Ed Kemmer

Ed Kemmer

NEW YORK CITY--Actor Ed Kemmer, who was known early in his career as Commander Buzz Corry on the popular TV show "Space Patrol" and who spent the latter half of his career on a series of daytime dramas, died here Nov. 9 after suffering a stroke. He was 84. MSTies will remember his performance as courageous high school teacher Mr. Kingman in episode 313- EARTH VS. THE SPIDER.

Born Edward Kemmerer in Reading, Pa., he was an Air Force pilot in World War II, flying his 48th mission in 1944 when his P-51 was shot down over German-occupied France. He was captured and spent 11 months in a POW camp in Germany. He even managed to escape at one point--an escape that reportedly served as the inspiration for the one in the movie "The Great Escape"--but was recaptured two weeks later. It was during his confinement that he did his first acting, appearing in plays for his fellow prisoners.

After the war, he studied acting at the College of Theater Arts at the Pasadena Playhouse. "Space Patrol" debuted in early 1950 on a local TV station in Los Angeles as a 15-minute show that aired live every weekday; Kemmer was paid $8 per show. By the end of the year, it was a weekly half-hour series running live on the fledgling ABC network. It ended its run in 1955.

Kemmer did more TV work, appearing in series such as "Perry Mason," "Gunsmoke" and "Maverick," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Science Fiction Theater," "77 Sunset Strip," "Wanted: Dead or Alive," "Men Into Space," "The Rebel," "Combat" and many others. "Twilight Zone" fans may remember him from the classic episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," where he played a pilot. In the early 1960s, he played a Cape Canaveral flight engineer on the live soap opera "Clear Horizons" on CBS. From there he moved on to other soaps, with regular roles on "Edge of Night" (where he met his wife-to-be, actress Fran Sharon; their characters were also married on the show--shortly before his character was killed off), "As the World Turns," "All My Children," "Guiding Light" and others. He retired in 1983.

He would occasionally attend sci-fi or movie conventions, where he steadfastly refused to charge for autographs.

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, and three children.