Whatever Happened To The Original Cast Of Lost In Space?

01/09/23: A previous version of this story stated that Jonathan Harris was a voice actor in "My Favorite Martian." He was a voice actor in the cartoon "My Favorite Martians," not the TV series "My Favorite Martian."

The science fiction boom that landed on the small screen during the 1960s produced many a television series, captivating the imagination of fans young and old alike who dreamed of a life beyond the stars. The shows ranged from the horrifying and eerie, with "The Twilight Zone" and "The Outer Limits" showing that what lies beyond our planet might be best left undiscovered, to the outrageously campy, as was the case with "Star Trek: The Original Series."

Landing more in the vein of the latter was the series "Lost in Space." The Robinson family, having left an overcrowded Earth under government orders to begin a new colony on a remote planet, find themselves knocked off course after a foreign agent sneaks aboard their ship and sabotages their trajectory. Far from their destination and even farther from their home planet, the Robinsons are stranded on an alien world. The series follows their adventures on, and eventually off, the planet, where they meet (and sometimes battle) various alien lifeforms along the way.

The show's popularity spawned a 1998 film adaptation and was recently rebooted in 2018 as a series on Netflix. 

More than 50 years have passed since the original "Lost in Space" ended its three-season run in 1968. Many of the starring and supporting cast members went on to film and/or TV careers after the finale, while others became successful in fine arts.

Guy Williams

Guy Williams was a bit actor in films before being cast in the role that he'll most likely be forever known for, Don Diego de la Vega, also known as Zorro. After more than 80 episodes playing the title character in "Zorro,” he reprised the role in "The Magical World of Disney." Eventually, Williams would be cast in the Irwin Allen sci-fi series that put his character on a foreign world battling aliens instead of Spanish tyrants (via IMDb).

Williams retired from acting after "Lost in Space" concluded in 1968. The Los Angeles Times reports Williams enjoyed traveling to Argentina, eventually moving to Buenos Aires before his death in 1989. Per the outlet, Williams had been living alone at the time of his death, his body discovered by police a week after he suffered a fatal heart attack in his apartment.

In 2001, Williams was granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work on the series "Zorro" (via the Telegraph-Herald). His son, Guy Williams, Jr., was on site to accept the posthumous honor on his father's behalf.

June Lockhart

June Lockhart has the lengthiest screen history of her fellow "Lost in Space" cast members, with nearly 200 film and TV credits to date. Many of these roles were in the years after "Lost in Space" ended in 1968. Lockhart was a regular cast member in "The Beverly Hillbillies" spinoff "Petticoat Junction," and made dozens of TV appearances on shows that included "Happy Days," "Adam-12," and "Magnum, P.I." She became a familiar face in the 1990s, playing grandmotherly types in "Roseanne" and "The Drew Carey Show," among others. She also had a recurring part in "General Hospital," and was in several episodes of "Beverly Hills, 90210" (per IMDb).

According to the New York Post, Lockhart made a name for herself as a so-called "presidential groupie." The news outlet reports that Lockhart met her first president in 1948 when she was introduced to Harry Truman in the Oval Office. After that, the actor began attending press briefings in her spare time and even followed several presidential campaigns. Her advancing age might have slowed this down a bit, her last attendance at a presidential news briefing occurring during George W. Bush's first term in 2004.

The 97-year-old actor continues to work, with her last role, as of this writing, as the voice of Alpha Control on the "Lost in Space" series reboot in 2021.

Mark Goddard

Mark Goddard was already a skilled actor before he landed the role of Major Don West. After the series ended, he revealed in an interview with Pop Entertainment that he kept his work on the show hidden for a number of years. He explained that costar Guy Williams told him that the campy sci-fi series was "a career buster," words that Goddard never forgot. He mentions his work on Broadway with famed actor Liza Minelli in "The Act", where he had kept this past acting credit from appearing in the playbill.

But Goddard eventually learned to embrace a role that he's perhaps most famous for. In 2008, he released a memoir titled "To Space and Back," where he devotes an entire chapter to the show that he once thought would end his career as an actor.

Goddard continued to work on TV and in film after "Lost in Space" ended its run, even appearing in recurring roles on daytime soaps "General Hospital" and "One Life to Live." He, along with several other former castmates, had a cameo role in the 1998 film adaptation of "Lost in Space" (per IMDb).

Marta Kristen

Marta Kristen played the beautiful Judy Robinson in the series, who seemed to always be under the watchful eye of Major Don West. Her post-"Lost in Space" years saw several handfuls of TV and film appearances, but getting married young may have slowed her career a bit.

Kristen has been very open publicly about her being given up for adoption by her birth mother during WWII, who feared that her infant daughter would be placed into the Lebsenborn Program, one that the Nazis were using to raise "racially pure" children. Working for a German officer at the time, her mother slipped away to give birth after hiding her pregnancy. Kristen was given to an underground orphanage in Norway, where she was later adopted by an American couple. Years after "Lost in Space” ended, Kristen ventured to Europe to finally visit her birth mother. She was also able to meet some of the nine brothers and sisters she didn't know existed (via The Spectrum).

Like her "Lost in Space" costar Angela Cartwright, Kristen made a cameo in the 1998 film adaptation of the series, where the two women played reporters. She has been playing roles sporadically in films and on television since then, including a recurring part in the series "The Vamps Next Door." In 2022, she was cast in "Escape from Earth," once again assuming the role of Judy Robinson (per IMDb).

Pop Entertainment tells us that today she also works as a coach for young actors.

Bill Mumy

Though barely a teen when "Lost in Space” debuted, Bill Mumy already had built a lengthy list of screen credits. After his debut on the TV series "Wire Service" at the age of 3 in 1957, Mumy had several appearances in the sci-fi/fantasy show "The Twilight Zone." "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," "The Magical World of Disney," and "Make Room for Daddy" kept Mumy's face familiar, seeming to fill a role wherever a precocious lad was needed for a television scene (per IMDb).

Mumy is a rare example of a popular child star that didn't fizzle out during early adulthood. In fact, Mumy worked both on TV and in film during the 1970s and still works as an actor today.

Mumy, however, might be better known by some as an accomplished musician, notably for his being part of the group Barnes & Barnes. Their cult hit "Fish Heads" (your brain will be singing this song for the rest of the day) was made popular by being played on Dr. Demento's radio show after its 1978 release. It's the most requested song on the show (via Dr. Demento Database).

Apart from acting and performing as a musician, Mumy is also an accomplished composer. For his efforts, he was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction and Composition for the series "Adventures in Wonderland" in 1992 (via the Television Academy Foundation).

Angela Cartwright

Angela Cartwright was already familiar to TV viewers before she was cast in the role of Penny Robinson in "Lost in Space." The young actor appeared in over 200 episodes of "The Danny Thomas Show" over its 11-year-run, landing the role of Linda Williams when she was only 5 years old. Fast forward a decade later, the teenage Cartwright found herself teleported from the comfortable setting of the series that gave her a big start to the alien terrain on "Lost in Space." Cartwright continued to act after the series ended, her largest role being on a spinoff of "The Danny Thomas Show" called "Make Room for Granddaddy." She held sporadic roles throughout the next few decades, mostly appearing in smaller roles on TV shows and made-for-TV movies (via IMDb). 

In 1998, Cartwright made a cameo in the film adaptation of the hit sci-fi show. In "Lost in Space," Cartwright played the part of a reporter. In 2019, she appeared in an episode of the reboot of the series as well.

Acting hasn't been her biggest passion for the last 30 years; Cartwright has made a career as a professional photographer and artist. Her talents take her around the world where she gets inspiration for her unique artwork and jewelry (via the artist's website).

Jonathan Harris

The sneaky Dr. Smith, whose sabotage led to the Robinson family and their crew being steered off course, was played by the sinister-looking Jonathan Harris. Harris had dozens of acting credits before his "Lost in Space" debut, ranging from appearances on "The Twilight Zone" and "Father Knows Best," to co-starring on TV shows "The Bill Dana Show" and "The Third Man" (via IMDb). 

Already with a respectable career under his belt when "Lost in Space" aired its final episode in 1968, Harris remained a familiar face on the small screen throughout the rest of the '60s and the '70s, guest-starring on "Get Smart," "Night Gallery," and "Bewitched." His first major voice-acting role was in the cartoon "My Favorite Martians," which paved the way for a lucrative career providing voices for cartoons until he retired in 2001.

Saturday morning cartoons wouldn't have been the same without Harris, who voiced scores of characters across multiple cartoons during the '80s and '90s. "Foofur," "BraveStarr," "Rainbow Brite," and "Superman: The Animated Series" represent only part of this impressive segment of Harris' resume, culminating in him being voice-cast in the 1998 hit film "A Bug's Life."

The New York Times reports the actor died in 2002.

Dick Tufeld and Bob May

Fans of "Lost in Space" might be surprised to know that there was a real person tucked away inside the Robot, maneuvering it on the set. This role was filled by actor Bob May. May had a short career in the business, garnering only a handful of screen credits after the series ended in 1968. His last role was playing a clown in the 1980 film "Hardly Working," starring Jerry Lewis (per IMDb). The Los Angeles Times reports that May died in 2009.

May operated the Robot, but the voice of this iconic character was played by another actor. For this role, producers chose veteran voice actor Dick Tufeld. Tufeld had a familiar voice before being cast in this classic series, already known for voice-acting in "Surfside 6," "The Time Tunnel," and "The Gallant Men" (via IMDb). 

Tufeld's voice took him far after the conclusion of "Lost in Space." He was the announcer for every episode of "The Julie Andrews Show" and "Peyton Place," before breaking into the world of cartoons. In the superhero universe, Tufeld's voice can be heard announcing and/or narrating various animated shows in the 1970s and 1980s, most notably "Fantastic Four" and "Spider Man and His Amazing Friends." 

Tufeld's last gig was to lend his voice to "The Simpsons," where he reprised his role as the Robot in a 1998 episode, and again in 2004 as the voice of another robot. He died in 2012 (per the Chicago Tribune)."

Joe E. Tata

After many appearances during the 1967 season of "Lost in Space," veteran TV actor Joe E. Tata kept busy continuing to build what would amount to a successful career as a character actor. Multiple roles on the campy show "Batman" helped pave the way for Tata to work steadily throughout the remainder of the 1960s and into the next decade. He began to make a name for himself in the 1970s as an actor in made-for-TV movies (per IMDb). This work continued into the '80s when Tata added more TV series credits to his filmography with parts in "Magnum, P.I." and "Hill Street Blues." The role he will probably be best known for, however, was the part of kindly Peach Pit owner Nat in "Beverly Hills, 90210" from 1990 to 2000.

Tata's career slowed after the end of "Beverly Hills, 90210." He made a guest appearance on the TV series "Charmed," and reprised his role as Nat in the CW spinoff "90210" in 2008. 

CNN reports that Tata was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2018. His death on August 25, 2022, led to a response from some of his costars from the 1990s show that made him a familiar face with a new generation of fans. Ian Ziering penned a thoughtful online tribute to Tata, noting that he was "one of the happiest people I've ever worked with, he was as generous with his wisdom as he was with his kindness."

Bart La Rue

Bart LaRue had memorable appearances on "Lost in Space," playing various aliens that the Robinson family and their crew encountered on their adventures. The series wasn't LaRue's first or last foray into the world of science fiction fandom, however.

LaRue secured minor roles on the television shows "The Time Tunnel" and "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," according to IMDb. He also played multiple parts in "Star Trek: The Original Series," as well as providing his voice-acting skills for the show. His baritone sound got him later work in "Land of the Giants" and "Medical Center," playing announcers and TV anchors, while his proclivity for playing small-screen heavies landed him parts in multiple episodes of "Mission: Impossible" and "Mannix."

After "Lost in Space," LaRue earned some behind-the-scenes credits as well, as he wrote, produced, and directed the 1979 film "Satan War." He also earned the same credits with his own 1975 documentary "The Ark of Noah," which he also narrated.

He died at age 57 in 1990 and is buried in Sweetwater, Texas (via Find a Grave).

Judy the Chimpanzee

"Lost in Space" featured one non-human cast member, a chimpanzee who played Penny Robinson's pet, named Debbie the Bloop. Soon after their ship crashed on Priplanus, Penny adopted the adorable monkey. "Bloop," as she was commonly referred to, made appearances on multiple episodes of the show's run.

Bloop was played by veteran chimp actor Judy the Chimpanzee, who had racked up some impressive screen credits before becoming attached to the youngest Robinson daughter. After making her screen debut in "The Misadventures of Merlin Jones," Judy found herself making appearances in multiple TV shows, including "The Munsters," "Flipper," and "The Addams Family" (per IMDb). 

After her stint on "Lost in Space," Judy found herself as one of the animal co-stars in the TV series "Daktari," which centered around the life of an American veterinarian in a remote part of Africa. "Daktari" provided Judy with the role she's most well-known for, giving her a total of 88 episodes of screen time. She was also a popular fixture on "The Beverly Hillbillies," playing Cousin Bessie, Elly May Clampitt's shadow.

Judy rounded off her career by co-starring in multiple episodes of "The Magical World of Disney." According to the Ocala Star-Banner, she was one of more than two dozen animal actors to live in a training school in what would later become Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park (per Florida State Parks).