George Wallace, star of Radar Men from the Moon, has passed at the age of 88.
While I've never seen RMFTM, Wallace's character was apparently iconic enough to inspire both an awesome one-hit wonder in the 70s (Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, who performed "Hot Rod Lincoln"), and a prominent background character in some recent sci-fi flick that I can't recall the name of.
From Yahoo! News:
LOS ANGELES - George Wallace, an actor whose career spanned 50 years and was best known as Commando Cody in the film serial "Radar Men from the Moon," has died. He was 88.
Wallace died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of complications following injuries when he fell during a vacation in Pisa, Italy, said his wife, actress Jane Johnston.
Born in New York City in 1917, Wallace moved to West Virginia where he worked in the coal mines and joined the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1936, he joined the Navy, serving for eight years.
The one-time lumberjack who had been the light heavyweight champion of the Pacific Fleet before World War II was tending bar in Hollywood in the late 1940s when gossip columnist Jimmie Fidler discovered him and helped launch his career in show business.
Wallace appeared in a few films and on TV but landed the starring role of Commando Cody in the 1952 motion picture serial "Radar Men from the Moon." He played Cody, a scientist who wore a leather jacket, a bullet-shaped, silver helmet and an atomic-powered rocket pack.
The plot of the low-budget, 12-part serial had Cody and his two associates flying to the moon to investigate why strategic targets on Earth were being destroyed by an unknown weapon. The moon scenes were shot in 112-degree heat at Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert.
Wallace also made his mark on Broadway, debuting opposite opera star Helen Traubel in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Pipe Dream."
The singing actor went on to replace John Raitt in "The Pajama Game" when Raitt left to co-star in the 1957 film version of the hit Broadway musical.
Wallace also played the male lead opposite Gwen Verdon in "New Girl in Town," for which he was nominated for a New York Drama Critics' Circle Award. He later appeared as King Arthur in a touring company of "Camelot," and he played the innkeeper in tours of "The Man of La Mancha."
Some of his film credits included "Submarine Command," "Nurse Betty" and "Minority Report." He also made more than 125 TV guest appearances, ranging from "Hopalong Cassidy" to "Joan of Arcadia."
Wallace is survived by Johnston, his wife of 40 years, who he met when they both appeared in the musical "The Most Happy Fella" at the Long Beach Civic Light Opera in 1963.