James "Mr. Authority Figure" Gregory
Well, if you need a plain vanilla authority figure, there are lots of choices. But if you want one that combines the heavy jackbooted thug of aggression, the whimsy of self reflection, a touch of humor, and a twist of humanity all included in the mix, then you need to go out and hire James Gregory.
Unfortunately, nowadays, you'd also be out of luck. This Bronx native, and World War II veteran, retired from acting in 1983 and now lives the life of leisure in the great southwest. But he racked up an impressive array of work during his long career. He played the evil gorilla general in "Beneath the Planet of the Apes", the evil land grabber in "Sons of Katie Elder", the ruthlessly virtuous cop tracking Rod Steiger's Al Capone in "Al Capone", the hopelessly henpecked senator in "The Manchurian Candidate", and, the ultimate role, Matt Helm's boss!! (Note: that was not him interviewing Egg Shen (Victor Wong) in the opening of "Big Trouble In Little China"; that was Jerry Hardin of "X-Files" fame.)
He excelled in television roles, as well. He costarred in the pilot episode of "The Twilight Zone" and no doubt shares some of the credit for the series' success. He played a mischievous shrink in an episode of the original "Star Trek", several different roles on "Columbo", dozens of cops and cowboys in a plethora of guest appearances, and of course the ever gruff but lovable Inspector Luger on "Barney Miller".
Whew! Job well done, Mr. Gregory, especially for a man with two first names. You've earned your retirement. Enjoy!!
On Monday, September 16, 2002, James Gregory passed away at his home in Sedona, Arizona, at the age of 90. Rest in peace, Mr Authority Figure.
"The only good human... is a DEAD human!"