Edward Cuthbert Platt (February 14, 1916 – March 19, 1974) was an American actor best known for his portrayal of "The Chief" in the 1965-70 NBC/CBS television series Get Smart. With his deep voice and mature countenance, he played an eclectic mix of characters over the span of his career.
Stage, film and television career
Platt was born in Staten Island, New York, and studied at the Juilliard School. He attended Princeton University, but left after his freshman year. Platt served in the United States Army during World War II.
A powerful, operatically trained bass-baritone, he debuted on Broadway in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Allegro. José Ferrer, who performed with Platt in the Broadway play The Shrike, helped Platt land his first film role in the 1955 film version. Also in 1955, he appeared in Rebel Without a Cause starring James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Sal Mineo. Platt returned to Broadway in 1958 with the musical Oh, Captain!, playing a romantic role. In 1959, he played Cary Grant's attorney in North by Northwest. In 1959, Platt starred in the movie The Rebel Set, which was "riffed" by the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Platt also appeared in episodes of the original Perry Mason, State Trooper (in the episode "Who Killed Doc Robbins"), Men into Space (in the episode "From Another World"), "Gunsmoke", Bonanza, The Rifleman, Rawhide, Whispering Smith, The Outer Limits (in the first-season episode "The Man with the Power"), The Dick Van Dyke Show (in "A Nice Friendly Game Of Cards"), "Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea", and The Twilight Zone.
His most famous role was the regular role of Chief in the espionage parody television series Get Smart (1965–1970). After the series ended, he played a recurring role in situation comedy series The Governor & J.J. in 1970. He had guest roles in several other television series of the era, mostly comedies. These included Temperatures Rising, Bewitched, Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, Love, American Style, and The Odd Couple as Oscar Madison's boss in the episode "Oscar's New Life".
Platt appeared as Sotto Voce in the 1969 KCET television reading of Norman Corwin's 1938 radio play The Plot to Overthrow Christmas.
Work as producer
In 1973, Platt raised the money to produce one of the first independent color motion pictures shot entirely on videotape: Santee, starring Glenn Ford. Platt saw the advantages of using videotape over film, and his crew shot the production with electronic TV cameras and portable VTRs, then had the images transferred to film for theatrical release. The movie was not commercially successful.
On March 19, 1974, Platt's body was found in his apartment. It was widely reported that he died of an apparent heart attack. One of his sons later confirmed that Platt had, in fact, committed suicide after two previous attempts; he suffered from undiagnosed and untreated depression that was exacerbated by financial troubles. He left four children from two marriages and a brother living in Santa Barbara, California. His ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.
|1949||I Was a Male War Bride||Lieutenant in Gates's Office||Uncredited|
|1955||Cult of the Cobra||Lamian Threatening Death||Uncredited|
|The Shrike||Harry Downs|
|The McConnell Story||Medical Corps Instructor||Uncredited|
|"Gunsmoke "||Mr. Burgess|
|Rebel Without a Cause||Ray Fremick|
|Sincerely Yours||Dr. Eubank||Uncredited|
|1956||The Lieutenant Wore Skirts||Major Dunning|
|The Steel Jungle||Judge Wahller|
|Backlash||Sheriff J.C. Marson||Credited as Edward C. Platt|
|The Proud Ones||Dr. Barlow|
|Storm Center||Rev. Wilson|
|The Unguarded Moment||Attorney Briggs|
|Rock, Pretty Baby||Thomas Daley Sr. M.D.|
|The Great Man||Dr. O'Connor|
|Written on the Wind||Dr. Paul Cochrane|
|1957||The Tattered Dress||Ralph Adams|
|Designing Woman||Martin J. Daylor|
|House of Numbers||The Warden|
|The Helen Morgan Story||Johnny Haggerty|
|Summer Love||Dr. Thomas Daley|
|Oregon Passage||Roland Dane|
|Damn Citizen||Joseph Kosta|
|1958||The Gift of Love||Dr. Jim Miller|
|The Last of the Fast Guns||Sam Grypton||Credited as Edward C. Platt|
|The High Cost of Loving||Eli Cave|
|Gunman's Walk||Purcell Avery|
|1959||They Came to Cordura||Col. DeRose|
|The Rebel Set||Mr. Tucker / Mr. T|
|North by Northwest||Victor Larrabee|
|Inside the Mafia||Dan Regent|
|1960||Cash McCall||Harrison Glenn|
|1961||The Fiercest Heart||Madrigo|
|Atlantis, the Lost Continent||Azar the High Priest|
|Snow White and the Three Stooges||Villager||Uncredited|
|The Explosive Generation||Mr. Morton|
|1963||Johnny Shiloh||General Thomas|
|Black Zoo||Detective Rivers|
|A Ticklish Affair||Captain Haven Hitchcock|
|1964||Bullet for a Badman||Tucker|
|Shock Treatment||District Attorney||Uncredited|
|1965||The Man from Button Willow||The Man In The Black Cape||Voice, Uncredited|
|1959||Wagon Train||Matthew Sinclair||Episode "The Duke LeMay Story"|
|1960||Men into Space||Dr. Luraski||Episode "From Another World"|
|1961||The Twilight Zone||The Doctor||Episode "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim"|
|1964||The Outer Limits||David Hunt||Episode "Keeper of the Purple Twilight"|
|1965-1970||Get Smart||Chief of CONTROL|
|1969-1970||The Governor & J.J.||Orrin Hacker||Recurring role|
|1971||The Odd Couple||Bill Donnelly||Episode "Oscar's New Life"|