Edward Platt

Edward Cuthbert Platt (February 14, 1916 – March 19, 1974) was an American actor best known for his portrayal of "The Chief" in the 1965-70 NBC/CBS television series Get Smart. With his deep voice and mature appearance, he played an eclectic mix of characters over the span of his career.

Edward Platt
Edward Cuthbert Platt

(1916-02-14)February 14, 1916
DiedMarch 19, 1974(1974-03-19) (aged 58)
Resting placeAshes scattered into the Pacific Ocean
Alma materJuilliard School
Years active19411974
Suzanne Belcher
(m. 1954; his death 1974)

Early life and military service

Platt was born in Staten Island, New York. He spent a part of his childhood in Kentucky and in upstate New York where he attended the Northwood School, a private school in Lake Placid, and was a member of the ski jump team. He also studied at the Juilliard School.[1] He attended Princeton University, but left after his freshman year.[2] Platt served in the United States Army during World War II.

Acting career

A powerful, operatically trained bass-baritone,[3][4] he debuted on Broadway in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Allegro. José Ferrer, who performed with Platt in the Broadway play The Shrike, helped Platt land his first film role in the 1955 film version. Also in 1955, he appeared in Rebel Without a Cause, starring James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Sal Mineo. Platt returned to Broadway in 1958 with the musical Oh, Captain!, playing a romantic role. In 1959, he played Cary Grant's attorney in North by Northwest. In 1959, Platt starred in the movie The Rebel Set, which was later mocked on the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Platt also appeared in episodes of the original Perry Mason ("The Case of the Slandered Submarine" and "The Case of the Larcenous Lady"); 77 Sunset Strip, Trackdown, State Trooper (in the episode "Who Killed Doc Robbins"), Men into Space ("From Another World"), Ripcord ("Millon Dollar Drop"), Gunsmoke, Bonanza, One Step Beyond, The Rifleman, Rawhide, Whispering Smith, The Outer Limits (in the first-season episode "The Man with the Power"), The Dick Van Dyke Show ("A Nice Friendly Game Of Cards"), Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, Bat Masterson, Tales of Wells Fargo and The Twilight Zone.

His most famous role was the regular role of Chief in the espionage parody television series Get Smart (1965–1970). After the series ended, he played a recurring role in situation comedy series The Governor & J.J. in 1970. He had guest roles in several other television series of the era, mostly comedies, including Temperatures Rising; Bewitched; Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law; Love, American Style; and The Odd Couple as Oscar Madison's boss in the episode "Oscar's New Life."

Platt appeared as Sotto Voce in the 1969 KCET television reading of Norman Corwin's 1938 radio play The Plot to Overthrow Christmas.

Work as producer

In 1973, Platt raised the money to produce one of the first independent color motion pictures shot entirely on videotape: Santee, starring Glenn Ford. Platt saw the advantages of using videotape over film, and his crew shot the production with electronic TV cameras and portable VTRs, then had the images transferred to film for theatrical release. The movie was not commercially successful.


On March 19, 1974, Platt was found dead in his Santa Monica apartment, at the age of 58; [5]Iniitially it was reported that he had died from a heart attack, but Platt's son later admitted his father's death was from suicide, after a long struggle with untreated depression.[6]


Year Film Role Notes
1949 I Was a Male War Bride Lieutenant in Gates's Office Uncredited
1955 Cult of the Cobra Lamian Threatening Death Uncredited
The Shrike Harry Downs
The McConnell Story Medical Corps Instructor Uncredited
Illegal Ralph Ford
Rebel Without a Cause Ray Fremick
Sincerely Yours Dr. Eubank Uncredited
1956 The Lieutenant Wore Skirts Major Dunning
The Steel Jungle Judge Wahller
Backlash Sheriff J.C. Marson Credited as Edward C. Platt
Serenade Everett Carter
The Proud Ones Dr. Barlow
Storm Center Rev. Wilson
The Unguarded Moment Attorney Briggs
Written on the Wind Dr. Paul Cochrane
Reprisal! Neil Shipley
Rock, Pretty Baby Thomas Daley Sr. M.D.
The Great Man Dr. O'Connor
1957 The Tattered Dress Ralph Adams
Designing Woman Martin J. Daylor
Omar Khayyam Jayhan
House of Numbers The Warden
The Helen Morgan Story Johnny Haggerty
Oregon Passage Roland Dane
1958 The Gift of Love Dr. Jim Miller
Damn Citizen Joseph Kosta
The High Cost of Loving Eli Cave
Summer Love Dr. Thomas Daley
The Last of the Fast Guns Sam Grypton Credited as Edward C. Platt
Gunman's Walk Purcell Avery
1959 The Rebel Set Mr. Tucker / Mr. T
North by Northwest Victor Larrabee
They Came to Cordura Col. DeRose
Inside the Mafia Dan Regent
1960 Cash McCall Harrison Glenn
Pollyanna Ben Tarbell
1961 The Fiercest Heart Madrigo
Atlantis, the Lost Continent Azar the High Priest
Snow White and the Three Stooges Villager Uncredited
The Explosive Generation Mr. Morton
1962 Cape Fear Judge
1963 Black Zoo Detective Rivers
Johnny Shiloh[7] General George Henry Thomas
A Ticklish Affair Captain Haven Hitchcock
1964 Shock Treatment District Attorney Uncredited
Bullet for a Badman Tucker
1965 The Man from Button Willow The Man In The Black Cape Voice, Uncredited

Television credits

Year Series Role Notes
1955 Gunsmoke Mr. Burgess Episode "Smoking Out the Nolans"
1958 Silent Service Capt. Benítez Episode "The Last Dive"
1959 Wagon Train Matthew Sinclair Episode "The Duke LeMay Story"
1959 Rawhide Jason Clark Episode "Incident of the Thirteenth Man," Season 2, Episode 6, airdate: Oct. 23, 1959
1959 Mr Lucky Henry Praiswater Episode "The Stowaway"
1960 Men into Space Dr. Luraski Episode "From Another World"
1960 Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre Marshall Mays Episode "The Ox"
1960 Perry Mason Cmdr. Driscoll Episode "The Case of the Slandered Submarine," "The Case of the Larcenous Lady"
1961 The Twilight Zone The Doctor Episode "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim"
1961 Boris Karloff's Thriller Jim Weeks Episode "Late Date"
1962 Bronco Sheriff Ben Lockwood Episode "Ride the Whirlwind"
1962 The Rifleman Senator Jim Borden Episode "The Assailants"[8]
1963 Ripcord Jake Miller Episode "Million Dollar Drop"
1964 The Outer Limits David Hunt Episode "Keeper of the Purple Twilight"
1964 The Virginian Stuart Brynmar Episode "The Secret of Brynmar Hall"
1964 Petticoat Junction General Patterson Episode "The Lost Patrol"[9]
1965-1970 Get Smart Chief of CONTROL
1969-1970 The Governor & J.J. Orrin Hacker Recurring role
1971 The Odd Couple Bill Donnelly Episode "Oscar's New Life"
1972 The Snoop Sisters Jules Nero Episode The Female Instinct


  1. "Actor Edward Platt Is Dead Of Heart Attack". St. Joseph News-Press. St. Joseph, Missouri. AP. March 21, 1974. p. 4A. Retrieved September 12, 2011.
  2. "About Page". 20m.com. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  3. http://www.wouldyoubelieve.com/platt.html
  4. We get to hear him sing in the Get Smart episode "The Hot Line", in which the Chief loses his job and has to work as a singing waiter in a posh restaurant. He sings the French song "Alouette".
  5. "Edward Platt, Actor, Dies". Lincoln Evening Journal. Nebraska, Lincoln. United Press International. March 21, 1974. p. 22. Retrieved August 30, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  6. Death certificate states coronary failure. "Overview for Edward Platt". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  7. Johnny Shiloh (film) Wikipage
  8. "The Assailants" on IMDb
  9. "The Lost Patrol" on IMDb
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