Roy Thinnes

Roy Thinnes (born April 6, 1938) is an American television and film actor best known for his portrayal of lonely hero David Vincent in the ABC 1967–68 television series The Invaders.

Roy Thinnes
Thinnes in 1971.
Born (1938-04-06) April 6, 1938
Years active1957present
Barbara Ainslee
(m. 1962; div. 1967)

Lynn Loring
(m. 1967; div. 1984)

Katherine Smythe
(m. 1987; div. 2001)

Stephanie Batailler
(m. 2005)

He starred in the 1969 British science fiction film Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (also known as Doppelgänger)[1], and also played Alfred Wentworth in the pilot episode of Law & Order.



His first primetime role was in "A Fist of Five", a 1962 episode of The Untouchables, as a brother of an ex-policeman (played by Lee Marvin).

He appeared on General Hospital as the "philandering Dr. Phil Brewer" [2] from 1963–65, which was later described as "Thinnes' big break."[3][4]

In 1964, he guested twice in episodes "Murder by Scandal" and the "Lost Lady Blues" of the 13-episode CBS drama The Reporter.

Later he co-starred as Ben Quick in the short-lived 1965-66 television series The Long Hot Summer, which ran on ABC. During its run he received[3] around 1,500 letters per week and appeared on the cover of TV Guide[5]

The Invaders

During 1967 and 1968 Thinnes starred in The Invaders, a TV series in which he portrayed an architect named David Vincent who accidentally witnessed the arrival of aliens from another planet. Vincent waged a seemingly hopeless one-man campaign against them. The series became a cult classic, leading to other 'aliens vs earthlings' films and TV shows.

His then-future second wife, actress Lynn Loring, appeared in the show's 14th episode, The Panic.[3]

He returned in 1995 as a much older David Vincent, as part of a TV mini-series titled The Invaders (starring Scott Bakula), and a decade later provided audio commentary for the official DVD releases of The Invaders.[6]

Decades after the unexpected cancellation of the original series,[7] "in Europe ... It hasn’t stopped running."

The Washington Post noted in 2008 that, although The Invaders "ran for just two seasons ... in 2004, TV Guide placed main character David Vincent at #6 on its 25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends list."[8]

In 2019, U.S. basic-cable network MeTV began running weekly reruns of The Invaders as part of its popular "Red-Eye Sci-Fi Saturday Night" overnight late Saturday evening/early Sunday morning sci-fi TV series programming schedule.


In another short-lived series, Thinnes had the lead role on The Psychiatrist as Dr. James Whitman.[9]

"Manhunter" (in which Thinnes tracks a bank robbery suspect)[10] is a TV Film that was broadcast on British TV in 1972 (with The Man Hunter as its title)[11] but was not shown on American TV until 1976.[12] A similar title ("The Manhunter"), but with a different plot,[13] was used for a 1974-filmed TV movie.

Thinnes guest starred on Twelve O'Clock High, becoming a casualty of war while commanding a B-17 bomber on a dangerous mission. He played an intrepid writer and investigator of the supernatural David Norliss in 1973's The Norliss Tapes, a pilot for an unproduced TV series, and portrayed a suspicious schoolmaster in the TV movie Satan's School for Girls.

He appeared in the disaster films Airport 1975 as the co-pilot, and The Hindenburg as a sadistic SS captain. Thinnes was cast in Alfred Hitchcock's 1976 film Family Plot in the role of nefarious jeweler Arthur Adamson when Hitchcock's first choice, William Devane, was unavailable. Thinnes had already shot several scenes for the film when Devane suddenly became available. Hitchcock fired Thinnes and re-shot all of his scenes. He confronted Hitchcock in a restaurant and asked the director why he was fired. Flabbergasted, Hitchcock simply looked at Thinnes until the actor left. Some shots of Thinnes as the character (from behind) remain in the film.[14]

Thinnes appeared in the 1979 miniseries From Here to Eternity.[15] as Captain Dana Holmes.

During the 1982-1983 season, Thinnes appeared as Nick Hogan in 35 episodes of Falcon Crest. He later played Roger Collins in the 1991 revival of TV's Dark Shadows. He appeared on One Life to Live as Alex Crown from 1984–85, and as Sloan Carpenter from 1992-95. He also played a lead role in "The Final Chapter," the first episode of the 1977 series Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected (known in the United Kingdom as Twist in the Tale), and in "The Crystal Scarab", a first-season episode of Poltergeist: The Legacy in 1996. Thinnes was once considered by Paramount for the part of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation.[16]

He appeared in the 1988 pilot episode of Law & Order, "Everybody's Favorite Bagman", as District Attorney Alfred Wentworth. By the time the show was picked up in 1990, however, Thinnes was contractually obligated to another TV series (NBC's remake of Dark Shadows), and so his character was replaced with D.A. Adam Schiff, played by Steven Hill. Thinnes made two appearances in The X-Files as Jeremiah Smith, an alien rebel with healing and shape-shifting abilities.[6][17]

Twice Thinnes appeared on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live playing two different characters. From 1984-1985, he played the role of "Alex Crown" and from 1992–1995, he played the role of "Gen. Sloan Carpenter". During both of his stints on the show, his characters became a father-in-law to the same character, Cassie Callison.

In 2005, Thinnes co-starred as Dr. Theophile Peyron in the movie The Eyes of Van Gogh about Vincent van Gogh (played by Alexander Barnett, who also wrote and directed) and his voluntary stay in an insane asylum. The movie focuses on Van Gogh's relationships with Dr. Peyron, as well as fellow Expressionist Paul Gauguin, and his brother, Theo.

The New York Times reviewed a 2002 play in which Thinnes had a major role.[18]


Thinnes was born in Chicago[3] of German descent. After serving in the military as an M.P., he relocated to California and attended Los Angeles City College.

He was married to actress Lynn Loring[3] from 1967 to 1984. Loring gave birth to their son Christopher Dylan Thinnes on Feb. 12 1969,[19] and in 1974 gave birth to their daughter Casey Thinnes.

Thinnes's third wife,[20] actress Catherine Smythe,[21] is the mother of two of his five children.

In 2005, Thinnes married film editor Stephanie Batailler.[22]



Year Title Role Notes
1959The FBI StoryParty GuestUncredited
1969DoppelgängerColonel Glen Ross
1973Charley One-EyeThe Indian
1974Airport 1975Urias
1975The HindenburgSS/Gestapo Captain Martin Vogel
1987Mind BendersPrincipal Borden
1989Rush WeekDean Grail
2001A Beautiful MindGovernor
2005The Eyes of Van GoghDr. Peyron
2006SpectropiaFranklin DeMott
2007Broken EnglishPeter Andrews


Year Title Role Notes
1957Cavalcade of AmericaMickey HubbardEpisode: "Chicago 2-1-2"
1958Peter GunnRoy DavidsonEpisode: "The Man with the Scar"
1959Steve CanyonOfficer WeberEpisode: "Room 313"
1962The UntouchablesDenny BrannonEpisode: "A Fist of Five"
1962Gunsmoke HarryEpisode: "False Front"
1963RipcordRadiomanEpisode: "Semper Paratus Any Time"
1963The UntouchablesRed ThomasEpisode: "An Eye for an Eye"
1963The Eleventh HourDavid DunlearEpisode: "Something Crazy's Going on in the Back Room"
1963Death Valley DaysAb SingletonEpisode: "Jeb"
1963GunsmokeDr. PeyronEpisode: "Jeb"
1963–1965General HospitalDr. Phil BrewerSeries regular
1964The ReporterRobertsEpisode: "Murder by Scandal"
1964The ReporterDetective Lieutenant Lee RobertsEpisode: "The Lost Lady Blues"
1965–1966The Long, Hot SummerBen QuickMain cast
26 episodes
1965Twelve O'Clock HighMaj. Jake HaysEpisode: "In Search of My Enemies"
1966The F.B.I.Larry DrakeEpisode: "The Escape"
1966Twelve O'Clock HighCapt. Paul PridieEpisode: "A Distant Cry"
1966The FugitiveCarl CrandallEpisode: "Wine is a Traitor"
1967–1968The InvadersDavid VincentLead role
43 episodes
1970The Other ManJohnny BrantTV movie
1970–1971The Psychiatrist[9]Dr. James WhitmanLead role
Seven episodes
1971Black NoonReverend John KeyesTV movie
1972The ManhunterDavid FarrowTV movie
1973The Horror at 37,000 FeetAlan O'NeillTV movie
1973The Norliss TapesDavid NorlissTV movie
1973Satan's School for GirlsDr. Joseph ClampettTV movie
1973Death RaceArnold McMillanTV movie
1977Quinn Martin's Tales of the UnexpectedFrank HarrisEpisode: "The Final Chapter"
1977SecretsHerb FlemingTV movie
1977Code Name: Diamond HeadJohnny PaulTV movie
1978Battlestar GalacticaCroftTwo episodes
1979From Here to Eternity[15]Capt. Dana HolmesMiniseries
1979SupertrainSenator J. J. Phillips/Eddie BarnesEpisode: "Hail to the Chief"
1979The Return of Mod SquadDanTV movie
1979StoneDetective Cliff BellEpisode: "Pilot"
1980From Here to EternityCapt. Dana HolmesMain cast
11 episodes
1981FreedomMichaelTV movie
1981Scruples[23]Bennett HallTV movie
1981SizzleWheelerTV movie
1982–1983Falcon CrestNick HoganRecurring role
20 episodes
1984HotelJohn WhiteEpisode: "Memories"
1984The Love BoatBuzz McClaineEpisode: "Country Blues/A Matter of Taste/Frat Brothers Forever"
1984–1985One Life to LiveAlex SmithSeries regular
1985Murder, She WroteLt. Ted MiskoEpisode: "Dead Heat"
1986Highway to HeavenHoward SellersEpisode: "Oh Lucky Man"
19871st & Ten[24]Teddy SchraderRecurring role
Six episodes
1987Murder, She WroteSheriff Howard LandryEpisode: "Trouble in Eden"
1987The Law & Harry McGrawGeorge BellamyEpisode: "State of Art"
1989Passport to TerrorJimmyTV movie
1990Blue BayouBarry FontenotTV movie
1990War of the WorldsVan OrderEpisode: "Video Messiah"
1990Law & OrderD.A. Alfred WentworthEpisode: "Everybody's Favorite Bagman"
1991An Inconvenient WomanSims LordMiniseries
1991Murder, She WroteJ.K. DavernEpisode: "The Taxman Cometh"
1991Dark ShadowsRoger Collins/Rev. TraskMain cast
12 episodes
1991P.S. I Luv ULarry BentonEpisode: "The Honeymooners"
1992Lady Against the OddsP.L. StorrsTV movie
1992FBI: The Untold StoriesAgent Jim TheisenEpisode; "D.B. Cooper/The McCoy Hijacking"
1992Stormy WeathersAndrew ChaseTV movie
1992–1995One Life to LiveGen. Sloan CarpenterSeries regular
1995Walker, Texas RangerCol. DaytonEpisode: "Case Closed"
1995The InvadersDavid VincentMiniseries
1996TerminalJohn CabotTV movie
1996–2001The X-FilesJeremiah SmithRecurring role
Three episodes
1996Poltergeist: The LegacyClayton WallaceEpisode: "The Crystal Scarab"
1996Touched by an AngelSenator Guy HammondEpisode: "Secret Service"
1997Law & OrderVictor PanattiEpisode: "Terminal"
1997Players[25]Logan CatesEpisode: "Con Job"
1999Law & OrderMr KushnerEpisode: "Ramparts"
2000The SopranosDr. BaumgartnerEpisode: "House Arrest"
2000D.C.Fred HamiltonEpisode: "Guns and Roses"
2000Bar HoppingMan with CassandraTV movie
2001Law & Order: Criminal IntentSheridan BeckworthEpisode: "The Faithful"
2002OzLeader of Aryan BrotherhoodEpisode: "Good Intentions"
2002Law & Order: Special Victims UnitCurtis JohansenEpisode: "Greed"
2006ConvictionRalph HanlonEpisode: "Deliverance"


  1. Howard Thompson (November 12, 1969). "'Journey to Far Side of Sun' Opens". The New York Times.
  2. William Labov; Ray Broadus Browne; Pat Browne (2001). The Guide to United States Popular Culture.
  3. Stephen Bowie. "The Invaders: The Nightmare Has Already Begun".
  4. "Thinnes’ big break came in the form of a two-year stint on General Hospital, starting in 1963.
  5. (April 9–15, 1966 issue).
  6. Roy Thinnes on IMDb
  7. Susan King (November 12, 1995). "Retro : Thinnes' Invaders is thick with new sightings". Los Angeles Times. We were prepared to go on for a third season ... ratings were fairly respectable at that time.
  8. Stephen M. Deusner (June 11, 2008). "They're on Your TV!: 'The Invaders'". The Washington Post.
  9. George Gent (September 7, 1970). "TV Will Drip Social Significance". The New York Times.
  10. IMdb citation: "The Manhunter (1972) DVD-R".
  11. "The Man Hunter (1972)". BFI (British Film Institute). Alternative title: The Manhunter
  12. "Television". The New York Times. July 24, 1776.
  13. "Hunting Down "The Manhunter""". March 24, 2016. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  14. "Family Plot trivia". Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  15. Tom Buckley (February 14, 1979). "TV: New 'Here to Eternity' on NBC". The New York Times.
  16. "STAR TREK/Casting". Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  17. Thomson-Gale (2003). The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained.
  18. Bruce Weber (September 10, 2002). "Theater Review: 'Of Mice and Men' and the Apocalypse". The New York Times.
  19. "Toledo Blade". on February 12, 1969
  20. 1987-2001
  21. Ruth Ryon (March 9, 1997). "De Niro leases house for $30,000 a month". The Orlando Sentinel.
  22. "Roy Thinnes marries film editor Stephanie Batailler". Soapopera World. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  23. "TV Weekend: Scruples". The New York Times. May 22, 1981.
  24. John J. O'Connor (August 19, 1987). "TV Review: 'FIRST AND 10,' HBO Football sitcom". The New York Times.
  25. Caryn James (October 17, 1997). "Television Review: Rogues in Cahoots With the F.B.I." The New York Times.
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