Edward Platt was born February 14, 1916 in Staten Island, New York. Platt began his performing career as an opera and big band singer before hosting a childrens show on television. Platt turned towards the movies when his friend Jose Ferrer offered him a role in The Shrike in 1955.
North By Northwest
Platt then began a successful career as a character actor in both movies and television. His first and only regular TV role came when cast as the Chief in 1965. Don Adams and others have credited Platt with making Get Smart click, as his acting ability made the unbelievable believable. Leonard Stern put it perfectly:
He turned out to be irreplaceable. You very seldom say that about an actor but there turned out to be something innate in Ed, a paternal patience, that sort of harnessed this fury and made him reinvestigate his incredulity. Somehow, I think he had to be a results player and it worked out all right so he had to forgive the methodology. I sorely missed that. In the movies, there was no adequate replacement.
Part of that came from the great working chemistry between Platt and Adams. Adams, who had a photographic memory, used to bet Platt that he would mess up difficult lines. To help him win the bet, Adams would often rewrite the Chief's lines. The picture below, signed to Platt from Adams, was given for display on this site by Jeff Platt, as it helps to illustrate the above point.
Picture Copyright The Platt Family and Used By Their Permission
Edward Platt committed suicide in 1974 after two previous attempts. According to his family, Ed suffered from undiagnosed depression and financial difficulties. His ashes were scattered in the sea off the California coast by his family. Like any other medical condition, depression needs to be treated. If you or anyone you know suffer from depression, please consider these resources:
For more on this great actor, check out The Ed Platt Tribute Site.
TV SHOW ROLES
Copyright 1995-2007 Carl Birkmeyer