Here’s What Happened to ‘My Favorite Martian’ Star Ray Walston Before, During and After the Show

What a difference a couple of decades make, especially if you’re talking about the late Ray Walston and his Classic TV sci-fi sitcom My Favorite Martian. Running from 1963 to 1966, it preceded other “out there” sitcoms of the period like Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Addams Family and The Munsters. Of the show, about a Martian (Ray) stranded on Earth and taken in by newspaper reporter Tim O’Hara (Bill Bixby), who tells people that the visitor is his Uncle Martin, Ray had some pretty opposing points of view over the years.

In 1963, he enthused to The Troy Record, “Some of my friends thought I was getting into a rut when I accepted the Martian, but I didn’t believe that. Although it means playing the same role week in and out, the potential for a variety of situations is so great, that it offers not only an interesting challenge, but an opportunity to try new techniques, new tricks and maybe learn a thing or two.”

So far, so good, right? Flash forward three years and an interview with the Democrat and Chronicle after My Favorite Martian (currently airing on the Cozi TV network) had been cancelled: “I’m delighted the show wasn’t continued. It was like getting out of prison and being free all over again. I felt as if I were going to the foundry every day. The work was grueling, a grind of filming 15 pages of script a day.”

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Courtesy Peter Greenwood

Now, jump forward another 20 years to 1986 and a conversation with the News-Pilot of San Pedro, California: “I wish I’d never heard of Martians and spaceships. I hate that show; it nearly finished my career. If I’d known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have been involved with that show for anything in the world. I would have said, ‘Absolutely not!’”

There would certainly be highlights along the way that introduced him to a new generation, such as teacher Mr. Hand in the movie and TV series Fast Times at Ridgemont High and his Emmy-winning turn as Judge Bone on David E. Kelley’s Picket Fences, but Ray and Uncle Martin are the epitome of the love/hate relationship. And despite his protests to the contrary, it remains the character — of the many he played throughout his life — for which he is most fondly remembered.

And yet there is so much more to the life and career of Ray Walston, as you’ll see by scrolling down.