Ida Lupino was the only person to act in a Twilight Zone episode and direct another
She starred alongside Humphrey Bogart then directed everything from thrillers to sitcoms throughout the 1960s.
Image: The Everett Collection
Ida Lupino was born in London and began acting at a very young age. While still a teenager, she came to Hollywood and won a contract at Paramount Studios.
She worked constantly, acting in multiple films a year into the 1950s. She starred alongside Humphrey Bogart in two consecutive pictures, They Drive by Night and High Sierra.
While she became one of the most prolific actors of her time, her true passion was to be calling the shots behind the camera. She wrote the screenplay for 1949’s Not Wanted and when original director Elmer Clifton suffered a serious heart attack and had to bow out, Lupino took over.
She went on to direct many more films, including three she co-wrote — Never Fear, Outrage and The Hitch-Hiker.
With the rise of television in the 1950s, Lupino transitioned to the popular new medium. She won many roles in front of the camera but continued her directing career as well.
In an early episode of The Twilight Zone, "The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine," she played an aging film star obsessed with re-watching her old movies. Years later, she returned to the show — this time to direct.
She helmed the classic season-five episode "The Masks" about a wealthy man on his deathbed who invites his greedy heirs to a Mardi Gras party and instructs them to wear specific masks. Of course, being an episode of The Twilight Zone, and one written by creator Rod Serling himself, all is not as it seems.
Lupino was the only person to star in one episode of the iconic thriller series and direct another. Frequent Twilight Zone directors Douglas Heyes and John Brahm made cameos in episodes they directed but neither could be considered starring roles. In fact, Heyes merely voiced the small, titular characters in his well-known episode "The Invaders."
Lupino's talent in the director's chair was not limited to serious drama. She directed eight episodes of Have Gun – Will Travel, including "The Gold Bar," one of the shows funnier stories. She also directed the classic Bewitched episode "A is for Aardvark" in which Samantha makes the house cooperate with Darrin after he sprains his ankle.
Lupino directed episodes of many more shows like Gilligan's Island and The Virginian throughout the 1960s. She was just the second woman admitted into the Directors Guild of America, after trailblazing filmmaker Dorothy Arzner. Turns out, she could wear a lot of different masks herself.