The Twilight Zone eerily predicted the death of its most frequent actor

Jay Overholts was in two episodes involving vehicular death… and died in a similar fashion a few years later.

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The Twilight Zone certainly had its favorite guest stars. Burgess Meredith and Jack Klugman both headlined four memorable episodes. But those two TV legends do not hold the record for appearances in the Fifth Dimension. No, that honor goes to a relatively unknown performer. His name was Jay Overholts. 

Ohio native Overholts pops up – in some form — in eight different episodes from the original series. He's there in the very beginning, in the first episode, playing a reporter in "Where Is Everybody?" He's a passenger on "The Odyssey of Flight 33" and a cowboy in "Showdown with Rance McGrew." His voice alone can be heard in both "Twenty Two" and "Static." He must have been a pal of Rod Serling, as Overholts also found work in other screenplays by the writer, including installments of a local Cincinnati series from early '50s called The Storm, as well as the CBS anthology series Playhouse 90.

But we are going to focus on two particular Twilight Zone episodes featuring the familiar face — "A Thing About Machines" and "The Jungle."

The former must have made quite a mark on Stephen King, because the killer-car plot is quite similar to his Christine. At the end of the story, after the protagonist, Bartlett Finchley (Richard Haydn) has been run down by the vicious vehicle, a police officer and EMT ponder the death of the poor victim. Overholts plays the ambulance man, as seen above on the right.

"The Jungle," a season later, featured a man under the hex of a curse. At one point, the bewitched fellow (John Dehner) discovers that his taxi driver (Overholts) is dead. The image of Overholts slumped over in the front seat takes on an even eerier air when you learn what happened to the actor.

In 1966, the 42-year-old was killed in a head-on collision. The accident occurred "in Los Angeles, when [Overholts was] hit head-on by another driver in 1966. The other driver was charged with vehicular homicide." That little anecdote comes from an old fansite cataloging the many untimely deaths surrounding the sci-fi suspense series. In total, 18 actors from the series perished from untimely deaths.

Now, such statistics can likely be pulled from any anthology series with such a sprawling cast. But the nature of the series gives it all a much bone-chilling air, no?

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Faloom 1 day ago
I love The Twilight Zone,.. but I wish METV would include “One Step Beyond” into their lineup as well,..
Hogansucks1 3 days ago
Chilling outcome of this actor!! Fate? Perhaps carma?? Some other force at work- weird !!! Also interesting subject on the quantum theoretical discussions/ dimensions & parallel universes. Life IS strange at times!!!! 🧐 😊
Wiseguy Hogansucks1 1 day ago
It's called coincidence.
Hogansucks1 Wiseguy 22 hours ago
Yes & No- wise guy ! 🤔 🤓
HulkFan02 3 days ago
I love that series
However very sad thou
Dario 3 days ago
Man, talk about your bad luck! 😣🙁
Andybandit 3 days ago
Good story, I never really liked the twilight zone.
Dario Andybandit 3 days ago
I'm not a fan of it, either, but there are a few episodes that I've enjoyed from the series when I've watched it on occasion.
MrsGuthrie Andybandit 3 days ago
I will have to agree to disagree with you on this one. I was hooked as a kid whenever I happened to catch an episode on late weekend nights when I was allowed to stay up late. That was in 1980 something (a nod to The Goldbergs) and I still love the series. Though now I miss the thrill of a new story.
Stoney 3 days ago
I remember reading somewhere that Rod Serling and Jay Overholts were close friends, dating back to childhood. It would certainly explain the frequency of Overholts' appearances in "Twilight Zone" and other Serling productions.
Moody Stoney 3 days ago
That's possible I suppose. Overholts was born in Cincinnati & Rod Serling was born in Syracuse, NY but grew up in Binghamton. I can't find any info on where Overholts actually grew up or went to school. There isn't much info at all about him on the internet.
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