Celebrating Seniors - Jerry Douglas Turns 84
Octogenarian senior citizen and American actor known for The Young and the Restless, Jerry Douglas was born Gerald Rubenstein on November 12, 1932 in Chelsea, Massachusetts (U.S.).
Jerry Douglas grew up in Massachusetts and attended Brandeis University in Massachusetts on a football scholarship, earning a degree in economics. He then moved to New York and began law school before quitting and starting to audition. His first film credit is for an episode of the TV series This Is The Life (1952).
Frustrated by a lack of training and work as an actor, he moved to California in 1962 and began taking acting classes at night while working in insurance sales during the day.
By the end of 1963, Jerry Douglas had met and married singer-actress Arlene Martel (nee Arlene Sax) in California in 1962. Arlene’s 4 year old son Shane Palmer, from her first marriage, was joined by their daughter Avra Douglas, born in October 1963; followed by son Jodaman Douglas (now known professionally as Jod Kaftan) in August 1969.
Years later, Jod Kaftan described his parent’s first impressions upon meeting each other:
“My parents met in a West Hollywood bar called the Raincheck. They were both actors in need of company. When I asked my dad what he thought when he first saw my mom, he said, she was a pretty looking broad with a terrific figure, exotic. When I asked my mom, she said she thought he was fairly handsome and would be a good provider.”
Jerry Douglas had by this time also hired an agent and he began to find steady work on television and the occasional movie. In the 1960’s he appeared on popular baby boomer TV series like Gunsmoke and Bonanza, and worked with familiar faces such as:
- Robert Stack, Sheree North, Edward Asner, and Alan Oppenheimer in a 1963 episode of The Untouchables. Jerry Douglas would work with each of these actors again:
- Jerry Douglas guest-starred on Robert Stack’s 1970’s series Most Wanted, co-starring Shelly Novack.
- Edward Asner and Alan Oppenheimer were among his co-stars in the feature film Gunn (1967) starring Craig Stevens as Peter Gunn, with Regis Toomey (Burke’s Law), George Murdock (Banacek), and Sherry Jackson (Make Room For Daddy).
- When Jerry Douglas guest-starred 3 times on Police Story between 1975-1979, his other Police Story co-stars included Edward Asner, Hugh O’Brian, Dabney Coleman, Dennis Weaver, Diana Muldaur, Nehemiah Persoff, Larry Hagman, Robert Culp, and George Murdock (a co-star from Gunn).
- Alan Oppenheimer was a co-star for Jerry Douglas again in the 1970’s in Eischied, starring Joe Don Baker and Joe Santos. Jerry Douglas later guest-starred twice on Joe Santos’ series The Rockford Files in the mid-1970’s, starring James Garner and Noah Beery Jr., appearing in episodes with James Sikking, Nicolas Coster, Hector Elizondo, Rita Moreno, and Stuart Margolin.
- Sheree North, on an episode of Barnaby Jones in the 1970’s.
- Richard Egan, Ryan O’Neal, and Charles Bronson on Empire.
- Jerry Douglas appeared in episodes from two popular baby boomer series that had actor Henry Darrow in them – The Outer Limits in the 1960’s, and in the 1970’s, Harry O starring David Janssen and Mike Farrell (M*A*S*H).
- Ben Gazzara, Chuck Connors, John Larch, Roger Perry, and fellow bit players Bill Quinn (Archie Bunker’s Place) and Dorothy Malone (Peyton Place) in Arrest & Trial. Jerry Douglas and Dorothy Malone would work together a couple of more times in the 1970’s.
Jerry Douglas appeared in 3 different TV episodes/movies with actor George Hamilton in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
- Douglas and George Hamilton were in the same episode of Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, along with Margaret O’Brien, Carroll O’Connor (All in the Family), Dick Wilson (Bewitched), Jack Weston, and Don Marshall (Land of the Giants)
- Jerry Douglas also guest-starred on Don Marshall’s series Land of the Giants in 1969, starring Gary Conway, Don Matheson, Stefan Arngrim, with Rex Holman.
- George Hamilton, Ida Lupino and Charles Boyer were in the same episode of The Rogues.
- The Dead Don’t Die (1975) TV thriller starred George Hamilton, Joan Blondell, Ray Milland, and Jerry Douglas.
Jerry Douglas was an extra in the biographical feature film Harlowe (1965), about actress Jean Harlowe. Harlowe‘s stars included Caroll Baker, Angela Lansbury (Murder, She Wrote), Mike Connors (Mannix), Martin Balsam, Leslie Nielsen, and Peter Hansen (General Hospital). Jerry Douglas worked with Mike Connors again when he guest-starred on 3 episodes of Mannix between 1969-1971, in episodes with Vera Miles, Marion Ross, and Susan Howard (Dallas).
From the 1970’s through the early 1980’s, keen-eyed baby boomers and seniors might have noticed Jerry Douglas in episodes of these popular television series:
- Ironside starring Raymond Burr (Perry Mason), Bradford Dillman, John Lupton (Broken Arrow), prolific character actress Ann Doran (National Velvet), and Don Gallow. Jerry Douglas had worked with Don Gallow before, when he appeared in an episode of Arrest and Trial in the 1960’s.
- Dan August in 1971, starring Burt Reynolds, Norman Fell, Richard Anderson, in episodes with Sal Mineo, Fernando Lamas and Ellen Corby (The Waltons). Jerry Douglas was reunited with Richard Anderson in 1976 when he guest-starred on The Bionic Woman starring Lindsay Wagner, with Christopher Stone.
- Jerry Douglas appeared 4 times on The F.B.I. starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr. between 1967-1973, in episodes with Telly Savalas (Kojak), Celeste Holm (Promised Land), Martin Sheen, Anthony Zerbe (Harry O, The Young Riders), Joe E. Tata (Beverly Hills, 90210), and two of his future co-stars on The Young and the Restless – Eric Braeden and Jamie Lyn Bauer.
- The Manhunter starring Ken Howard (The White Shadow) with Joan Van Ark (Knots Landing), Arlene Golonka (Mayberry, R.F.D), Peter Haskell (Search for Tomorrow), and Robert Pine (CHiPs).
- The Rookies starring Georg Stanford Brown and Kate Jackson.
- The Blue Knight starring George Kennedy.
- Police Woman in 1976, starring Angie Dickinson and Earl Holliman, with Joan Collins, Hayden Rorke (I Dream of Jeannie), and Dorothy Malone. That same year, Dorothy Malone and Jerry Douglas appeared in the same episode of The Streets of San Francisco; they had first worked together in the same episode of Arrest and Trial in 1964.
- The Quest in 1976, starring Kurt Russell, Tim Matheson, Gary Collins (Born Free), with George Lazenby. The following year, Jerry Douglas worked with George Lazenby again when they co-starred in the TV movie Cover Girls (1977) with Don Johnson and Vince Edwards (Ben Casey).
- The Feather and Father Gang, with Stefanie Powers and Pat Crowley.
- Richie Brockelman, Private Eye in 1978 starring Dennis Dugan, Robert Hogan, Barbara Bosson (Hill Street Blues), and Earl Boen. Jerry Douglas’ wife Arlene Martel (under her new professional name of Tasha Martell) appeared in the same episode of Richie Brockelman, Private Eye with him.
Between 1973-1980, Jerry Douglas guest-starred 5 times on Barnaby Jones with Lee Meriwether and Mark Shera, in episodes with Richard Anderson (whom he also worked with on Dan August and Bionic Woman), Sheree North, and Peggy McCay (Days of Our Lives). Douglas worked with Mark Shera in Police Story as well, and with Sheree North in a 1963 episode of The Untouchables.
In addition to his episodic TV work during this era, Jerry Douglas also had parts in feature films and TV movies that included:
- Travis Logan, D.A. (1971), a V movie starring Vic Morrow, Chris Robinson, James T. Callahan, Hal Holbrook, Brooke Bundy, Brenda Vaccaro, George Grizzard, Scott Marlowe (Valley of the Dolls), Edward Andrews, and Ed Flanders (St. Elsewhere). In the 1960’s, Jerry Douglas had worked previously with actor Vic Morrow in an episode of Combat! , and with Edward Andrews in an episode of Broadside – along with Kathleen Nolan and Joan Staley.
- Hunter (1973), a TV thriller starring John Vernon with Fritz Weaver, John Schuck (McMillan & Wife), Barbara Rhoades, and Ed Flanders (his co-star from 1971’s Travis Logan, D.A.). Jerry Douglas had appeared twice on Mission: Impossible with Leonard Nimoy and had been in a 1972 episode of the series with John Vernon.
- Brinks: The Great Robbery (1976), a TV movie starring Stephen Collins (7th Heaven), Darren McGavin (Mike Hammer), Leslie Nielsen, and Jenny O’Hara. The film is based on the Great Brinks Robbery in January 1950. Jerry Douglas had also been in the feature film Harlowe in 1965 with Leslie Nielsen.
- Black Tigers / Good Guys Wear Black (1978), an action feature film starring Chuck Norris, Anne Archer, James Franciscus (Longstreet), and Jim Backus (Gilligan’s Island).
- Avalanche (1978), another action feature film with Rock Hudson, Mia Farrow, Robert Forster, Jeannette Nolan (The Virginian), and Steve Franken (The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis). Steve Franken and Jerry Douglas had both been in an unsuccessful TV pilot/movie 5 years earlier called The Stranger (1973), along with Cameron Mitchell (Swiss Family Robinson), Dean Jagger (Mr. Novak), Tim O’Connor, H.M. Wynant, and William Bryant (General Hospital).
Jerry Douglas was in the TV movie Crash (1978), a drama starring William Shatner (Star Trek, TJ Hooker), Shatner’s wife Marcy Lafferty, Adrienne Barbeau (Maude), Brooke Bundy, Ron Glass, Sharon Gless (Cagney & Lacey), George Maharis (Route 66), Ed Nelson (Peyton Place), Eddie Albert (Green Acres), with Brett Halsey, George Murdock (Banacek), Lurene Tuttle, Royal Dano, Susan Brown (General Hospital), Bob Hastings, and Mark Pinter (Another World). Jerry Douglas had worked with several of his Crash co-stars previously:
- Ron Glass on The Streets of San Francisco.
- George Murdock in a 1963 episode of The Untouchables, and in the 1967 movie Gunn.
- Brooke Bundy in the 1971’s TV movie Travis Logan, D.A.
In the biographical feature film Mommie Dearest (1981) about Joan Crawford, Jerry Douglas had a bit part. Mommie Dearest starred Faye Dunaway, Steve Forrest, Priscilla Pointer (Dallas). Steve Forrest and Jerry Douglas had worked together previously when Douglas appeared on S.W.A.T. in 1975, with Mark Shera.
In the big-screen thriller Looker (1981), Jerry Douglas was in good company with the movie’s cast. Looker stars included Albert Finney, James Coburn, Susan Dey (The Partridge Family), Leigh Taylor-Young (Peyton Place, Passions), Dorian Harewood, Darryl Hickman, Terry Kiser (The Doctors), and Vanna White (Wheel of Fortune) in a bit part.
As he entered his 50+ years in 1982, Jerry Douglas had a busy year professionally. He was in the TV movie A Wedding on Walton’s Mountain (1982) with Ralph Waite, Richard Gilliland (Operation Petticoat), Joanna Kerns (Growing Pains), and Ellen Corby; Douglas had worked with Ellen Corby 10 years earlier when he’d appeared on Dan August. Jerry Douglas also guest-starred in The Greatest American Hero, starring William Katt, Connie Sellecca, Marc Alaimo (The Doctors) and Robert Culp, who he knew from a Police Story episode in the 1970’s.
His personal life was on the rocky side; Jerry Douglas and his wife Arlene Martel had separated in 1973 and she moved to Carmel with their children. Douglas quit acting in 1983 and reportedly moved to Carmel in a vain attempt to save their marriage, but they were divorced. Jerry Douglas moved back to Los Angeles and successfully filed for custody of his youngest son Jod Douglas. Arlene Martel remarried in 1980, but was once again a divorced septuagenarian senior citizen when she died in August 2014 at the age of 78, from complications from a heart attack.
In September 1983, Jerry Douglas met 26-years-younger TV host Kymberly Bankier when they were participating in The Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. Jerry Douglas and Kymberley Bankier got married in April 1986 and had son Hunter Douglas in 1997.
With a happier home life, his professional life picked up as well. In 1982, Jerry Douglas landed the role of patriarch John Abbott on daytime soap opera The Young and The Restless. He has continued as a regular or recurring cast member on The Young and the Restless for over 30 years.
Douglas was briefly written out of The Young and the Restless around 2008, but has been brought frequently as either the ghost of John Abbot, or the different character of Alistair Wallingford.
Most recently Jerry Douglas played the ghost of John Abbott again, in October 2016. Key cast members that Jerry Douglas worked with while starring on The Young and the Restless included Peter Bergman, Doug Davidson, Eileen Davidson, Christian LeBlanc, Kate Linder, and Melody Thomas Scott. Jerry Douglas’ ex-wife Arlene Martel appeared on The Young and the Restless in 1987, using her new professional name of Tasha Martel.
Some of the other The Young and the Restless co-stars that Jerry Douglas worked with before and after his time on the series included:
- Jeanne Cooper, in the horror movie Black Zoo (1963) starring Michael Gough and Edward Platt (Get Smart).
- Eric Braeden (1970) and Jamie Lyn Bauer (1973) in episodes of The F.B.I.
- Although acting on The Young and the Restless kept Jerry Douglas busy during the 1980’s, 1990’s, and 2000’s, he did find time to guest-star on a 2-part episode of Hunter (1989), with Pat Skipper (Y&R). His other Hunter episode co-stars included Fred Dryer, Stepfanie Kramer, Ken Foree, and Steve Franken, whom Douglas had worked with in the movies The Stranger (1973) and Avalanche (1978).
- Barbara Crampton in The Godson (1998).
Douglas had a bit part in the feature film JFK (1991). JFK’s all-star cast included Kevin Costner, Sally Kirkland, Edward Asner, Sissy Spacek, Brian Doyle-Murray (Saturday Night Live), Wayne Knight (Seinfeld), Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne), Gary Grubbs, Joe Pesci, Tommy Lee Jones, and Donald Sutherland. Edward Asner and Jerry Douglas had first worked together almost 30 years earlier, in a 1963 episode of The Untouchables.
Upon becoming a senior citizen in 1997, Jerry Douglas became a father again for the third time to son Hunter Douglas. In addition to his regular cast member role on The Young and the Restless, he appeared in the feature film comedy The Godson (1998) starring Rodney Dangerfield, Dom DeLuise, Lou Ferrigno and Barbara Crampton. Jerry Douglas had worked with Lou Ferrigno before, when he’d guest-starred on Ferrigno’s series The Incredible Hulk in a 1979 episode with Kathryn Leigh Scott (Dark Shadows).
Baby boomer and senior fans of Jerry Douglas could see him on television in the TV movie The Christmas Wish (1998) with Debbie Reynolds, and Michael Fairman; and as Mr. Damarr in 2 episodes of Melrose Place in 1999. On Melrose Place, his other guest co-stars included veteran actors J. Kenneth Campbell, Julie Adams, and James Darren.
After becoming a septuagenarian senior in 2002, Jerry Douglas appeared on television in an episode of Cold Case starring John Finn in 2007. He played the small role of Uncle Billy Bob in the comedy feature film The Back-up Bride (2011). The Back-up Bride stars included Richard Karn (Home Improvement) and Mary-Margaret Humes (Dawson’s Creek). Douglas recorded and released a CD of jazz standards in 1007 and toured the U.S. and Canada.
An octogenarian senior citizen since 2012, Jerry Douglas could be seen most recently in the comedy feature film Silent But Deadly (2012). Silent But Deadly co-starred Dawn Wells (Gilligan’s Island) and Martin Kove, and reunited Douglas with actress Lee Meriwether, whom he had first worked with in Barnaby Jones in 1973, 39 years earlier. The comedy short The Final Show (2016), co-starred seniors Jerry Douglas, Peter Mark Richman (Cain’s Hundred), and Nancy Dussault (Too Close For Comfort).
Jerry Douglas is a grandfather now, and he and wife Kymberly Douglas celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2016.
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