Don Marshall (actor)

Donald James Marshall (May 2, 1936 – October 30, 2016) was an American actor best known for his role as Dan Erickson in the television show Land of the Giants.

Don Marshall
Marshall in Land of the Giants.
Donald James Marshall

(1936-05-02)May 2, 1936
DiedOctober 30, 2016(2016-10-30) (aged 80)
Alma materLos Angeles City College
Years active1962–2016
Known forDan Erickson (Land of the Giants)
  • Alma Marshall (mother)
RelativesLeola Williams (maternal grandmother)
FamilyDouglas Marshall (twin brother)

Early life

Marshall was born on May 2, 1936, to Alama Marashall in San Diego.[1][2] He lived with his mother and his maternal grandmother, Leola Williams, his two older sisters and his twin brother (Douglas).[2][3] He graduated high school from San Diego High School in 1954. While studying engineering[1] between 1956 and 1957, he was encouraged to try acting by a friend, Peter Bren. Marshall was still in the army at this time,[2] but later studied acting at the Bob Gist Dramatic Workshop, while undertaking a course in Theatre Arts at Los Angeles City College.[2][4] While at college, he was pole vaulter on the track team.[5]



Marshall's first professional role was in a 1962 Columbia Studios feature The Interns in an uncredited role.[6] In 1964, he was in Shock Treatment, another uncredited role.[7] Also in 1964, Marshall took the role of Chris Logan, playing opposite Nichelle Nichols in CBS Repertoire Workshop episode titled "Great Gettin' Up Mornin'", a made-for-TV-movie about an African-American family preparing their children for their first day at a racially integrated school in America's south.[8][9][10] That same year, Nichols played Marshall's fiancée in a controversial episode of Gene Roddenberry's series The Lieutenant. In 1965, Marshall appeared in a pilot for a series Premiere in the episode "Braddock". In 1966 he appeared as the recurring character of Luke in Daktari.

Later in the 1960s he appeared in Roddenberry's next series, Star Trek portraying Lt. Boma in the episode "The Galileo Seven" (1967). Other TV series he appeared in were Tarzan (the series with Ron Ely), Dragnet 1967, and Ironside. In 1968, he appeared as Ted Neumann, the recurring love interest of Julia Baker, in the television series Julia, a series about an African-American widow raising her son on her own.

Land of the Giants

As a result of appearing in Premiere in the episode "Braddock", the actor met Irwin Allen, leading to Marshall gaining his role in Land of the Giants, in which he performed alongside Gary Conway, Don Matheson, Kurt Kasznar, Stefan Arngrim, Deanna Lund and Heather Young.[4][5] The series, created by Irwin Allen, featured Marshall as a competent African-American in a leading role.[11] This was also a first for an African American male in the 1960s to be featured so prominently in science fiction.[12] The only other African American actors to be in such a position in the 1960s were Nichelle Nichols, known for her role as Lt. Uhura in the TV series Star Trek, and Greg Morris as electronics expert Barney Collier in Mission: Impossible.

On set, the actors had to perform many of their own stunts and Marshall's athleticism was an asset, he credited his previous football, track and pole vaulting work that helped him with the stunts required. In one of the episodes, "Ghost Town", while diving over a fire, Marshall actually dislocated his shoulder and the next day they had to shoot new scenes with Marshall's arm in a sling. Another episode "Giants and All That Jazz" that featured former world champion boxer Sugar Ray Robinson as Biff Bowers and Mike Mazurki as Loach, where Marshall had to teach Biff Bowers how to play the trumpet was one that Marshall in his own words calls "Beautiful" seems to be a favorite of his and made him want to act rather than follow or figure out what dialogue to use or say. He also says that actors had a better time on the set when Irwin Allen wasn't on the set. When he was it was very different and people would get uptight.[13]

In later years Marshall wrote a script for a sequel to the series called Escape from a Giant Land.[4] He hoped that it would be a big screen production and would feature as many original cast members as possible.


Marshall had a role in the made-for-TV-movie The Reluctant Heroes, aka The Egghead on Hill 656 (1971), a film that was directed by Robert Day. This was a war film set in the Korean War with men under a newly commissioned lieutenant who are trapped on a hill surrounded by the enemy.[14] His character as Pvt. Carver LeMoyne was subject to continual racial abuse by Cpl. Leroy Sprague (Warren Oates). The film also starred Ken Berry, Jim Hutton, Ralph Meeker, Cameron Mitchell and Trini Lopez.[5]

Marshall was subsequently cast in the role of Dr. Fred Williams in the science-fiction horror exploitation film The Thing with Two Heads (1972) which starred Ray Milland and Rosey Grier. This was a tale about a wealthy and racist white man who has his head transplanted onto the body of a black prisoner from death row.[5][15][16] In 1974, he was cast in Uptown Saturday Night as Slim's Henchman.[17] In 1976, he played the part of Captain Colter in an episode of The Bionic Woman and in 1979 he was in a two-part episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century as Julio. From 1978 to 1980, Marshall was in three episodes of The Incredible Hulk.


In the 1980s, Marshall had few roles, appearing occasionally in episodes of Little House on the Prairie as Caleb Ledoux, as Doctor Jim Blair in Finder of Lost Loves and as Senator Ed Lawrence in Capitol. In 1992 he played the concierge in the Paul Schneider directed made-for-TV-movie Highway Heartbreaker.[4][18] Marshall has often stated that he was proud of his work on Little House.[3] In 2011, he was in Pioneers of Television as Pvt. Ernest Cameron in archival footage from the episode titled "To Set It Right" in 1964's The Lieutenant for PBS.

After he retired from acting, Marshall set up his own company called DJM Productions, Inc., which produced television commercials and documentary films.[2] He was popular with Star Trek fans as he was a Star Trek convention regular.[19]

Personal life and death

Marshall was in a relationship with Diahann Carroll (1969–1970). He was previously married to Diane Marshall. He had one daughter and one son.[1][20] Marshall provided consultation on matters connected with his work and with racial issues, and received an award for "Outstanding Achievement in his field as a Black Achiever in the United States".[21] He died on October 30, 2016, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.[5] Veteran actress BarBara Luna had reported his death on Facebook.[19]



Year Title Role Notes
1962 The Interns Intern
1964 Shock Treatment Singer
1968 Sergeant Ryker Cpl. Jenks
1972 The Thing with Two Heads Dr. Fred Williams Science fiction film directed by Lee Frost.[15][16][23]
1973 Terminal Island A. J. Thomas Action–drama thriller film directed by Stephanie Rothman.[24]
1974 Uptown Saturday Night Slim's Henchman #2 Action–comedy crime film directed by Sir Sidney Poitier.[17]
1975 Hugo the Hippo Additional characters


Year Title Role Notes
1963 Kraft Suspense Theatre Cpl. Jenks Episodes:
  • "The Case Against Paul Ryker: Part 1" (S 1:Ep 1–Pilot)
  • "The Case Against Paul Ryker: Part 2" (S 1:Ep 2)
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Tom Jackson Episode: "The Cadaver" (S 2:Ep 8)
1964 CBS Repertoire Workshop Chris Logan Episode: "Great Gettin' Up Mornin'" (S 1:Ep 1–Pilot)[8][9][10]
The Lieutenant Pvt. Ernest Cameron Episode: "To Set It Right" (S 1:Ep 21)
Rawhide Pvt. Goodlove Episode: "Incident at Seven Fingers" (S 6:Ep 30)
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Officer Healy Episode: "Isabel" (S 2: Ep 31)
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Guest Episode: "The Turncoat" (S 2:Ep 4)
1965 The Rogues Chalo Episode: "The Diamond-Studded Pie" (S 1:Ep 20)
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Joe Chandler Episode: "Night Fever" (S 3:Ep 28)
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Lathrop Episode: "The War and Eric Kurtz" (S 2:Ep 17)
Ben Casey Charles Stearns Episode: "A Nightingale Named Nathan" (S 5:Ep 3)
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Jerry Benton Episode: "The Admiral" (S 3:Ep 9)
1966 Daktari Luke Recurring
Mission: Impossible The Police Officer Episode: "The Ransom (S 1:Ep 8)
Twelve O'Clock High Sgt. Earl Conklin Epispde: "Graveyard" (S 3:Ep 15)
1967 Star Trek Lt. Boma Episode: "The Galileo Seven" (S 1:Ep 16)
Mr. Terrific Athlete Episode: "Stanley the Track Star" (S 1:Ep 14)
Tarzan Kimini Episode: "The Fanatics" (S 2: Ep 7)
Ironside Joe Masterson Episode: "Let My Brother Go"
Dragnet Dave Roberts Episode: "The Shooting" (S 1:Ep 11)
1968 Premiere Gilmore Episode: "Braddock" (S 1:Ep 4)
Dragnet Off. Dave Evans Episode: "Community Relations (DR-10)" (S 3:Ep 3)
1968–70 Julia Ted Neumann Recurring
Land of the Giants Dan Erickson Contract role
1970 Bewitched Keith Wilson Episode: "Sisters at Heart" (S 7:Ep 13)
1971 The Reluctant Heroes Pvt. Carver LeMoyne Made-for-TV-Movie and war film directed by Robert Day.[14][26]
1974 Police Story Chuck
1975 Justin Sullivan Episode: "The Execution" (S 2:Ep 18)
1976 Good Times FBI Agent Lloyd Episode: "The Investigation" (S 3:Ep 20)
The Bionic Woman Captain Colter Episode: "The Vega Influence" (S 2"Ep 9)
Rich Man, Poor Man Book II Reverend
1977 Benny and Barney: Las Vegas Undercover Detective Vincent Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Ron Satlof.[27][28][29]
The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Flight Engineer Eddy Baker Episode: "The Strange Fate of Flight 608" (S 2: Ep 8)
1978 The Incredible Hulk Lee Episode: "The Hulk Breaks Las Vegas" (S 1:Ep 8)
Rescue from Gilligan's Island FBI Man #1 Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Leslie H. Martinson.[30][31]
1979 The Suicide's Wife Richard Wilkes Made-for-TV-Movie directed by John Newland.[32]
The Incredible Hulk Doctor Episodes:
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Julio Episodes:
1980 The Incredible Hulk Man Episode: "Deathmask" (S 3:Ep 20)
1981 Little House on the Prairie Caleb Ledoux Episode: "Dark Sage" (S 8:Ep 4)
1984 Capitol Senator Ed Lawrence #1 Recurring
Finder of Lost Loves Doctor Jim Blair Episode: "Forgotten Melodies" (S 1:Ep 10)
1992 Highway Heartbreaker Concierge Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Paul Schneider.[18]
2011 Pioneers of Television Pvt. Ernest Cameron Archival footage from the episode titled "To Set It Right" in 1964's The Lieutenant.


  1. Saperstein, Pat (November 1, 2016). "Don Marshall, Actor on 'Star Trek' and 'Land of the Giants,' Dies at 80". Variety. United States: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  2. Gates, Anita (November 2, 2016). "Don Marshall, Who Made Casting History in 'Land of the Giants,' Is Dead at 80". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  3. Gates, Anita (November 5, 2016). "Don Marshall, 80; made casting history in 'Land of the Giants'". The Boston Globe. Boston: Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  4. Don Marshall on
  5. Centeno, Stephanie (November 1, 2016). "Don Marshall, Actor on 'Land of the Giants,' Dies at 80". The Hollywood Reporter. United States: Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  6. "The Interns". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  7. "Shock Treatment". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  8. Johnson 1964, p. 60.
  9. Johnson 1964, p. 66.
  10. Fearn-Banks 2005, p. 326.
  11. Land of the Giants Cast and Crew at
  12. MSN TV best and worst of 60s sci-fi Archived 2009-06-25 at the Wayback Machine
  13. Interview with Don Marshall on
  14. "The Reluctant Heroes". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  15. "The Thing with Two Heads". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  16. Tyner, Adam (June 22, 2015). "The Thing with Two Heads". DVD Talk. Internet Brands. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  17. "Uptown Saturday Night". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  18. "Highway Heartbreaker". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  19. McGrath, Rachel (November 1, 2016). "Star Trek and Land Of The Giants actor Don Marshall, 80, has died in hospital in Los Angeles". Daily Mail. Daily Mail and General Trust. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  20. "Remembering TOS Guest Don Marshall, 1936-2016". CBS Television Studios. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  21. "Planet Xpo". Planet Xpo. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
  22. "Sergeant Ryker". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  23. "The Thing with Two Heads". MGM Home Entertainment. MGM. ASIN B00005AUK3. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  24. "Terminal Island". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  25. "Hugo the Hippo". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  26. "The Reluctant Heroes". Worldvision Enterprises. CBS Television Distribution. ASIN B00008T245. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  27. "Benny and Barney: Las Vegas Undercover". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  28. Pegg 2002, p. 154.
  29. Roberts 2009, p. 507.
  30. "Rescue from Gilligan's Island". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  31. "Rescue from Gilligan's Island". Eclipse. The Criterion Collection. ASIN B00005KHJF. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  32. "The Suicide's Wife". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Archived from the original on November 7, 2016. Retrieved November 7, 2016.


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