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Apes Production Information Guide: Cast and Crew Biographies


For his cast, Jacobs assembled a distinguished company equally recognized for its work on the legitimate stage, television and feature films.

CHARLTON HESTON (TAYLOR) holds an Academy Award for "Ben Hur" and is the actor most producers think of first when faced with the task of casting a strong heroic type. He was Moses in "The Ten Commandants," John the Baptist in "The Greatest Story Ever Told,'' Andrew Jackson in both "The Buccaneer" and "The President's Lady,'' Michelangelo in "The Agony and The Ecstasy" -- and he attributes his presence these and other such ventures to the fact that he has a "medieval face." He is president of the Screen Actors Guild and a leading citizen of the film community and spokesman for the industry. The role of Taylor in "Planet of the Apes" so tickled his fancy when he first read a treatment of the project almost three years ago that he insisted upon playing the U.S. astronaut if and when the film came to fruition.

RODDY McDOWALL (CORNELIUS), a film star since his pre-teens, deserted his New York photographic studio (he is one of America's top magazine photographers) to don ape makeup at the studio which first boosted him to fame in "How Green Was My Valley." His role is Cornelius, the young simian archeologist whose discovery of human relics provides the key to a terrifying secret his superiors insist be suppressed.

KIM HUNTER (ZIRA), winner of an Academy Award for "A Streetcar Named Desire" (she played Stella in both the Broadway and Hollywood versions) dons chimpanzee makeup as Dr. Zira, the animal psychologist whose interest in human behavioral patterns leads her to befriend the captured space man played by Heston. Miss Hunter lives in New York and is married to Robert Emmett, an actor turned writer. Though still a young woman, scarcely a season has passed in the last two decades which has not seen her light up Broadway with a fine performance.

MAURICE EVANS (ZAIUS), one of the world's foremost Shakespearean actors, sports the orangutan makeup of Dr. Zaius, Minister of Science and Defender of the Faith in "Planet of the Apes." His Broadway debut in 1935 was opposite Katharine Cornell in "Romeo and Juliet," and in recent ears he has scored also as the producer of such smash stage hits as "Teahouse of the August Moon" and "Dial M For Murder."

JAMES WHITMORE is also seen as an orangutan, the aristocratic President of the Assembly, a radical change from his memorable portrayal of the tobacco-chewing sergeant in ''Battleground,'' the role which won him stardom although he spoke only 28 lines of dialog. He speaks not too many more in "Planet of the Apes," but found the project so compelling that he could not resist taking the part. On Broadway Whitmore has won both Donaldson and Antoinette Perry Awards, and his films include "Asphalt Jungle" and "Oklahoma!", among many more.

JAMES DALY brings many years of experience to his portrayal of Dr. Honorius, the prosecuting attorney. Long a familiar face in top-notch television dramas, he was seen recently in a highly-praised video production of G.B. Shaw's "St. Joan."

The supporting cast includes four relatively new faces which promise to be around a long while. JEFF BURTON, a parole department official in Los Angeles, plays Dodge, the Negro astronaut whose fate it is to end up stuffed and mounted as an exhibit in the apes' natural history museum. R0BERT GUNNER, best known as the star of a series of round-the-world commercials sponsored on TV by Ford Motors, is Landon, the third member of Heston's spaceteam. LOU WAGNER, a student at Actors Studio West, plays Lucius, the teenage chimp who aids Heston in his escape.

LINDA HARRISON, seen briefly in several films including "A Guide for the Married Man," has he challenging role of Nova, the sub-human who becomes Heston's cellmate. A former Miss Maryland, the lovely brunette has nary a word of dialog in her role which runs throughout the film -- and one is sparked to recall that such a role won an Oscar for Jane Wyman with "Johnny Belinda."

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ARTHUR P. JAC0BS is a former press agent (Gregory Peck, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly were among his clients) who started in the film business as a studio messenger, determined that some day he would be a producer. He achieved this dream with "What A Way To Go!" and followed this hilarious comedy with the costliest musical ever filmed, "Doctor Dolittle," with Rex Harrison in the title role. He will film "The Chairman," a suspense espionage story starring Frank Sinatra, for 20th Century-Fox later this year and is also at working on a musical version of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," to star Peter O'Toole and Petula Clark.

FRANKLIN J. SCHAFFNER, who directed "Planet of the Apes," directed such Broadway hits as "Advise and Consent," "12 Angry Men" and "Caine Mutiny Court Martial." He has also won four Emmys for TV directing and production. Schaffner was born in Tokyo, the son of a missionary father. After World War II service he became an actor, but soon turned to direction.

JERRY GOLDSMITH composed and conducted the unusual musical score. He functioned in the same capacity on "The Sand Pebbles" and "Patch of Blue," "The Prize" and "Lillies of the Field," among other top films, and is also the composer of symphonies and concerti which have been performed by major orchestras. Still a young man, Goldsmith calls "Planet of the Apes" his greatest challenge, and his music for the film is scored for such unorthodox instruments as a set of 40 metal mixing bowls.

CINEMATOGRAPHER LEON SHAMROY holds Oscars for "Cleopatra," "Leave Her to Heaven," "Wilson" and "The Black Swan."

COSTUME DESIGNER MORT HAACK had designed wardrobe for two Broadway shows by the time he was 16, when he branched out to designing the overall concept for such major undertakings as Detroit's 250th birthday celebration and the New Orleans Mardi Gras. Among his film chores were "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" and "Games," a recent Simone Signoret film.

MAKEUP ARTIST JOHN CHAMBERS designed the fabulous disguises which transform this film's stars from humans to believable apes. He worked on the project for six months prior to start of filming, spending much time in the experimental laboratory where he and his associates perfected new paints, materials, adhesives and techniques. Chambers then set up a school to train young apprentices to supplement the veteran makeup men already pressed into service on the film. Working closely with him is Dan Striepeke, head of the studio makeup department.

PIERRE BOULLE, the author of "Planet of the Apes," was born in 1912 in France, and after an engineering course went to Malaya in 1936 as a rubber planter. During World War II he served with the Free French and later with the Special Forces in India. He infiltrated Indo-China as a guerrilla, was captured in 1943, and escaped a year later. He returned to France in 1947, at which time he decided to become a writer. He is a master of subtle suspenses.

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MORT ABRAHAMS, Associate Producer of "Doctor Dolittle" and "Planet of the Apes," and Executive Vice-President of APJAC, came to this estate through the somewhat unusual route of statistics. Son of a New York stockbroker, Abrahams took a masters degree in economics at Columbia University and shortly thereafter became a statistician at Columbia Pictures.

Later he was motion picture consultant to the Bank of America and began writing for television as an avocation. In 1950, Abrahams produced a television series, "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet," the first science-fiction serial.

Abrahams progressed from this into the production of various dramatic anthologies for all three networks, including such series as "Tales of Tomorrow," "Chrysler Medallion Theater," "Campbell Sound Stage" and "Kraft Suspense Theater," among others. Subsequently, he produced "The General Electric Theater," became program director for National Telefilm Associates, then produced "Route 66." He won an Emmy Award and Producers' Guild nomination for producing "The Man From U.NC.L.E."