Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hall of Fame: John Saxon

Today marks the 79th birthday of actor John Saxon, who has had a long association with science fiction roles, both on television and in feature films, dating back to, at least, 1965's Blood Beast From Outer Space! In that decade, he also appeared in the creepy space horror flick Queen of Blood and an episode of Irwin Allen's The Time Tunnel, but it's his forays into Seventies sci-fi that we celebrate here.

In 1974, Saxon portrayed a very Jim Kirk-ish, heroic Dylan Hunt in Gene Roddenberry's unsuccessful television pilot, Planet Earth. A year later, he played a similar role, Captain Anthony Vico, in Warner Brothers' equally-unsuccessful follow-up, Strange New World. In both films, he was a very Roddenberry sci-fi hero, tough but brainy, quick with his fists and his wits.

He appeared a couple of times on Universal's The Six Million Dollar Man (and Bionic Woman); first, as a lethal android that gave Steve Austin a helluva fight (and inspired Mattel's "Maskatron" action figure), and then a season or two later as an evil alien using the legendary Bionic Bigfoot in his malevolent schemes!  On Wonder Woman, he played a Nazi, and also showed up as an extradimensional tyrant on The Fantastic Journey in '77!

In 1981, he starred as the tyrannical Sador, the smoothly sinister galactic baddie of Roger Corman's space opera epic, Battle Beyond The Stars. He rounded out the Space: 1970-era with another villainous role in the 1983 Richard Hatch vehicle, Prisoners Of The Lost Universe.

Of course, while we focus here on his science fiction accomplishments, in his sixty-year career, the actor has played a couple hundred roles in every genre imaginable. Equally adept at playing tough guy heroes and despicable villains, Saxon has had - and continues to have - a career to be admired (and no doubt, envied, by other actors).

Happy birthday, sir!


  1. I'm such a John Saxon fan that I'm having a "shrine" made up with all three Bionic cards, two Panini signature cards from Enter the Dragon and Nightmare on Elm St., a Donruss Swatch, signed photos from Battle Beyond the Stars and Planet Earth, and a signed patch from Enter the Dragon.

  2. He is going to be at Fan Expo in Toronto at the end of August, signing autographs and such. Also to be part of a Black Christmas reunion at the show.

  3. Met Mr. Saxon at a horror con in CT a few years ago...really nice guy. He's had a great career...and he's still going strong!

  4. I recall Planet Earth as being a very fun movie. John Saxon was interesting to watch as the hero, very confident and appealing. I really wished this could have gone on to series.

    -Michael F.

  5. Me too. While the actual show wasn't great, it was still fun to watch. And I liked John as the hero. He was unfortunately typecast as a villain. He still needs to pursue acting in his golden years. Hell, Hollywood should pursue him.

  6. I was talking to my mother the other day about "Enter the Dragon". Since she has never seen it she asked me who was in it and I said Bruce Lee and John Saxon. My mother stopped me in mid sentence and said "Oh, he was so sexy." So, now every time I see a John Saxon movie the first thing that is going to come to mind is- my mom thinks he's sexy...

  7. As a 7-year-old, "Day of the Robot" episode always creeped me out. Always enjoyed Saxon in projects by Roddenberry or other.

  8. As a horror film buff who knows Saxon best from "A Nightmare On Elm Street," (and MST3K's version of "Mitchell,") I always wanted to see Saxon star in a horror film with Tom Atkins (John Carpenter's "The Fog" and "Escape From New York") and Dick Miller ("The Howling" and huge string of others).

    I could see them today as horror film heroes fighting off some zombie horde or invasion from outer-space. If the film was well-written enough, it could use the actors ages to comment on ageism in Hollywood. Even if it weren't that sophisticated, it would be a lot of fun just because of the actors alone.