Updated: Jul 31
This is embarrassing to me now, but I can freely admit that during my entire childhood and into the early years of my adult life, I thought Richard Carlson and Hugh Marlowe were the same actor. In the 1980s, I thought Phil Hartman should have played them both in a doppelganger biopic.
Both Carlson and Marlowe had distinguished careers and left a lasting legacy. Marlowe made his acting mark in such films as All About Eve (1950), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944),Elmer Gantry (1960), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), and Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956). Carlson was not only an actor, but a director and screenwriter as well. He had an eclectic career, but is remembered primarily for his roles in Science Fiction classics such as Riders to the Stars (1954) which he also directed, The Magnetic Monster (1953), It Came from Outer Space (1953), and The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).
So, here is a brief trivia quiz you might say to help us better understand the separate lives of these twin faces.
#1: HIS LAST FEATURE FILM ROLE WAS OPPOSITE ELVIS PRESLEY AND MARY TYLER MOORE.
He played Bishop Finley in Change of Habit (1969), with Elvis as a ghetto hospital doctor who falls in love with nurse Mary Tyler Moore who’s also a nun in disguise.
#2: HE STOKED THE FIRE OF HATRED BETWEEN BURT LANCASTER AND KARL MALDEN.
As the new warden of Leavenworth Penitentiary, he wanted to release the birds from prison, much to the dismay of the Birdman of Alcatraz (1962).
#3: HE WAS SO UNKIND TO TYRONE POWERS AND SUSAN HAYWARD.
As a ruthless escape convict with a gang of murders, he meets his violent end at the hands of his own man in Rawhide (1951).
#4: HE WAS AN ORPHAN RAISE BY CHARLES LAUGHTON.
Under the boxing tutelage of Jocko (Charles Laughton) his character fights the champion of the British Empire for the title in The Man from Down Under(1943).
#5: HE PLAYED THE FUTURE 3rd PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
As young Thomas Jefferson, he was Cary Grant’s childhood chum in The Howards of Virginia (1940).
#6: HE WAS ABLE TO TAKE A PUNCH FOR JUSTICE.
As a federal judge presiding over a murder trial who believe the accused is innocent and has to find the real killer before the defendant hangs from The Long Rope (1961).
#7: HE WAS A YOUNG NEWS HOUND WHO SMELLED A RAT.
As a college reporter, he earns his nickname “Pug” when he discovers the so-called “college girl” dance competitor is a ringer in Dancing Co-Ed (1939).
#8: HE BATTLED A GIANT MUTANT CYCLOPS.
As a scientist returning from a trip around Mars, he and his fellow crewmates discover they have been catapulted into the future in World Without End (1956).
#9: HE WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR A DATE AND A JOB.
He was once a bachelor contestant on The Dating Game, and auditioned for the announcer’s position on The Price is Right.
It was a trick question...
#10: HE HAD ISSUES WITH CREATURES FROM ANOTHER PLANET.
As a dedicated scientist, he and his wife are thrown into an alien plan to conquer Earth in Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) and It Came from Outer Space (1953).
The answer is BOTH!
“He (Richard Carlson) was an actor with a photographic mind – he would merely look at the script, ask you what it was about, then learn the lines you wanted put on film immediately. He was a very pleasant person to work with. He was brought to Hollywood by David O. Selznick as a writer and became an actor.”
-Herbert L. Strock, producer/director, The Magnetic Monster (1953), Riders to the Stars (1954)
"I've always believed the kindest thing a man can do in this business is tell someone when they should get another line of work."
– Hugh Marlowe to his radio co-worker Ronald Reagan who was about to lose his job. (1933)
Finally, for extra credit here’s one more piece of trivia. You can research and find the answer yourself if you don’t already know it.
EXTRA CREDIT: HE WAS ONCE KNOW AS HUGH HERBERT HIPPIE, A NAME PERFECT FOR A PHIL HARTMAN CHARACTER.