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Updated: May 29, 2022

By Bruce Fedow:

Mark Goddard was born Charles Goddard on July 24, 1936 in Lowell, Mass. but moved to Scitiuate Mass. where his father owned a five-and-ten store. In high school Mark was the captain of the baseball and basketball teams, but when he went to Holy Cross College he was told by the coach that he'd never make the Varsity basketball team. Crushed, he was ready to drop out when he wandered in on a campus production of one of Shakespeare's plays and was instantly bitten by the acting bug.

Mark left Mass. to enroll in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, but upon completion of his courses there found he could not get any promising roles in the Big Apple. Undaunted, he drove west to California and wrote an impassioned letter to movie director Joseph Anthony asking advice on the best way to break into films. Impressed, Anthony invited Mark to Hollywood, and Goddard was signed by the prestigious William Morris Agency and got his first TV role just three weeks later! Small roles in shows like "The Rifleman," "Gunsmoke," "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Perry Mason," and "The Fugitive" led to co-starring parts in "Johnny Ringo" and "Many Happy Returns".

One year later he was offered the role of Dr. (later changed to Major) Donald West in the pilot episode of Irwin Allen's Lost in Space. While Mark was not a big science fiction fan he tried out for the part at the urging of his agent, who was certain this was a one-shot one paycheck deal as the series would obviously never make it to the television screen. He did, and the rest is history-for three years fans watched Major West fight aliens, crash land the ship and never get to kiss anything but chaste Judy Robinson's (Marta Kristen's) hand in the pilot.

After Lost in Space, Mark appeared in TV movies like "The Death Squad" and "A Reason to Live" and had recurring roles in TV soaps "One Life to Live" and "General Hospital". Goddard is no stranger to the silver screen either, having been featured in "The Monkey's Uncle," "A Rage to Live" and "The Love-Ins". Later in his career he was in "Roller Boogie," "Strange Invaders" (with June Lockhart his former Space co-star) and of course the "Lost in Space" film along with June, Angela Cartwright and Marta Kristen.

In between roles Mark has worked tirelessly and selflessly on behalf of children everywhere from Head Start programs in California to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York as well as having taught many courses in Mass. universities. These days Mark Goddard spends a lot of time away from home, traveling the world to attend many science fiction conventions, always encountering a legion of fans he's never met before who are eager to tell him how much his role in television history is appreciated.

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