Bill Mumy
Bill Mumy
Born Charles William Mumy, Jr.
February 1, 1954 (1954-02-01) (age 57)
San Gabriel, California, U.S.
Other names "Art Barnes"
Occupation Actor
Years active 1960–present
Spouse Eileen Joy Davis
Website
http://www.billmumy.com

Charles William "Bill" Mumy, Jr. (play /ˈmmi/; born February 1, 1954) is an American actor, musician, pitchman, instrumentalist, voice-over artist and a figure in the science-fiction community. He is known primarily for his work as a child television actor.

The red-headed Mumy came to prominence in the 1960s as a child actor, most notably as Will Robinson, the youngest of the three children of Prof. John and Dr. Maureen Robinson (played by Guy Williams and June Lockhart respectively) and friend of the nefarious and pompous Dr. Zachary Smith (played by Jonathan Harris), in the cult 1960s CBS sci-fi television series Lost in Space.

He later appeared as a lonely teenager, Sterling North, in the 1969 Disney movie, Rascal, and as Teft in the 1971 film Bless the Beasts and Children. In the 1990s, he had the role of Lennier in the syndicated sci-fi TV series Babylon 5, and he also served as narrator of A&E Network's Emmy Award-winning series, Biography. He is also notable for his musical career, as a solo artist and as half of the duo Barnes & Barnes.

Contents

Early life and career

Mumy was born in San Gabriel, California, the son of Muriel Gertrude (née Gould) and Charles William Mumy, Sr., a cattle rancher.[1] He began his professional career at the age of six, and has worked on over 400 television episodes, 18 motion pictures, various commercials, and scores of voice over work, as well as working as a musician, songwriter, recording artist and writer.

Television career

Mumy as Will Robinson in the television show Lost in Space

He is well known as a player in the original Twilight Zone (1959 to 1964), especially in the episode "It's a Good Life" (November 1961), where he played a child who terrorizes his town with his psychic powers. Mumy also played the character of young Pip, a boy who enjoyed playing with his father but was always ignored, in the episode "In Praise of Pip" (September 1963), and the character of Billy Bayles, a boy who talks to his dead grandmother through a toy telephone, in the episode "Long Distance Call" (March 1961). He later played an adult Anthony, whose daughter (played by his daughter, Liliana Mumy) has similar powers, in episode "It's Still a Good Life" (February 2003) of the second revival of The Twilight Zone. Also, he wrote the episode "Found and Lost" in the second revival of The Twilight Zone.

In 1963, at the age of eight, he appeared in Jack Palance's ABC circus drama The Greatest Show on Earth.

In 1964 he appeared as Richard Kimble's nephew in ABC's The Fugitive in the 15th episode entitled "Home Is The Hunted"; as Barry in the NBC medical drama The Eleventh Hour, episode "Sunday Father"; as himself three times in the ABC sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet; in the Disney film For the Love of Willadena; and as a troubled orphan taken home with Darrin and Samantha Stephens in Bewitched episode "A Vision of Sugarplums" (December 1964).

Mumy was the first choice for the 1964 role of Eddie Munster, but his parents objected because of the extensive make-up, and the role went to Butch Patrick. Mumy did appear in one episode as a friend of Eddie.

In 1973 he played a musician friend of Cliff DeYoung in the TV movie Sunshine, and later reprised the role in Sunshine Christmas.

He is well known as Will Robinson, a regular character in the television series Lost in Space (1965–1968), and as ambassadorial aide Lennier in the syndicated series Babylon 5 (1994–1998). Mumy has garnered praise from science fiction fandom for his portrayal of these two characters.

In 1996, he was a writer and co-creator of the show Space Cases, a Nickelodeon television show with themes similar to Lost in Space.

He played a Starfleet member in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Siege of AR-558" (November 1998). To his delight, he played a human character who assists Ezri Dax in turning cloaked Dominion mines against an army of Jem'Hadar.

Recent acting performances can be seen in a 2006 episode of Crossing Jordan and the Sci Fi original film A.I. Assault.

Voice-over career

Mumy has narrated over 50 episodes of the Arts & Entertainment Channel's Biography series, as well as hosting and narrating several other documentaries and specials for A & E, Animal Planet network, The Sci Fi Channel, and E!. His voice over acting talents can be heard on animated shows like Ren and Stimpy, Scooby Doo, Batman: The Animated Series, Steven Spielberg's Animaniacs, Little Wizard Adventures, The Oz Kids and Disney's Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. He also voices dozens of national commercials, such as Farmers Insurance, Ford, Bud Ice, Blockbuster, Twix, Oscar Mayer, and McDonald's.

Music

Billy Mumy at a signing event in 1990, posing with Paul Howley.

Mumy is an accomplished musician who plays guitar, bass, keyboards, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, and percussion. Among his various musical credits, Bill has recorded and written songs with America, toured with Shaun Cassidy, and played in Rick Springfield's band in the film, Hard to Hold. He also created the band The Be Five with other Babylon 5 actors, and fronts another band called Seduction of the Innocent.[2]

Mumy has released a number of solo CDs, including Dying to Be Heard, In the Current, Pandora's Box, After Dreams Come True, Los Angeles Times, and Ghosts, as well as nine albums with partner Robert Haimer as Barnes and Barnes. Their most famous hit is the song "Fish Heads", which was named as one of the top 100 videos of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. The Jenerators are a blues-rock band based in Los Angeles, CA featuring Tom Hebenstreit on vocals, electric guitars and keyboards; Bill Mumy on vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica, keyboards, and percussion; Gary Stockdale on vocals and bass; Miguel Ferrer on vocals, percussion and drums; David Jolliffe on guitar, percussion and vocals and Chris Ross on drums and percussion.

Friendship with Jonathan Harris

At age 11, in 1965, Mumy began working with Jonathan Harris on Lost in Space, and the two became close friends, both on and off set. He would also spend time with Harris's family, while not working on "Space" or taking a hiatus from the show. In 1996, it was mentioned that Mumy was also reunited with Harris, again, at a Walt Disney convention in Orlando, Florida. Mumy worked again with Harris on the 1998 retrospective special Lost In Space: Forever, where they reprised their roles in a scene written by Mumy (with Harris re-writing his lines). This was done one year after the rest of the cast (including both Mumy & Harris) appeared inside TV Guide and said that the Sci Fi Channel had planned to do a Lost in Space marathon while promoting a new movie. Harris was to appear in the planned TV movie, Lost in Space: The Journey Home, but died before production started in 2002 and the production was cancelled. Mumy read the eulogy at Harris' funeral and was asked to narrate his longtime friend's life on A&E Biography that same year. According to a 2010 interview on Blog Talk Radio's, Lessons Learned, Rick Tocquigny, when asked if Mumy was a Jonathan Harris fan, before Mumy's first meeting with Harris on Lost in Space, he said at age 5, he was too young to watch his mentor's show The Third Man which was probably late at night, but was old enough to watch The Bill Dana Show (which also starred Harris's real-life best friend Don Adams). After that, he watched reruns of The Third Man, and he was a Jonathan Harris fan, growing up (when he was actually a fan of Guy Williams's, Zorro, who played his future TV father - John Robinson).[3]

Personal life

Unlike many child actors, Mumy entered the profession at his own insistence, and his parents took pains to make sure he matured properly in his job. His father, who was a cattle rancher, carefully invested his son's income, and thereby avoided problems encountered by other child actors of his period.

He currently lives in Hollywood Hills, California, with his wife, Eileen, and their two child-actor children, Seth and Liliana.

Filmography

Year Title Role
1960 The Wizard of Baghdad Aladdin (uncredited)
1961 Tammy Tell Me True Neil Bateman (uncredited)
1962 Sammy the Way out Seal Petey Loomis
1963 A Child is Waiting Boy counting Jean's pearls
1963 A Ticklish Affair Alex Martin
1963 Palm Springs Weekend 'Boom Boom' Yates
1964 For the Love of Willadean Freddy Gray
1965–68 Lost in Space Will Robinson
1965 Dear Brigitte Erasmus Leaf
1968 Wild in the Streets Boy
1969 Rascal Sterling North
1971 Bless the Beasts and Children Teft
1973 Papillon Lariot
1980 Fish Heads Art Barnes
1983 Twilight Zone: The Movie Tim (Segment #3)
1984 Hard to Hold Keyboard Player
1991 Captain America Young General Fleming
1992 Double Trouble Bob
1994–98 Babylon 5 Lennier
1995 Three Wishes Neighbor
1997 The Monkey Prince Voice of Sam
1997 Underground Adventure Voice of Sam
1997 The Weird Al Show UPS guy
1998 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Kellin
2004 Comic Book: The Movie Himself
2005 Holly Hobbie and Friends: Surprise Party
(Direct to DVD)
Voice of Bud (Amy's father)
2006 A.I. Assault Army guy

References

External links


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