Edward Platt

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Edward Platt
Born Edward Cuthbert Platt
(1916-02-14)February 14, 1916
Staten Island, New York, U.S.
Died March 19, 1974(1974-03-19) (aged 58)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Years active 1949 – 1974
Spouse(s) Suzanne Belcher (m. 1954–74) (his death) (3 children)

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.[1] He attended Princeton University but left after his freshman year.[2]

A powerful 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"), 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"), 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, The Odd Couple as Oscar Madison's boss in 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 very 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.[citation needed]


On March 19, 1974, Platt's body was found in his apartment; the actor was reported to have died of an apparent heart attack. However, one of his sons confirmed that Platt committed suicide in 1974 after two previous attempts while suffering from an undiagnosed and untreated depression that was further sparked by financial troubles. It is also said that Platt's Get Smart (1965) co-star, Don Adams, knew the real cause of death. He left four children from two marriages and a brother living in Santa Barbara, California. His ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.[3]


Year Film Role Notes
1949 I Was a Male War Bride Lieutenant in Gates's Office Uncredited
1955 The Shrike Harry Downs
Cult of the Cobra Snake cult priest
Rebel Without a Cause Ray Fremick
Illegal Ralph Ford
1956 The Lieutenant Wore Skirts Major Dunning
Backlash Sheriff J.C. Marson Credited as Edward C. Platt
The Great Man Dr. O'Connor
The Proud Ones Dr. Barlow
Storm Center Rev. Wilson
Written on the Wind Dr. Paul Cochrane
1957 Omar Khayyam Jayhan
Designing Woman Martin J. Daylor
1958 The Last of the Fast Guns Sam Grypton Credited as Edward C. Platt
1959 The Rebel Set Mr. Tucker / Mr. T
They Came to Cordura Col. DeRose
North by Northwest Victor Larrabee
1959-64 The Twilight Zone The Doctor Episode: A Hundred Yards Over the Rim
1960 Cash McCall Harrison Glenn
Pollyanna Ben Tarbell
Men into Space Dr. Luraski TV Show
1961 The Explosive Generation Mr. Morton
Atlantis, the Lost Continent Azar the High Priest
1962 Cape Fear Judge
1963 A Ticklish Affair Captain Haven Hitchcock
Johnny Shiloh General Thomas
Black Zoo Detective Rivers
1965 The Man from Button Willow The Man In The Black Cape
1965-70 Get Smart Chief of CONTROL TV Show
1970 The Odd couple Oscar's Boss


  1. "Actor Edward Platt Is Dead Of Heart Attack". St. Joseph News-Press. St. Joseph, Missouri. AP. March 21, 1974. p. 4A. Retrieved September 12, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "About Page". 20m.com. Retrieved 23 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Birkmeyer, Carl. "Edward Platt". WouldYouBelieve.com. Retrieved September 12, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links