Updated: July 19, 2021
TERRY BECKER PHOTO GALLERY #02
Actor, director, producer, and writer Terry Becker has been a familiar figure on television since the 1950s, on series such as Perry Mason, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Mod Squad, The Untouchables, Wanted: Dead Or Alive, Sea Hunt, Combat!, Rawhide, and most memorably as Chief Francis Ethelbert Sharkey in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
Born in New York City, Terry discovered as early as elementary school that acting in plays helped keep him out of trouble. He later attended Morris High School in the Bronx, where one classmate was fellow future actor Ross Martin, who was a close friend. While there, Terry tried directing and discovered that he enjoyed that discipline as well. He turned to drama after he graduated, studying at the American Theater Wing. His teachers included Stella Adler and Lee Stratsburg and he also made the acquaintance of playwright Paddy Chayefsky, who was to become a giant in the world of American television in the 1950s.
As an aspiring young actor in post-World War II New York, he crossed paths with such up-and-coming players as Marlon Brando, Ben Gazzara and Anthony Franciosa on the New York Stage. Terry made his television debut on the same episode of The Philco Playhouse that saw the debut of Ernest Borgnine. Terry went on to appear in parts of varying sizes, from bits to starring roles, in dozens of early live-television dramas, while continuing his stage work.
After his move to Hollywood, he continued to work in television drama, one of his best known performances being " I Am the Night, Color Me Black", an episode of The Twilight Zone.
Picked by Irwin Allen as a replacement for the late Henry Kulky, who had played Chief Curley Jones up until his death in 1965, Terry brought his personality to the set of Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea. As Robert Dowdell recently noted: "Terry brought humour to the show in a way that would have made Voyage very different if he had not been part of those last three years".
He developed a rapport - and lasting friendship - with star Richard Basehart, that gave a depth and interest to the characters, and often carried episodes that would have failed without that relationship.
After Voyage, Terry went on to direct, produce and develop a number of TV series. With Gene Reynolds and James L Brooks, he created Room 222, directing several of the episodes, and winning an Emmy along the way. He also directed episodes of Mission: Impossible, M*A*S*H, Love American Style, Anna and The King and The Courtship of Eddie's Father.
Terry then moved into film, writing and directing "The Thirsty Dead", executive producing "The Last Hurrah" that starred Carroll O'Connor, and producing the TV movies "Savage in the Orient" (starring John Saxon and Leif Erickson) and "Blade in Hong Kong" (with Leslie Nielsen and James Hong).
Today, Terry spends his time running Sugar Flowers Plus, a company that makes gum paste flowers for cake and cookie decoration, and acting in new films with the UCLA Film Department. He recently won an award for one of those films, in which he starred.