Whit Bissell

Whit Bissell

Highest Rated: 100% Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954)

Lowest Rated: 13% Not as a Stranger (Morton Thompson's Not as a Stranger) (1955)

Birthday: Oct 25, 1909

Birthplace: New York, New York, USA

Whit Bissell was a familiar face to younger baby boomers as an actor mostly associated with fussy official roles -- but those parts merely scratched the surface of a much larger and longer career. Born Whitner Nutting Bissell in New York City in 1909, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was an alumnus of that institution's Carolina Playmakers company. He made his movie debut with an uncredited role in the 1940 Errol Flynn swashbuckler The Sea Hawk and then wasn't seen on screen again for three years. Starting in 1943, Bissell appeared in small roles in a short string of mostly war-related Warner Bros. productions, including Destination Tokyo. It wasn't until after the war, however, that he began getting more visible in slightly bigger parts. He had a tiny role in the opening third of Ernst Lubitsch's comedy Cluny Brown (1946), but starting in 1947, Bissell became much more closely associated with film noir and related dark, psychologically-focused crime films. Directors picked up on his ability to portray neurotic instability and weaselly dishonesty -- anticipating the kinds of roles in which Ray Walston would specialize for a time -- and used him in pictures such as Brute Force, He Walked by Night, and The Killer That Stalked New York. His oddest and most visible portrayal during this period was in The Crime Doctor's Diary (1949), in which he had a scene-stealing turn as a mentally unhinged would-be composer at the center of a murder case. By the early 1950s, however, in addition to playing fidgety clerks, nervous henchmen, and neurotic suspects (and friends and relatives of suspects), he added significantly to his range of portrayals with his deeply resonant voice, which could convincingly convey authority. Bissell began turning up as doctors, scientists, and other figures whose outward demeanor commanded respect -- mainstream adult audiences probably remember him best for his portrayal of the navy psychiatrist in The Caine Mutiny, while teenagers in the mid-1950s may have known him best for the scientists and psychiatrists that he played in Target Earth and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But it was in two low-budget films that all of Bissell's attributes were drawn together in a pair of decidedly villainous roles, as the mad scientists at the center of I Was a Teenage Werewolf and I Was a Teenage Frankenstein. The latter, in particular, gave him a chance to read some very "ripe" lines with a straight face, most memorably, "Answer me! I know you have a civil tongue in your mouth -- I sewed it there myself!" But Bissell was never a one-note actor. During this same period, he was showing off far more range in as many as a dozen movies and television shows each year. Among the more notable were Shack Out on 101, in which he gave a sensitive portrayal of a shell-shocked veteran trying to deal with his problems in the midst of a nest of Soviet spies; "The Man With Many Faces" on the series Code 3, in which he was superb as a meek accountant who is pushed into the life of a felon by an ongoing family tragedy; and, finally, in "The Great Guy" on Father Knows Best, where he successfully played a gruff, taciturn employer who never broke his tough demeanor for a moment, yet still convincingly delivered a final line that could bring tears to the eyes of an audience. By the end of the 1950s, Bissell was working far more in television than in movies. During the early 1960s, he was kept busy in every genre, most notably Westerns -- he showed up on The Rifleman and other oaters with amazing frequency. During the mid-1960s, however, he was snatched up by producer Irwin Allen, who cast Bissell in his one costarring role: as General Kirk, the head of the government time-travel program Project Tic-Toc on the science-fiction/adventure series Time Tunnel. He also showed up on Star Trek and in other science-fiction series of the period and continued working in dozens of small roles well into the mid-1980s. Bissell die

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Time Machine Actor 1978
78% Casey's Shadow Dr. Williamson 1978
No Score Yet Donner Pass: The Road to Survival Uncle Billy Graves 1978
No Score Yet Last of the Mohicans Webb 1977
No Score Yet The Incredible Rocky Mountain Race Actor 1977
No Score Yet Flood! Dr. Ted Horne 1976
No Score Yet Psychic Killer Dr. Taylor 1975
71% Soylent Green Santini 1973
80% Pete 'n' Tillie Minister 1972
No Score Yet The Salzburg Connection Newhart 1972
No Score Yet City Beneath the Sea Actor 1971
73% Airport Mr. Davidson 1970
No Score Yet Once You Kiss a Stranger Dr. Haggis 1969
No Score Yet 5 Card Stud Dr. Cooper 1968
No Score Yet A Covenant with Death Bruce Donnelly 1966
No Score Yet The Hallelujah Trail Hobbs 1965
No Score Yet Where Love Has Gone Prof. Bell 1964
No Score Yet Advance to the Rear Capt. Queeg 1964
91% Seven Days in May Sen. Prentice 1964
82% Hud Burris 1963
No Score Yet Spencer's Mountain Dr. Campbell 1963
96% The Manchurian Candidate Medical Officer 1962
No Score Yet Heningway's Adventures of a Young Man Ludstrum 1962
86% Birdman of Alcatraz Dr. Ellis 1962
75% The Time Machine Walter Kemp 1960
40% Never So Few Capt. Alofson 1960
88% The Magnificent Seven Chamlee 1960
No Score Yet Warlock Mr. Petrix 1959
No Score Yet No Name on the Bullet Thad Pierce 1959
No Score Yet Monster on the Campus Dr. Oliver Cole 1958
83% The Defiant Ones Lou Gans 1958
20% The Black Orchid Mr. Harmon 1958
No Score Yet Destination Nightmare Actor 1958
No Score Yet The Tall Stranger Adam Judson 1957
40% I Was a Teenage Werewolf Dr. Alfred Brandon 1957
No Score Yet Johnny Tremain Josiah Quincy 1957
38% The Amazing Colossal Man Capt. Queeg 1957
82% Gunfight at the O.K. Corral John P. Clum 1957
30% I Was a Teenage Frankenstein Prof. Frankenstein 1957
No Score Yet Man from Del Rio Breezy Morgan 1956
No Score Yet Dakota Incident Mark Chester 1956
No Score Yet The Proud Ones Mr. Bolton 1956
98% Invasion of the Body Snatchers Dr. Hall 1956
No Score Yet At Gunpoint (Gunpoint!) Clark 1955
No Score Yet Shack Out on 101 Eddie 1955
No Score Yet Trial Sam Wiltse 1955
No Score Yet The Naked Street (The Brass Ring) Attorney Blaker 1955
13% Not as a Stranger (Morton Thompson's Not as a Stranger) Dr. Dietrich 1955
92% The Big Combo Doctor 1955
86% The Desperate Hours Carson 1955
No Score Yet The Hour of Stars: The Miracle on 34th Street Dr. Pierce 1955
No Score Yet Target Earth Scientist 1954
No Score Yet Three Hours to Kill Deke 1954
92% The Caine Mutiny Lt. Cmdr. Dickson 1954
85% Creature from the Black Lagoon Edwin Thompson 1954
100% Riot in Cell Block 11 Snader 1954
100% It Should Happen to You Robert Grau 1954
No Score Yet Atomic Kid Dr. Edgar Pangborn 1954
No Score Yet Devil's Canyon Virgil 1953
No Score Yet The Turning Point Buck 1952
No Score Yet Skirts Ahoy! Mr. Yarbrough 1952
No Score Yet The Sellout Wilfred Jackson 1952
No Score Yet Hoodlum Empire Filby 1952
No Score Yet Red Mountain Miles 1951
No Score Yet Lost Continent Stanley Briggs 1951
No Score Yet Night Into Morning (People in Love) Stone Yard Proprietor 1951
No Score Yet Sealed Cargo Schuster 1951
83% The Red Badge of Courage Wounded Officer 1951
No Score Yet The Great Missouri Raid Bob Ford 1951
No Score Yet For Heaven's Sake Doctor 1950
No Score Yet The Killer That Stalked New York Sid Bennet 1950
No Score Yet Wyoming Mail Sam Wallace 1950
No Score Yet Convicted Owens 1950
83% Side Street Harold Simpsen 1950
No Score Yet Perfect Strangers Defense Attorney 1950
No Score Yet A Life of Her Own Rental Agent 1950
No Score Yet Chicken Every Sunday Mr. Robinson 1949
86% He Walked by Night Reeves 1948
No Score Yet Canon City Heilman 1948
100% Raw Deal Man 1948
No Score Yet Another Part of the Forest Jugger 1948
No Score Yet Night Song Ward Oates 1948
No Score Yet That Lady In Ermine Guilio 1948
91% Brute Force Tom Lister 1947
71% A Double Life Dr. Stauffer 1947
No Score Yet The Senator Was Indiscreet Oakes 1947
89% Somewhere in the Night Bartender 1946
93% Cluny Brown Dowager's Son 1946
No Score Yet Holy Matrimony Harry Leek 1943
80% Destination Tokyo Yo Yo 1943


90% Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Appearing 1998
No Score Yet Dukes of Hazzard
Fenwick 1980
No Score Yet Quincy, M.E.
Dr. Thornton Botanist 1979
No Score Yet The Bionic Woman
Wolfe 1977
No Score Yet Kojak
Harry Sentman 1976
No Score Yet Ironside
Simon Eustis 1974
No Score Yet It Takes a Thief
Jenkins 1970
No Score Yet Marcus Welby, M.D.
Winnick 1970
80% Star Trek
Mr. Lurry 1967
No Score Yet I Dream of Jeannie
Horace 1966
No Score Yet Hogan's Heroes
General 1966
100% The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Glomm 1966
No Score Yet The Fugitive
Gibson 1965
No Score Yet Perry Mason
Laurence Barlow Groody Pompey Larry Sands 1965
No Score Yet Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Bliss 1962
No Score Yet Bonanza
Henry Neighbors 1962
No Score Yet Maverick
Clement Samuels 1960
No Score Yet Father Knows Best


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