Montgomery Pittman (March 1, 1917 – June 26, 1962) was a television writer, director, and actor. Among his notable credits are his work writing and directing various episodes of The Twilight Zone, Maverick and 77 Sunset Strip.
According to his own account, Pittman was born in Louisiana in 1917 and reared in Arkansas.: 138 No independent verification of this seems to exist, and Pittman's actual birth name and birth date may differ from his claim.
Again, according to his own account, Pittman left home and joined a carnival as a snake oil salesman.: 139 He eventually made his way to New York City, hoping for at least a small Broadway role. There he met actor Steve Cochran, who hired him as caretaker of his Los Angeles home around 1950.: 139
In Los Angeles he tried to break into acting, getting small, mostly uncredited film and TV roles through 1951 and '52. Around this time, Cochran introduced Pittman to Maurita Gilbert Jackson, the widowed mother of three child actors: Curtis, Jr., Gary, and Sherry Jackson. A romance developed, and in 1952 Pittman married Maurita Jackson in a small ceremony on June 4 in Torrance, California, with Sherry serving as flower girl and younger brother Gary as ring-bearer; Cochran himself was Pittman's best man. Approximately a year later, stepdaughter Sherry would land the role of Terry Williams on the sitcom Make Room For Daddy, which would last for five years and give her a measure of stardom.
By 1954, Pittman had turned from acting to screenwriting, sometimes writing material in which he could play small guest roles. He began with anthology shows such as Four Star Playhouse and Schlitz Playhouse, and at that time was billed as Monte Pittman.
In 1955 Cochran hired Pittman to write his next film, Come Next Spring, the first that Cochran produced himself. Sherry played the part of Cochran's mute daughter Annie Ballot, a role Pittman wrote specifically for his step-daughter.
By this point, Pittman's writing career moved into higher gear, as he started working as a writer for ABC/Warner Brothers TV shows such as 77 Sunset Strip, Sugarfoot, Maverick, Cheyenne, Surfside 6, and Colt .45. He also wrote for NBC's The Deputy, and CBS's The Twilight Zone.
By 1958 (and now consistently billed as Montgomery Pittman) he had also branched into directing for television, in addition to continuing his work as a writer and actor. Pittman often directed his own scripts, as well as scripts by other writers.
Pittman frequently cast his stepdaughter Sherry Jackson in television episodes he wrote and/or directed. Jackson appeared in episodes of 77 Sunset Strip, The Rifleman, Surfside 6 and The Twilight Zone that were both written and directed by Pittman, as well as episodes of Maverick and Riverboat that Pittman wrote but did not direct.
Montgomery and Maurita's son, Robert John Pittman, was born in 1956. Robert John also had a brief career as a child actor, debuting on a Montgomery Pittman-directed episode of 77 Sunset Strip in 1960 before settling into a recurring role on Dennis The Menace as Dennis' friend Seymour Williams.
Although he continued his occasional acting career, Pittman himself never appeared as an actor in a TV episode he directed.
Regarding Pittman's sudden illness and death, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., lead star of 77 Sunset Strip recalled that his friend Pittman became ill at forty-five with "a tumor on the side of his neck that grew rapidly to grapefruit-size. He had it excised, but it left a gaping hole, which he covered with a kerchief". The tumor was treated as cancer but did not go into remission, and Pittman soon died. Zimbalist delivered a eulogy at Pittman's funeral. Will Hutchins, another friend of Pittman's whom he attributed to having saved the Sugarfoot series for its two final seasons, was asked to be a pallbearer but declined because as a teenager Hutchins had dropped the casket of a relative and feared he might do so again.
Pittman is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills.
|Geburtsdatum:||01.03.1917 (♓ Fische)|
|Berufe:||Drehbuchautor, Schauspieler, Fernsehschauspieler, Fernsehregisseur,|