Charles Aidman introduced the Tom Willis character later used in the spinoff series "The Jeffersons" in Season 5 of All in the Family. The character, whose first name was originally Louis, appeared in the episode "Lionel's Engagement".
|Born:||January 21, 1925|
|Birthplace:||Frankfort, Clinton County, Indiana, U.S.|
|Died:||November 7, 1993(aged 68)|
|Deathplace:||Beverly Hills Californis, U.S.|
|Spouse(s):||Betty Hyatt Linton Aidman (married 1969-1993, his death)|
|Series:||All in the Family|
|Episodes appeared in:||"Lionel's Engagement" in Season 5|
|Character played:||Louis Willis (character name later changed to Tom Willis)|
Charles Aidman (January 21, 1925 – November 7, 1993) was a stage, film, and television actor. He introduced the character Louis Willis (later known as Tom Willis), father-in-law to-be of Lionel Jefferson, on an episode of CBS's All in the Family. The character was played on the series The Jeffersons by Franklin Cover, who did a much different take on the character.
Early TV roles
Among his many television credits, Aidman guest starred twice on the NBC-TV western series, The Californians. He appeared twice too on David Janssen's Richard Diamond, Private Detective. He portrayed a bounty hunter on the ABC-TV's western series, Black Saddle. He was cast in CBS's fantasy drama, Twilight Zone in the episodes "And When the Sky Was Opened" and "Little Girl Lost".
About this time, he guest starred on five other western series: the ABC/Warner Brothers series, Colt .45; ABC's The Rebel, starring Nick Adams; NBC's Riverboat, as Frank Paxton in the episode "The Fight at New Canal", with Darren McGavin as Captain Grey Holden, and The Americans, the story of family conflicts in the American Civil War starring Darryl Hickman and the successor series to Riverboat; CBS's Trackdown, as Len Starbuck in "The Samaritan", and CBS's Johnny Ringo, as Jeffrey Blake in "The Stranger".
Aidman guest starred on the NBC children's western, Fury with eter Graves and Bobby Diamond and in episodes of the ABC/WB crime drama, Bourbon Street Beat, starring Andrew Duggan, and the syndicated aviation adventure series, Whirlybirds, starring Kenneth Tobey. He appeared from 1959 to 1960 in different roles in three episodes of the syndicated crime drama, U.S. Marshal, with John Bromfield. Aidman made a guest appearance on the long-running CBS-TV courtroom drama Perry Mason in 1960 as murderer Arthur Siddons in "The Case of the Gallant Grafter."
In "Shadow of the Past" (October 7, 1961) of the NBC western series, The Tall Man, Aidman is cast as Ben Wiley, the father of Sue Wiley (Barbara Parkins), the latest girlfriend of Billy the Kid (Clu Gulager). Sheriff Pat Garrett (Barry Sullivan) recognizes Wiley as an informant who stopped Garrett from escaping from a Confederate prison during the American Civil War. Nancy Davis Reagan appears in this episode as Ben's wife, Sarah.
Aidman was cast as George Ellsworth, an official with the United States Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, in the three-part 1963 episode, "Security Risk" of the CBS anthology series, GE True, hosted by Jack Webb. Ellsworth in 1960 is blackmailed through a romantic affair with a young woman named Erica into passing secret information to the communists at the height of the Cold War. He confessed his guilt despite the protection of diplomatic immunity. Karl Swenson and Parley Baer were also cast in this episode. He also played asex education teacher in an episode Of Slattery's People, "Do The Ignorant sleep in Pure White Sheets"?
In 1963, Aidman adapted Spoon River Anthology by poet Edgar Lee Masters into a theater production that is still performed.
Charles appeared on another NBC western series starring Barry Sullivan, The Road West in the 1966 episode "The Lean Years".
Aidman also guest starred on CBS's The Wild Wild West in a recurring role for several episodes during the fourth season as Jeremy Pike, one of Jim West's substitute sidekicks. (Ross Martin, who portrayed regular sidekick Artemus Gordon in the series, was recovering from illness.) Aidman also played the father of Elmer Dobkins in an episode of NBC-TV's Little House On The Prairie.
Later TV roles
Charles's film roles were in Pork Chop Hill, War Hunt, Kotch, Countdown, Uncommon Valor, and Innerspace, the latter being one of his final acting appearances.
Born in Frankfort in Clinton County, Indiana, Charles attended Indiana University in Indianapolis. He died of cancer in Beverly Hills, CA. He is interred at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.
- ↑ "Shadow of the Past", October 7, 1961. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on February 14, 2013.
- ↑ GE True. Classic Television Archive. Retrieved on March 1, 2013.
- ↑ PFAA Presents Spoon River Anthology. Broadway World. September 9, 2010. Retrieved on September 28, 2010.
- ↑ The Scientist Seen As An Individual, November 29, 1968, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, accessed September 28, 2010.
- ↑ Obituary, Charles Aidman, November 10, 1993, Gainesville Sun article, accessd September 28, 2010.