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‘Lost in Space’ Actor Harris Dies

November 5, 2002

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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Jonathan Harris, the flamboyantly fussy actor who portrayed the dastardly, cowardly antagonist Dr. Zachary Smith on the 1960′s sci-fi show ``Lost in Space,″ has died. He was 87.

Harris died Sunday from a blood clot in his heart while receiving therapy at an Encino-area hospital for a chronic back problem, family spokesman Kevin J. Burns said Monday.

Born Jonathan Charasuchin in the Bronx to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, Harris adopted the stage persona of a classically trained British actor with his grandiloquent accent, crisp enunciation and professorial manner.

When people would ask him if he was from England, Harris would confess: ``’Oh no, my dear, just affected,‴ said Burns, a longtime friend and director of the 1998 documentary ``Lost in Space Forever.″

Harris also worked with Pixar Animation Studios in recent years, supplying the voice of Manny the preying-mantis magician in ``A Bug’s Life″ and the elderly doll repairman in ``Toy Story 2.″

``Lost in Space,″ which ran on CBS from 1965 to 1968, was a sci-fi takeoff on the ``Swiss Family Robinson″ story in which the castaway clan was trapped amid the uncharted fathoms of space instead of on a deserted island.

Harris’ character, Dr. Smith, was a saboteur who caused the Robinson family’s ship, Jupiter II, to fly off course _ but he also found himself trapped with them in the craft.

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