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Updated: January 05, 2019

Roy Thinnes (born April 6, 1938) is an American television and film actor best known for his portrayal of lonely hero David Vincent in the ABC 1967-68 television series The Invaders. He also played Alfred Wentworth in the pilot episode of Law & Order. He starred in the 1969 British science fiction film, Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (also known as Doppelgänger).

Early life and career:

Thinnes was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was educated at Los Angeles City College.

His first primetime role was as Ben Quick in the short-lived 1965-66 television series The Long Hot Summer, which ran on ABC. During its run he received around 1,500 letters a week from lovelorn women and appeared on the cover of TV Guide (April 9–15, 1966 issue) for his one and only time to date. The TV series The Invaders soon followed, with Thinnes playing David Vincent, who witnesses the arrival of aliens from another planet and wages a lone fight with them. The series became a cult classic, leading to other 'aliens vs earthlings' films and TV shows.

Another short-lived series in which Thinnes starred was The Psychiatrist, in the title role of the unconventional psychiatrist, Dr. James Whitman. The pilot for the series, a TV movie called The Psychiatrist: God Bless the Children (also known as The Psychiatrist: Children of the Lotus Eaters) co-starred Pete Duel in the role of Casey Poe, a former drug addict and patient of Whitman. In 1963, he guest starred as David Dunlear in the episode "Something Crazy's Going On in the Back Room" of the NBC medical drama about psychiatry, The Eleventh Hour. In 1964, he appeared twice in episodes "Murder by Scandal" and the "Lost Lady Blues" of the 13-episode CBS drama The Reporter starring Harry Guardino as journalist Danny Taylor of the fictitious New York Globe newspaper. Thinnes also appeared as a guest star on 12'oclock High, becoming a casualty of war while commanding a B-17 on a dangerous mission.

He appeared as intrepid writer and investigator of the supernatural David Norliss in 1973's The Norliss Tapes, a pilot for an unproduced TV series. He also played a suspicious schoolmaster in the TV movie Satan's School for Girls with Kate Jackson.

Thinnes was cast in Alfred Hitchcock's 1976 film Family Plot in the role of nefarious jeweler Arthur Adamson when Hitchcock's first choice, William Devane, was unavailable. Thinnes had already shot several scenes for the film when Devane suddenly became available. Hitchcock fired Thinnes and re-shot all of his scenes. Thinnes confronted Hitchcock in a restaurant and asked the director why he was fired. Flabbergasted, Hitchcock simply looked at Thinnes until the actor left. Some shots of Thinnes as the character (from behind) remain in the film.

Thinnes as Phil Brewer with John Beradino in General Hospital, 1964. During the 1982-1983 season, Thinnes appeared as Nick Hogan in thirty-five episodes of the hit CBS prime time soap opera Falcon Crest starring Jane Wyman. Thinnes thereafter played Roger Collins in the 1991 revival of TV's Dark Shadows. He also appeared on General Hospital as Phil Brewer from 1963 to 1966, on One Life to Live as Alex Crown from 1984 to 1985, and as Sloan Carpenter from 1992 to 1995. He also played a lead role in "The Crystal Scarab", a first season episode of Poltergeist: The Legacy in 1996. Thinnes was once considered by Paramount for the part of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

As well, Thinnes made two appearances in The X-Files as Jeremiah Smith, an alien rebel with healing and shape-shifting abilities. His character initially appears in a two-part arc-narrative, the first of which closes Season Three ("Talitha Cumi" [1996], and the second of which opens Season Four ("Herrenvolk" [1996] ). Thinnes's second appearance was in Season Eight, Episode 14 ("This Is Not Happening" [2001]).

Thinnes also appeared in the three-hour, 1995 TV mini-series The Invaders starring Scott Bakula, in which he returned as a much older David Vincent.

Thinnes twice appeared on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live playing two different characters. From 1984-1985, he played the role of "Alex Crown" and from 1992–1995, he played the role of "Gen. Sloan Carpenter." During both of his stints on the show, his characters became a father-in-law to the same character, "Cassie Callison", then he died.

In 2005, Thinnes co-starred as Dr. Theophile Peyron in the movie "The Eyes Of Van Gogh." The film concerns Vincent Van Gogh (played by Alexander Barnett, who also wrote and directed) and his voluntary stay in an insane asylum. The movie focuses on Van Gogh's relationships with Dr. Peyron, as well as fellow Expressionist, Paul Gauguin, and his brother, Theo.

Thinnes recently provided audio commentary for the official The Invaders DVD releases.

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