experience (and really, who wouldn't dislike starring in a film like The Manster?), she immediately and permanently retreated to private life, avoiding all further contact with the film industry. Yet her performance was so striking that one yearns for a more fantastic scenario, imagining that she was a time traveler from the future who whimsically decided to take a working vacation into the past to experience the life of a twentieth-century actress, wisely choosing a film that she believed no one would ever notice. But devotees of science fiction film notice everything, and are curious about everything, and I am undoubtedly not the only person who is now intent upon discovering the full story behind her brief but remarkable career.

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