November 15, 2010

My Five: Favorite Twilight Zone Actresses

As iconic as the male actors were on The Twilight Zone, there were a few plum roles for women too. It seems only right that I offer up a list of my favorite actresses from the show, since I listed the guys last week.

#5 Julie Newmar (in "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville") - My favorite Catwoman. Others may have their Eartha Kitts and their Michelle Pheiffers--and a couple ill-tasted folks can have their Halle Berrys--but Julie Newmar is the cat's meow in my book. And she played up that devilish villain persona just as well on The Twilight Zone by playing who else ... the Devil. This is a biased pick on my part, as she doesn't have a whole lot of screen time compared to the rest of the women on the list, but heck, it is my list after all.

#4 Diana Hyland (in "Spur of the Moment") - Hyland works a double-shift, as she plays not only a distraught fiancee tormented by a crazed woman on horseback, she also plays the crazed woman. Spoiler alert: it's her future self come to haunt her after she marries the wrong guy. How many people, if given the choice, would gallop after their younger self and tell them to go with option "B"--I'll bet a few.

#3 Lois Nettleton (in "The Midnight Sun") - When the Sun is slowly getting closer, or more accurately the Earth is orbiting closer to the Sun, it's surprising how civil some people can be as civilization collapses. Nettleton plays a distraught apartment tenant as the world slowly dies. It's a good performance that really makes you feel for her situation. And given global warming--yes, it exists, James Inhoffe--I wonder how long before this scenario plays out.

#2 Maxine Stuart (aka Donna Douglas in "The Eye of the Beholder") - If this gal had a pig nose she'd be the total package. I'm not overly fond of this episode, but I do have to had it to Stuart for being more than just a pretty face through the course of this episode. It's just too bad that the episode had to be so on-the-nose--literally and figuratively.

#1 Inger Stevens (in "The Hitch-Hiker" and "The Lateness of the Hour") - I gave Stevens the top spot because she managed to appear in two episodes and both of them were very good. Maybe it was just the way of the world back then that made it easier for the men to get recurring roles on The Twilight Zone and other shows. "The Hitch-Hiker" in particular is a good example of Stevens ability to draw sympathy and ratchet up tension. By today's standards, a lot of the suspense is drained from that episode, but it's still worth watching.

Well, that's my list. Are there any ladies you think deserve an honorable mention?


  1. For some reason I don't think I've seen any of those episodes. I'm going to have to take a look and see if I can watch them.

  2. Wow. Not even "Midnight Sun"? I think they adapted that into a graphic novel as well.

  3. I so remember the pig nose episode. One of the episodes-- it has something to do with people in lab coats trying to stick needles in the main character who was on a lab table-- gave me nightmares forever as a teen. I loved horror, but for some reason I was always creeped out by Twilight Zone. They're classics.