David Hedison, an actor who appeared in Off Broadway productions by Clifford Odets and in the original version of horror sci-fi classic The Fly but is best known for his starring role in the popular ’60s adventure series Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea, died July 18 in Los Angeles. He was 92.
His death was announced by his daughters Alexandra and Serena, who were at his side when he “passed away peacefully,” the family reports.
Hedison, who began his career using his given name Al Hedison, was a native of Providence, Rhode Island, and discovered his passion for theater at Brown University. He studied under Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse and Lee Strasberg at The Actors Studio, and was soon performing Off Broadway alongside Uta Hagen and Michael Redgrave (Hedison performed Off Broadway in 1956’s A Month in the Country under Redgrave’s direction).
In 1958, Hedison appeared, with Vincent Price, in what would become a sci-fi classic, The Fly. That same year, Hedison starred in the swashbuckler Son of Robin Hood.
A year later, Hedison, by then having switched from Al to his middle name David, was put under contract at Twentieth Century Fox. He starred in the spy TV series Five Fingers, and over the next few years had roles in Perry Mason, The Saint and the feature film The Greatest Story Ever Told.
Though many other roles would follow well into the new century, including Dynasty, The Colbys, Fantasy Island, The Fall Guy, Live and Let Die and soaps Another World and The Young and the Restless, it was his performance as the heroic, handsome Capt. Lee B. Crane in producer Irwin Allen’s submarine-set 1964-68 Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea that secured his place in the collective memory of the Baby Boomer generation.
Said his family in a statement: “Even in our deep sadness, we are comforted by the memory of our wonderful father. He loved us all dearly and expressed that love every day. He was adored by so many, all of whom benefitted from his warm and generous heart. Our dad brought joy and humor wherever he went and did so with great style.”
Hedison is survived by his daughters Alexandra and Serena. His wife Bridget died in 2016.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made to The Actor’s Fund.