Sam Maronies Entertainment Funhouse (Maronie Creative Services, LLC)
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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK

April 30, 2014

MICHAEL RENNIE — KLAATU WITHOUT HIS SPACE SUIT

RENNIE

RENNIE

 

Eric Alexander Rennie was born on August 29, 1909 in Idle near Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire.

After graduation from school, Rennie toiled as a car salesman and manager of his uncle’s rope factory.

He was always interested in acting, and apprenticed in various British theatrical groups. His dashing good looks and lanky 6’4″ frame made him leading man material.

During World War II he became a fighter pilot, and actually received much of his training at US Air Force posts in the deep South.

After the war he returned to England for a variety of film roles. 20th Century-Fox chief Darryl Zanuck sent for him, James Mason, Jean Simmons and other Brits to fill out his contract player roster in the early 1950s.

Zanuck put Rennie in the Tyrone Power swashbuckler, The Black Rose, and into The 13th Letter.

His next role was an all-time classic. In The Day the Earth Stood Still, Rennie played the mysterious space traveler, Klaatu. The otherworldly alien comes to a cold-war world to offer earth the option to change its warlike ways, or face certain destruction.

While moviegoers were not always ready to embrace its science=-fiction themes, all were in agreement that Rennie gave a superlative performance. This lead the studio to feature him in more important parts, mostly in the Cinemascope costume dramas they produced to compete with television.

Besides ‘Earth,’ Rennie is fondly remembered for the campy roles he played during the 1960s, most notably for producer Irwin Allen. He was featured in The Lost World in 1960. He also appeared on Allen’s popular teleseries. He was the captain of the ill-fated Titanic in the Time Tunnel pilot ‘Rendezvous with Yesterday.’ Rennie portrayed ‘The Keeper’ in Lost In Space’s best-loved two-part episode of the same title.

Rennie worked steadily in American TV and appeared in a number of low-budget foreign movies.

The actor passed away on June 10, 1971 in his native England.

‘Klaatu Borada Nikto!’






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