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Charles Herbert

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Charles Herbert

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Charles Herbert Former Child Star Charles Herbert In 39The Fly39 And 3913

Full Name
Charles Herbert Saperstein

December 23, 1948 (

October 31, 2015, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

TV shows
Men into Space, The Clear Horizon

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Houseboat 1 9 movie clip cheating the ring toss 1958 hd

Charles Herbert Saperstein (December 23, 1948 – October 31, 2015), known as Charles Herbert, was an American Child actor of the 1950s and 1960s. Before reaching his teens, Herbert was renowned by a generation of moviegoers for an on-screen broody, mature style and wit that enabled him to go one-on-one with some of the biggest names in the industry, and his appearances in a handful of films in the sci-fi/horror genre garnered him an immortality there. In six years he appeared in twenty Hollywood features.


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Herbert supported his family from the age of five and went from being one of the most-desired and highest-paid child actors of his time to one of the multitude of performers Hollywood "discarded" upon reaching maturity. His situation and the lifetime of damage it created for him only recently came to light.

Charles Herbert Former Child Star Charles Herbert In 39The Fly39 And 3913

The midnight movie charles herbert interview

Early life

Charles Herbert Charles Herbert Former Kid Actor Scared By 39The Fly

Herbert was born Charles Herbert Saperstein in Culver City, California, the son of Pearl (Diamond) and Louis Saperstein. According to Herbert, his career began when he was discovered by an agent: "I just happened to be riding on a bus while on a shopping trip with my mother one day, and a gentleman who was a talent agent in Hollywood, named Cosmo Morgan, saw me talking and must have thought I was cute or something. He gave me his card, which I immediately tried to give to the bus driver! That's basically how it started."

Blue eyed and freckle-faced, Herbert began his acting career at age four when he appeared on the television series Half Pint Panel (1952). The Long, Long Trailer (1954) would have been his first movie, just after he appeared in the stage production of On Borrowed Time at the Rancho Theatre. However, after auditioning with some 40 other kids and chosen for a role, he was cut from the film.

Charles Herbert Richard Eyer and Charles Herbert Youthful Actors

This period was highlighted by a celebrated performance at age eight for his role as a blind child on an episode of Science Fiction Theater (1956). Airing December 22, 1956, "The Miracle Hour" episode is about a man who never gives up hope that his fiancée's blind six-year-old son will not have to spend the holidays in darkness. Herbert starred with Dick Foran and Jean Byron. Five years later he played the son of a blind man (Rod Steiger) in an episode of NBC's Wagon Train


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What followed included roles in such popular and cult films as The View from Pompey's Head (1955); The Night Holds Terror (1956); These Wilder Years (1956), with James Cagney and Barbara Stanwyck; Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957); The Colossus of New York (1958); The Fly (1958); Houseboat (1958); The Man in the Net (1959), with Alan Ladd; The Five Pennies; Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960); and 13 Ghosts (1960), in which producer/director William Castle gave him top billing at the age of 12 in order to secure his services.

Herbert's final feature film and starring role was in The Boy and the Pirates (1960), produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon (Mr. B.I.G.), the master of giant monster films, costarring his daughter Susan. Herbert and Susan Gordon had previously worked together in The Man in the Net (1959), the hospital scene in The Five Pennies (1959), and a TV pilot episode entitled The Secret Life of John Monroe (aka The Secret Life of James Thurber). The 30-minute unsold pilot aired as the "Christabel" episode of Alcoa/Goodyear Playhouse, June 8, 1959. Very rarely seen, The Boy and the Pirates was released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as a Midnite Movies double DVD set with the more recent Crystalstone (1987), on June 27, 2006. An interest in pirate films was generated by Walt Disney Company's theatrical release of Johnny Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest on July 7, 2006.

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During his peak, he was performing nonstop with multiple projects completed each year. By 1959, Herbert had achieved a lofty place among the most-desired and highest-paid child actors of his time, making nearly $1,650 per week. He had established for himself both the reputation and the nickname of "One-Take Charlie." Of his acting style, one reviewer described Herbert as "sincere, accurate, overenunciated at times, like a storybook character come to life. An extraordinary child actor by any standard. Herbert’s intense emotive quality is very much of the method acting school, highly unusual in such a young performer."

Herbert's work had him opposite Cary Grant, Sophia Loren, David Niven, Vincent Price, Johnny Carson, Donna Reed, Doris Day, and Ross Martin, for all of whom he had high praise for their treatment of him. "Anybody who is in that category [a well-known actor] who is nice to the children is a nice person. 'Cause I worked with some who were not. Children and animals are not big favorites with movie stars."

Starring screen roles in the 1950s soon evaporated, and Herbert was relegated to TV appearances in the 1960s. Growing into that typically awkward teen period, he was forced to subsist on whatever episodic roles he could muster, including bits on Wagon Train (1957), Rawhide (1959), The Twilight Zone (1962), The Fugitive (1963), Hazel (1963), Family Affair (1966), and My Three Sons (1966).

Herbert's career amassed 20 feature films, more than 50 TV shows, and a number of commercials during his youthful 14-year span.

Personal life

Because of the studio attitude toward child actors of the time, Herbert had a keen interest in the child actors of today. "I lost a lot more than the financial things. Financial things are way down the list for me. The way it’s set up in Hollywood is, I did 50 TV shows, the 20 movies, the commercials, all of that stuff... and when I turned 21, zero had been put away in the bank for me. It was not that way for every [kid actor]: If you signed a long-term contract--for instance, if you did Lassie or The Donna Reed Show or something--they put away like 5 percent for you. But if you were not on a long-term contract, ALL of the money you earned for the movies, for ALL the TV things, went to your guardians; and your guardians could do with it whatever they saw fit." The only money put away for Herbert until age 21 from his TV and film earnings was $1,700.

Describing his studio education as "nonexistent," Herbert attended public schools (Melrose, Bancroft, Fairfax High) rather than one of the private schools tailored to the unique needs of child actors. "My parents made that mistake, without malice; they were not too familiar [with the problems that child actors face]." Herbert made up a story that he had a twin brother and that it was not him whom his classmates were seeing in movies and on TV. Referencing his role in the sci-fi movie classic The Fly, he said, "Back in those days, the very few people who did know I was an actor, when they were kidding me, they’d go, Help me, help me, help meeee!"...

"Herbert was always happiest and at his best when he was performing. A talented actor, he felt secure and confident when the cameras rolled, but like many child actors, he faced difficulties adjusting to the real world beyond the controlled environment inside the studio walls. The career of a child actor often creates a profoundly troubling lack of identity at a difficult time, just after he has lost his commercial value" with the onset of puberty.

Unable to transition into adult roles, Herbert's personal life went downhill as well. With no formal education or training to do anything else and with no career earnings saved, he led a reckless, wanderlust life and turned to drugs.

Recent activity

With no family of his own, it took Herbert nearly forty years to turn his life around. Clean and sober since August 2004, his films—now reaching new generations of fans via DVD and cable TV—and his appearances at science fiction film festivals and conventions sustained him.

He expressed deep appreciation of the work Paul Petersen's organization, A Minor Consideration, does by assisting present and former child actors both financially and emotionally. Herbert and Petersen played brothers together in the film Houseboat (1958), starring Cary Grant and Sophia Loren, and he guest-starred four times as David Barker from 1958 to 1960 on Petersen's ABC series, The Donna Reed Show.

Charles Herbert appeared annually for six years in the celebrity lineup at the Monster Bash, held each June, at the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Airport Four Points with his The Boy and the Pirates costar Susan Gordon. He died in Las Vegas on October 31, 2015, from a heart attack.


Julia (TV Series) as
Clyde Whitmarsh
- Who's a Freud of Ginger Wolfe? (1968) - Clyde Whitmarsh
Family Affair (TV Series) as
- The New Cissy (1968) - Wendell
My Three Sons (TV Series) as
Eddie / Ralph / Ed
- Fly Away Home (1966) - Eddie
- The State vs. Chip Douglas (1966) - Ralph
- Whatever Happened to Baby Chip? (1966) - Ed
The Outer Limits (TV Series) as
Boy with Ball
- The Inheritors: Part II (1964) - Boy with Ball (uncredited)
The Farmer's Daughter (TV Series) as
Arnold Tatum / Arnold
- The Octopus (1964) - Arnold Tatum
- The Morley Report (1964) - Arnold
The Patty Duke Show (TV Series) as
Ross Lane
- Pilot (1963) - Ross Lane
Hazel (TV Series) as
- Hazel's Nest Egg (1963) - Leslie
The Fugitive (TV Series) as
- Nightmare at Northoak (1963) - Cal
Wagon Train (TV Series) as
Nicko Rose / Wally / Tad Hollister / ...
- The Antone Rose Story (1963) - Nicko Rose
- The Davey Baxter Story (1963) - Wally
- The Baylor Crofoot Story (1962) - Tad Hollister
- The Saul Bevins Story (1961) - Job Bevins
- The Jose Morales Story (1960) - Joseph Oliver
- The Shadrack Bennington Story (1960) - Winfy Robertson
Going My Way (TV Series) as
Danny Wojack / Kenny
- A Tough Act to Follow (1963) - Danny Wojack
- The Slasher (1963) - Kenny
Rawhide (TV Series) as
- Incident at Sugar Creek (1962) - Jody
The Eleventh Hour (TV Series) as
Stevie Williams
- The Seventh Day of Creation (1962) - Stevie Williams
The Clear Horizon (TV Series) as
Rickey Selby (1960-61)
The Twilight Zone (TV Series) as
Tom Rogers
- I Sing the Body Electric (1962) - Tom Rogers
General Electric Theater (TV Series) as
Joshua Raskin
- The Bar Mitzvah of Major Orlovsky (1962) - Joshua Raskin
- The Glorious Gift of Molly Malloy (1956)
The 7th Commandment as
Crippled Boy (uncredited)
77 Sunset Strip (TV Series) as
Lester Embry
- The Lady Has the Answers (1961) - Lester Embry
The Best of the Post (TV Series) as
- The Thompsons of Thunder Ridge (1961) - Tommy
Klondike (TV Series) as
Seth Bailey
- Halliday's Club (1960) - Seth Bailey
Shirley Temple's Storybook (TV Series) as
Jeremy Potter
- The Reluctant Dragon (1960) - Jeremy Potter (uncredited)
Lassie (TV Series) as
Jerry Johnson
- Blacktail (1960) - Jerry Johnson
- The Puppy Story (1959) - Jerry Johnson
13 Ghosts as
Buck Zorba
The Boy and the Pirates as
Jimmy Warren
Please Don't Eat the Daisies as
David Mackay
Men Into Space (TV Series) as
Peter McCauley / Pete McCauley
- Verdict in Orbit (1960) - Peter McCauley
- Christmas on the Moon (1959) - Peter McCauley
- Moon Landing (1959) - Pete McCauley
- Moon Probe (1959) - Pete McCauley
Wichita Town (TV Series) as
Jed McCloud
- Second Chance (1960) - Jed McCloud
The Donna Reed Show (TV Series) as
David Barker
- The New Mother (1960) - David Barker
- Boys Will Be Boys (1959) - David Barker
- Nothing But the Truth (1959) - David Barker
- Guest in the House (1958) - David Barker
The Ann Sothern Show (TV Series) as
David Travis
- Slightly Married (1960) - David Travis
The Loretta Young Show (TV Series) as
Jeff / Tommy / Mike / ...
- Little Monster, Tall Tales (1960) - Jeff
- The Great Divide (1956) - Tommy
- Katy (1955) - Mike
- Act of Faith (1954) - Jackie
One Step Beyond (TV Series) as
Joey Dolan / Steve Archer
- The Justice Tree (1960) - Joey Dolan
- Epilogue (1959) - Steve Archer
Riverboat (TV Series) as
Paddy Saunders
- Witness No Evil (1959) - Paddy Saunders
The Last Angry Man as
Woody Thrasher Jr. (uncredited)
The Millionaire (TV Series) as
Bobby Brown
- Millionaire Harry Brown (1959) - Bobby Brown
The Five Pennies as
Patient (uncredited)
Alcoa Theatre (TV Series) as
- Christabel (1959) - Charley
Goodyear Theatre (TV Series) as
- Cristabel (The Secret Life of John Monroe) (1959) - Charley
The Man in the Net as
Timmy Moreland
M Squad (TV Series) as
Jimmy Woodruff
- Ghost Town (1959) - Jimmy Woodruff
The Colossus of New York as
Billy Spensser
Houseboat as
Robert Winters
The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna (TV Series) as
Montgomery Flack
- The Truth Machine (1958) - Montgomery Flack
The Reluctant Debutante (uncredited)
The Fly as
Philippe Delambre
Target (TV Series)
- Five Hours to Live (1958)
Tombstone Territory (TV Series) as
Jimmy Reach
- Cave-In (1958) - Jimmy Reach
The Jack Benny Program (TV Series) as
Stevie Miller / The New Year
- Jack Takes Beavers to Dentist (1958) - Stevie Miller (as Chas. Herbert)
- New Years Day, 1956 (1956) - The New Year
No Down Payment as
Michael Flagg (uncredited)
Gun Glory as
Boy (uncredited)
The Monster That Challenged the World as
Boy with Morty's Cap (uncredited)
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral as
Tommy Earp - Virgil's Son (uncredited)
Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre (TV Series) as
Terry Carroll
- The Man in the Car (1957) - Terry Carroll
Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV Series) as
Street Kid
- The Night the World Ended (1957) - Street Kid
The Tattered Dress as
Johnny Blane (uncredited)
Science Fiction Theatre (TV Series) as
Tommy Parker
- The Miracle Hour (1956) - Tommy Parker
The Ford Television Theatre (TV Series) as
Billy Carson
- The Menace of Hasty Heights (1956) - Billy Carson
Playhouse 90 (TV Series) as
- Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956) - Jeffrey
These Wilder Years as
Small Boy (uncredited)
He Laughed Last as
Child (uncredited)
It's a Great Life (TV Series) as
Small Boy
- Operation for Earl (1956) - Small Boy
The 20th Century-Fox Hour (TV Series) as
- In Times Like These (1956) - Tod
Celebrity Playhouse (TV Series)
- Tantrum Size 12 (1956)
Ransom! as
Butchie Ritter (uncredited)
Screen Directors Playhouse (TV Series) as
Tommy Macy
- Tom and Jerry (1955) - Tommy Macy
The View from Pompey's Head as
Pat Page (uncredited)
The Night Holds Terror as
Steven Courtier (uncredited)
The Bob Cummings Show (TV Series)
- The Silver Tongued Orator (1955)
The Long, Long Trailer as
Little Boy (uncredited)
The Patty Duke Show (TV Series) (performer - 1 episode)
- Pilot (1963) - (performer: "The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond" - uncredited)
The Witch's Dungeon: 40 Years of Chills (Video documentary) as
Archive Footage
Hollywood Horrors (TV Series documentary)
- 13 Ghosts (1960) (2018)
Biography (TV Series documentary)
- Vincent Price: The Versatile Villain (1997)
Horrible Horror (Video) as
Buck Zorba, In clips from the '13 Ghosts' trailer
The Horror Show (TV Movie documentary)


Charles Herbert Wikipedia

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