NEWSMAKERS: Ray Walston Dies

NEWSMAKERS: Ray Walston Dies

TV’s favorite Martian, Ray Walston, died Monday in his Beverly Hills, Calif., home. He was 86.

Reuters is reporting that the actor died of natural causes after a short illness. Aside from starring as Uncle Martin on TV’s “My Favorite Martian,” Walston won a Tony Award for his performance as Mr. Applegate, the Devil, in the 1956 Broadway production of “Damn Yankees.” He re-created the role on film two years later.

Walston last appeared on TV in September during an episode of the CBS hit show “Touched by an Angel.”

GIBBONS AND BRENNER SUED: Daytime talker Leeza Gibbons and comedian David Brenner have been sued by Brenner’s former girlfriend.

Charisse Brody Weason alleges that Brenner made a derogatory comment about her ability to raise the teenage son she had with Brenner during the taping of “Leeza” on Dec. 7, 1999, The Associated Press reports.

The son has lived with Brenner for several years after a custody battle between the parents. Gibbons could not be reached for comment.

A SCAB NAMED BRADY: Is Greg Brady a scab? What would Johnny Bravo say?

Former “Brady Bunch” star Barry Williams is being labeled a scab by Actors Equity Union for taking a non-union job in the road production of “The Sound of Music,” Variety reports.

“I feel that I have been caught in the cross hairs of this dispute,” said Williams, noting that he cannot accurately be called a “scab” since no one is on strike. “I have been singled out by the union in a most aggressive and threatening way so that the union can reach the producers. And I am crying foul.”

The talks between the union and the Maryland-based producer Troika Entertainment fell apart. Troika decided to go with non-union actors, except for Williams, who accepted the part of Captain Von Trapp for $10,000 a week. Now Williams is up on “internal union disciplinary” charges that could preclude any future Equity work.