MONTECITO, CA--Alex Nicol, a character actor who appeared in more than 40 movies during a 35-year career in Hollywood, died here July 29, 2001. He was 85. Although best known in Hollywood for performances in movies ranging from 1955's "Strategic Air Command," with James Stewart, to the low-budget 1976 howler "A*P*E," MSTies will remember him as Mickey, the "Torgo-lite" gardener, in the movie in episode 912- THE SCREAMING SKULL, a film Nicol also directed.
Born in Ossining, NY in 1919, Nicol began his acting career began at age 19, performing Shakespeare with the prestigious Maurice Evans company. After serving in World War II, he returned to New York City and became a charter member of Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio. He appeared in such Broadway milestones such as "South Pacific," "Mr. Roberts" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."
He attracted the attention of Universal studios, which signed him in 1950 and he began to appear in many of the studio's Westerns. As television arrived, he also found work in that medium, including appearances "The Twilight Zone" and "The Outer Limits." "The Screaming Skull" was his first directorial effort, but after that he got more directing work, including on the 1961 feature "Then There Were Three" and on TV series "Daniel Boone" and "The Wild, Wild West."
In the 1960s he appeared in several Spanish and Italian films, returning to the U.S. in the 1970s for more TV and movie work. He retired in 1987.