Lost in Space star Mark Goddard hated being a Hollywood bachelor
"This idea of Hollywood being a bachelor's paradise is for the birds."
Before Mark Goddard joined the cast of Lost in Space to play Maj. Don West in 1965, he got his start in Hollywood not by nailing an audition, but by writing a letter.
The story goes that within two weeks of arriving in Hollywood, Goddard found out that Marlon Brando was shooting One-Eyed Jacks on a certain lot, and he did everything he could think of to try to meet Mr. Mumbles.
Goddard remembered telling every story he could think of to studio security to try and get inside. When that failed, he looked into who else was shooting on the lot.
He discovered that one of his favorite directors, Joseph Anthony, was filming a movie called Korea, and he decided to shoot his shot. He wrote Anthony a letter asking for a part in Korea.
Anthony was intrigued by Goddard’s nerve and called him in to meet for lunch, after which Anthony liked Goddard enough that he recommended Goddard to producer Aaron Spelling to fill a recurring role on Johnny Ringo.
The Johnny Ringo part put Goddard’s name at the top of casting lists, and soon he had his pick of series leads from several promising shows.
Ultimately, he decided to join the cast of The Detectives, and that’s when he found out that celebrity is not exactly all that it’s cracked up to be.
Because Goddard wasn’t a known name to audiences, he got advice to drum up publicity by going on a date with another celebrity. Randomly, his first date was arranged with Sandra Dee, and he never forgot how awkward it felt to pick her up in a black limousine having never met her before.
Outside the limo, gawkers clamored, shouting, "Who’s that with her?"
Goddard hated feeling like he was using Sandra to gain more fame.
"I felt like a parasite," Goddard told The Sunday News in 1961. "I’ve never seen Sandra since."
That didn’t stop his dating woes, though, as his PR reps set him up with different dates to go with him to magazine shoots or other attention-generating events. "I had a different date each time," Goddard said. "It was pretty terrible."
"Hollywood is no place for a bachelor," Goddard insisted.
Luckily, in 1960, he finally met a woman he liked dating so much that he married her within a year!
And she just happened to be one of those press agents helping him to get his name out.
Goddard met Marcia Rogers, a press agent previously linked up with Burt Reynolds, while she was interviewing him for a magazine.
The Detroit Free Press reported in 1960: "At first, both thought 'business' was the cause of their frequent evening meetings. Then both got the idea, and they decided to set Jan. 15 as the wedding date."
Once Goddard met Marcia, whose father happened to be the head of one of Hollywood’s top PR firms, he was perfectly content to be a rising star in Hollywood. He loved being free from the torture of single life.
While Goddard hated pretending to date young starlets, what he did like about this point in his career was that the shooting schedule for The Detectives made him available to do plenty of guest spots on hit shows to get his name out there in the way he preferred – acknowledgement of his acting skills.
In the early Sixties, before Lost in Space, he appeared on hit shows like Perry Mason, The Rifleman, Gunsmoke and The Beverly Hillbillies.
After joining Lost in Space, Goddard became a household name, forever known as Maj. Don West.
On Lost in Space, initially, his character seems poised for a romance that never fully sparks. It’s funny to know how frustrated the actor felt when he was put in a similar position as a young upcoming star.
"This idea of Hollywood being a bachelor’s paradise is for the birds," Goddard said. "I can only speak for myself, of course."
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From videos I’ve seen of him he seems like a pretty cool guy and a great teacher.
But its a common sense view on a place that is supposed to me a on-land Love Boat
The Rifleman, The Beverly Hillbillies, Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, The Fugitive, Adam-12, Barnaby Jones.
Maybe some other appearances on MeTV + or other Weigel sister networks?
But early on, Hollywood wanted peripheral stuff to promote their movies. So stars and gossip, it didn't just happen. See the bit about the date with Sandra Dee. It creates an illusion that actors must get into movies for the fame. I suppose some do. Mary Ellen Walton in early episodes would read movie nagazines and imagine herself as a star.