Robert Cornthwaite was a thin man with an aristocratic bearing who radiated intelligence; in Hollywood, that got him typecast as a cold, intellectual scientist. This was despite the range he displayed in his many acting roles, which ran the gamut from Napoleon Bonaparte (in "The Purple Mask", a 1955 period film about French rebels just after the Revolution) to an Alzheimer's-afflicted mayor in the oddball small-town TV drama "Picket Fences" (1992). Perhaps the stereotype is due to Cornthwaite's memorable turn as Dr. Carrington, the ultimate science fiction egghead scientist in the self-descriptive 1951 hit "The Thing From Another World". Throughout his career, the actor played enough characters with the title "Dr." to staff the faculty of a major university. Among the more notable of these appearances was as a medical practitioner in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" (1962), a thriller about a demented former child star (played by Bette Davis) tormenting her sister. Cornthwaite took variations of this character to TV, but he also branched out into non-intellectual roles. He played a butler in a two-episode stretch of the popular Boston bar-set sitcom "Cheers" (1992) and a diplomat in the space saga "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" (1979). During his working life, the actor was also extensively involved with productions in the theater, his preferred medium.