Posted by medusamorlock on August 17, 2011
Although he’s been retired from movies and television since the early 1980s, actor Skip Homeier is a talented character actor whose face will be familiar to almost anyone with a passing interest in popular entertainment. Born in 1930, Homeier started out as a child actor on stage and made his big screen debut repeating his theater role playing a young teenage Nazi being assimilated into American life in 1944’s Tomorrow the World, a shocking portrayal that he had originated on Broadway. Young Homeier more than held his own opposite screen veteran Fredric March who starred as the man who took young Emil into his home and tried to do a political makeover on the young herr . Skip’s performance as the cold and calculating Hitler Youth who eventually begins to see the light was electrifying and unpleasant, and unfortunately somewhat typecast Homeier as a bad guy, even well into his adult career.
Skip fairly successfully navigated the always-awkward transition from child star into an adult actor, fortunately continuing to land supporting roles in motion pictures. Frequently appearing in westerns and action films like 1950′s The Gunfighter and Halls of Montezuma, 1951′s Fixed Bayonets!, 1954′s Cry Vengeance, and other solid B-level titles, he was usually fifth or six billed but a solid addition to any movie he was in. He also began his incredibly prolific career as a television guest star in the early 1950s, eventually appearing in well north of a hundred (by conservative estimate) TV episodes on every popular and not-so-popular series that you could name. The talented and versatile Skip worked on most of the popular dramatic anthologies of the era, such as Robert Montgomery Presents, Schlitz Playhouse, Science Fiction Theater, Lux Video Theatre, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Studio One in Hollywood, and many others.
He got his own series Dan Raven in 1960 starring as a tough Sunset Strip police detective, but sadly it lasted for only 13 episodes. (Bobby Darin starred as himself in the premiere episode!). If you watched TV during the 1960s and 1970s, you couldn’t miss Skip Homeier – Mission: Impossible, The Virginian, Combat!, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Rawhide, Bonanza, Burke’s Law, Death Valley Days — he guest-starred on these and so many other series. You also might have seen him as the judge in the TV Movie Helter Skelter about the Manson murders, and at the movies he was a memorable foil to Don Knotts in his great The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. Be sure to look at his entire IMDb listing to see what an outstanding presence he was on our big and small screen for many years.
Any TV fan worth his or her salt will recall his pair of memorable guest roles on classic Star Trek, first as a – guess what! – Nazi-wannabe on a planet which had been corrupted by contact with WWII Earth history in the episode “Patterns of Force”, and in Trek’s third, last and sometimes a bit silly season as the brilliant but insane leader of a band of space hippies searching for “The Way to Eden”. As farfetched as the episodes may sound on paper, Skip Homeier was memorable and effective in them and no doubt these two Trek appearances will turn out to be his immortal legacy. Homeier was also particularly wonderful in a nutty but fascinating segment of the original The Outer Limits, as a scientist who dabbles with mind-expanding drugs to disastrous effect.
Skip Homeier’s last appearances were in a couple of segments of the Jack Klugman’s medical investigator series Quincy, M.E.. His intelligent, often conflicted, and always interesting on-screen presence has been sorely missed these many years. Be sure to keep an eye out for him as you watch classic movies or vintage TV, and you might be lucky enough to be rewarded with a Skip Homeier sighting. Happy Hunting!
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