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Jim Hutton, for Queen and Country

Getty Images / Michael Ochs Archives

Jim Hutton, for Queen and Country

Jim Hutton, star of NBC's Ellery Queen detective series, died 35 years ago today. He appeared in several notable series and films during his career, including comedies such as Bachelor in Paradise with Bob Hope and Lana Turner and The Honeymoon Machine with Steve McQueen and Paula Prentiss. Hutton was the terrified and forgotten astronaut in the classic Twilight Zone episode "And When the Sky Was Opened" in 1959, and took on more dramatic roles in The Green Berets and Hellfighters alongside John Wayne.

Probably his best-remembered role, however, is that of the titular detective in Ellery Queen. Hutton introduced physical comedy to his interpretation of the popular amateur detective, and won over fans by breaking the fourth wall – addressing viewers directly at the end of each episode and challenging them to solve the mystery before he made his big reveal.

After Ellery Queen, Hutton continued acting in film and television, but his career came to a tragic end in 1979 when he died suddenly of liver cancer just days before his 45th birthday. He left behind a wife and two teenage children. His son, Timothy, followed in his father's footsteps and became a successful actor in his own right. At just 20 years old, and only 18 months after his father's passing, Timothy Hutton won an Academy Award for his work in Ordinary People. He dedicated the award to his father's memory.

Written by Seth Joseph