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John Phillip Law, RIP


LOS ANGELES–Actor John Phillip Law, perhaps best remembered as the blind angel opposite Jane Fonda in 1968’s “Barbarella” died at his home here May 13. He was 70. MSTies will remember him as Commander Elijah Kalgan in the movie in episode 820- Space Mutiny and the title character in the episode 1013- Diabolik.

Read his Los Angeles Times obituary here.

31 Replies to “John Phillip Law, RIP”

  1. Brian says:

    I’ve done a lot of laughing at his expense through MST3K, but was genuinely sad to see this news. RIP, John. :sad:


  2. MattG says:

    Kalgan, take him away!

    (Sorry, sorry!)


  3. outerspace says:

    Looks like we don’t need more Kalgon


  4. radioman970 says:

    Barbarella is such a nostalgic film for me I usually only watch it while on vacation from work. But alas, I was on vacation last week and didn’t watch. :( Maybe I’ll watch it this weekend, late one night, just like the first time I saw it on Night Flight back in the 80s.

    I had no idea he was in Space Mutiny! He’s much better in the 2 other films mentioned.


  5. daffyphack says:

    He knew a lot about ancient dentistry, that’s for sure.


  6. SIRHAMHAT says:

    I don’t trust this report at all. We’ve been fooled too many times by Diabolik.


  7. Bix Dugan says:

    I never knew about the Mansion in Los Feliz…Tiny Tim?
    We’ll miss him. Tonite, I’ll watch Diabolik or Space Mutiny in his honor.


  8. Kenneth Morgan says:

    Not too long ago, I was watching the recent DVD release of the unMSTed “Diabolik”. Law was featured in the “making of” segment and the commentary. It was actually very interesting, and he could still do that sinister laugh.

    Another good choice would be “Golden Voyage of Sinbad”, where Law plays the real Sinbad (not the fake one that got MSTed), alongside a staggeringly lovely Caroline Munro and villainous Tom Baker, pre-scarf.

    Sad news, this…


  9. magicvoice says:

    I saw Mr. Law speak in person at a screening of the western Death rides a Horse a few years ago. I don’t even like westerns but I like this movie.
    He looked to be in great physical shape and had a great memory and was
    a pretty outgoing funny guy. Sad news.


  10. Billy Donald says:

    Wow, this totally sucks, I loved JPL in Space Mutiny, and in fact I have been watching Space Mutiny several times over the last few weeks…never gets old! Next time I watch it, it will be with a new element of sadness. We’ll miss you John Phillip Law!


  11. BSBrian says:

    wow–he was in what may be my favorite episode, Space Mutiny(so tough to decide), and one that I have never seen–Diabolik, the last episode. I’ve instructed my wife that if I am not able to watch Diabolik on my deathbed, and make it officially MY last episode, then she has to show it at my wake!


  12. Captain Cab says:

    Darn, I hate it when I keep waiting for an update and it’s a new obit. Part of the reson he was so funny as Diabolik and (especially) Kalgan (one of the best bombastically absurd villians of all time) is that he really was a good character actor. He also played Alexei in the 1966 classic “The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!” IIRC his character was the young sub sailor who Carl Reiner’s daughter fell for. Imagines a silhouette of Mike sympathetically patting the picture of his face on the obit. :p :(


  13. fireballil says:

    I liked how they used a picture of him in Diabolik in the gallery that accopmanied the article, though I didn’t see any mention of Space Mutiny in the article.


  14. Gorn Captain says:

    He also had a small role in “CQ” several years ago. The film is set in the 60’s, and the movie within the movie pays homage to both Barbarella and Diabolik.


  15. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    Wow, sad day indeed. CQ is a terrific film, and actually after seeing Diabolik on MST3K, I searched out a few other of JPL’s films. Not the most emotive guy around (he WILL poke his skull out at you), but a great prescence on the screen. Death Rides a Horse (with Lee Van Cleef!) is not the best euro-western, but these two actors together combine to have one of the steeliest gazes in filmdom. Awesome stuff. No Space Mutiny, mind you, but pretty good nonetheless…


  16. daisyj says:

    Well, damn. It just happens that I was watching “The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!” a couple weeks ago, and I developed kind of a crush on Alexi. I even went and read his imdb page, and discovered the MST3k connection. He was in some lousy movies, but he was a good actor.


  17. Brian says:

    Ah, that is quite sad. He played one of the most memorable villains in all MST3K movie history.

    And, im sorry to go there, but I wonder if at his funeral he will just slowly start to open his eyes and then start laughing the most evil of laughs. haha, I kid because he was great, RIP Mr. Law.


  18. KSK says:

    You know he’s hanging out in his Diabolik cave complex, fooling everyone.

    Oh, wait, he’s not. :cry:

    I love Diabolik, and not just the MST version. It’s such a bold movie, getting you to root for a ruthless villain.


  19. Bobo "BuckDat" Briggs says:

    Man, I’m actually shocked. I heard an interview of him recently an he seemed very healthy. Same with on the DVD extras somebody mentioned. I’m a big fan of him and many of his films. (I even saw CQ, which somebody also mentioned above.) My AIM messenger name is named for him and the only poster I have up on my wall is a Diabolik movie poster. Danger: Diabolik is definatly a favorite MSTed movie. Although i wish the recent DVD included the dubbed version seen on MST3K. :( The bad guy character voices are much funnier and of course the famous line used in the Stinger isnt in the DVD’s dub. :(

    R.I.P. J.P.L,

    By the way that audio interview is here.


  20. Tommy says:

    He was enjoyable in Diabolik, and intresting in Space Mutiny. I saw Russians are Comming in the early 90s when I was a kid and thought it was funny, never knew I actually saw him in something before those 2 movies!
    Even though Space Mutiny is a terrible movies its still my favorite episode.


  21. Sean74 says:

    Every now and then, a character in a film is so over-the-top, so outlandishly bold as to be laughable, that you actually kind of like him or her, even though you hate yourself for doing so afterwards. That’s the case with JPL’s portrayal of Elijah Kalgan; anything and everything concerning evil delights this man, to the point of him outrageously laughing at it. I think Law indulged in this character so much, perhaps tried to hard to make Kalgan come across as sinister, that in the end we as an audience were waiting more for the next punchline than the next threat.

    But we’re all in agreement that he is, without a doubt, one of the most memorable villians in MST history.

    I actually thought his acting in Diabolik wasn’t too bad; he has the super-cool demeanor of a superhero minus the superhero intent. (I always thought that movie was actually alittle too good for MST’s standards.) After reading these posts, I want to go out and buy “The Russians are Coming!!” and “Death Rides a Horse” just to see how well JPL’s performances were.

    RIP, John! “One of the good, dead ones!”



  22. MoxieHart says:

    He’s not dead, he’s just waiting for his laundry to finish drying.
    RIP, John Phillip Law, he played some of my fave MST3K characters. Also, he was smoking hot in Diabolik.


  23. Smoggy the Smug Smogin' Smogger says:

    How was Danger: Diabloik chosen, again?


  24. Ken Daneyko says:

    Are there any other of you that wish to confuse freedom with treason?!


  25. Cornjob says:

    Holy crap I never realized Kalgan was Diabolik! The skin tight face masks Diabolik wore were really cool looking, but actually didn’t do much to hide his identity. I highly enjoyed him in both, and Barbarella is a favorite of mine as well, so I’m sad to see he died.

    Also “CQ” is a brilliant movie, and I highly recommend it, but I didn’t know he was in it at all. I’ll have to watch it again and look for him.


  26. MoxieHart says:

    Are there any other of you that wish to confuse freedom with treason?!
    No, but I’d like to confuse cabbage with bok-choy.
    But I think the other guy, the cripple, said that.
    Anyone want to learn about ancient dentistry?


  27. Bob says:

    Farewell, Mr. Law, your movies, good and bad, were enjoyed. Space Mutiny is one of the funniest bad movies used during the Sci-Fi Channel run of MST3K and is a favorite post-Joel era episode at my home. My son really loves that one and we frequently are reminded of “railing kills” in other films and situations it was just so funny.

    The fact that J.P. Law was in a pretty good Ray Harryhausen Sinbad movie is definitely in his favor as an actor. I loved those movies as a kid and I still do to this day. I am sorry to hear that he’s gone at what was not all that advanced of an age.


  28. Nick says:

    According to Tim Lucas’ site, JPL’s daughter said he died of pancreatic cancer. This is sad indeed because, as others have said, he sounded like he was in pretty good shape. Danger: Diabolik was, IMHO, the best movie they riffed on, and the Space Mutiny episode was one of my favorites.

    Anyone want to learn about ancient dentistry?

    No, not interested. Don’t know why, but I don’t feel a thing. :wink:


  29. wssymes says:

    :sad: I have been watching Space Mutiny the past few nights. I really loved his character! I hope to see him in heaven :grin:


  30. Stephanie says:

    He was also in “Attack Force Z,” a New Zealnad production, I think, maybe Australian. It’s memorable for bad sound and a very young Mel Gibson. I watched it endlessly on HBO or Showtime when I was about 14, and those channels only had about three movies at a time. I was smitten with both MG and JPL. The JPL crush lasted much longer. Til, like, today.


  31. SIlviu Tigu says:

    Till now I have never heard of John Phillip Law, that’s beacause I considered all the movies that were made before 2000 old. Today I changed my opinion. I saw some cartoons of Diabolik, and I can say that they are the best cartoons I have ever seen!I made some research and i found this site and the fact that there is a movie Danger:Diabolik. And from u guys I understand that the actor was one of the greatest actors of all times. Now I’ll have an obsesion until i will see Danger:Diabolik. So please guys i tryed a lot to find it but nothing… If any of u can give me some advice where to look for it my e-mail adress is


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