Mark Goddard, best known for his role as pilot Major Don West in the sci-fi series “Lost in Space,” has tragically passed away at the age of 87. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the actor’s death, with his wife Evelyn Pezzulich announcing that he had succumbed to lung disease. Goddard’s career spanned beyond “Lost in Space,” as he also appeared in other notable shows such as “Johnny Ringo,” “The Detectives,” and “General Hospital.” Throughout his career, he left an impact on the television industry and will be greatly missed.
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Mark Goddard’s Death
It is with heavy hearts that we report the passing of renowned actor Mark Goddard. Best known for his role as pilot Major Don West in the iconic sci-fi series ‘Lost in Space,’ Goddard passed away at the age of 87 due to complications from lung disease. His wife, Evelyn Pezzulich, announced his passing on social media, revealing that he had been hospitalized with pneumonia before doctors discovered he was in the final stages of pulmonary fibrosis. Goddard leaves behind a lasting legacy in the entertainment industry and will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and fans.
Goddard’s Career and Legacy
Mark Goddard enjoyed a long and successful career in the entertainment industry, leaving an indelible mark on television and film. With his role in ‘Lost in Space’ being one of his most memorable performances, Goddard will forever be remembered as Major Don West, the charismatic and daring pilot who assisted the Robinson family on their intergalactic adventures. However, his contributions to the industry extend far beyond this iconic role.
Early Life and Acting Beginnings
Born on July 24, 1936, in Lowell, Massachusetts, Mark Goddard discovered his passion for acting at a young age. He pursued his dreams and studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. Goddard’s talent and dedication quickly caught the attention of casting directors, leading to his first on-screen appearances in the late 1950s.
Role in ‘Lost in Space’
Goddard’s breakthrough came in 1965 when he was cast as Major Don West in the science fiction television series ‘Lost in Space.’ The show followed the adventures of the Robinson family as they struggled to survive in space after their ship, the Jupiter 2, veered off course. As the Space Corps pilot, Goddard’s character brought a sense of adventure, humor, and bravery to the series. His on-screen chemistry with the rest of the cast, including Bill Mumy as young Will Robinson, played a significant role in the show’s success.
Other Television Roles
While ‘Lost in Space’ catapulted Goddard to fame, it was just the beginning of his television career. Following the conclusion of the series in 1968, Goddard continued to make a name for himself in the industry. He appeared in numerous popular shows of the time, including ‘Johnny Ringo,’ a Western series, and the family sitcom ‘Many Happy Returns.’
Goddard’s versatility as an actor shone through as he took on various roles in different genres. He portrayed Sgt. Chris Ballard in ‘The Detectives,’ a crime drama series, and made guest appearances in beloved classics like ‘The Rifleman,’ ‘The Beverly Hillbillies,’ ‘Gunsmoke,’ and ‘Perry Mason.’ His talent and charm captivated audiences, making him a sought-after actor in the golden age of television.
Working as a Special Education Teacher
In his later years, Goddard transitioned from acting to education. He found fulfillment as a special education teacher, dedicating his time and energy to making a positive impact on the lives of his students. This career change showcased Goddard’s selflessness and compassion, demonstrating his commitment to helping others.
Goddard’s Thoughts on ‘Lost in Space’
Throughout his life, Goddard maintained a connection to his role in ‘Lost in Space.’ In a 2017 interview with Inside Edition, he reminisced about his time on the show, expressing his dislike for the campy silver space suits they had to wear. Despite this, he acknowledged the cultural significance of the series and the enduring love that fans have for it. He praised the updated version of the show on Netflix, describing it as “spectacular.”
Goddard’s fondness for ‘Lost in Space’ was evident in his interactions with his castmates. Bill Mumy, who portrayed young Will Robinson, shared heartfelt memories of Goddard on Facebook, highlighting their close bond and the respect they had for each other as actors. Their final phone call served as a poignant reminder of the lasting impact they had on each other’s lives.
Memorialization and Tributes
Mark Goddard’s contributions to the entertainment industry will not be forgotten. As news of his passing spread, tributes poured in from fans and colleagues alike. The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, and various other media outlets paid tribute to Goddard, acknowledging his talent, warmth, and charisma. He touched the lives of many through his performances and his dedication to education.
Goddard’s Personal Life
Beyond his career, Mark Goddard had a rich personal life. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn Pezzulich, and his children, including his daughter Melissa Goddard, who is a producer. While Goddard’s passing leaves a void in the hearts of his loved ones, they can find solace in the knowledge that he will forever live on in the memories and hearts of those who knew and admired him.
Mark Goddard’s passing marks the end of an era in the entertainment industry. His talent, charm, and versatility as an actor brought joy and inspiration to audiences around the world. From his iconic role in ‘Lost in Space’ to his numerous appearances in other classic television shows, Goddard left an indelible mark on the medium. His transition to teaching special education highlighted his dedication to making a positive impact on the lives of others.
As we remember Mark Goddard, we celebrate his remarkable career and the legacy he leaves behind. His contributions to the entertainment industry will continue to inspire future generations of actors, and his warmth and kindness will forever be remembered by those who had the privilege of knowing him. May he rest in peace.