‘Lost In Space’ Actor Mark Goddard Passes Away at 87

Charting the legacy of a sci-fi television icon

by Nouman Rasool
‘Lost In Space’ Actor Mark Goddard Passes Away at 87
© Killilea/GettyImages

Mark Goddard, revered for his role as the intrepid Major Don West on CBS’ "Lost In Space" from 1965-68, succumbed to pulmonary fibrosis on Tuesday in Hingham, Massachusetts at the age of 87. His wife, Evelyn Pezzulich, shared the somber news on Facebook.

The actor had been hospitalized with pneumonia shortly after celebrating his 87th birthday, and was subsequently diagnosed with the final stages of pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable ailment. Before his iconic role in "Lost In Space", Goddard had already established himself as a promising young actor, gracing TV screens in late-'50s shows such as "Johnny Ringo" and "The Rebel".

By 1960, he had secured a regular role on "The Detectives" as Det. Sgt. Chris Ballard, contributing to 64 episodes over two years.

Goddard's Early Acting Journey

Born Charles Harvey Goddard on July 24, 1936, in Lowell, Massachusetts, he pursued his passion for acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

Relocating to Los Angeles in 1959 and adopting the stage name "Mark Goddard", he soon embraced roles in notable TV Westerns of that era, with "The Rifleman" providing him an opportunity to be mentored by the show's lead, Chuck Connors.

His other credits from the 1960s encompassed appearances in popular shows such as "Burke’s Law", "The Beverly Hillbillies", and "The Fugitive". But it was in 1965, under the guidance of Irwin Allen, the creator of "Lost In Space", that Goddard secured his enduring role as Major West, initially designed as a romantic figure for Judy Robinson, played by Marta Kristen.

Despite its early intentions, "Lost in Space" transitioned from an action-adventure tale into a comedic escapade, often centered around the quirky character of Dr. Zachary Smith, portrayed by Jonathan Harris. This evolution relegated Goddard’s Major West into more of a stern, disciplinary role, especially towards Dr.

Smith. Post "Lost in Space", while Goddard faced challenges in escaping typecasting, he still made his mark with guest appearances in shows like "The Mod Squad", "The Streets of San Francisco", and the film "Roller Boogie" with Linda Blair.

Additionally, he had recurring roles in soap operas during the 80s. Goddard’s commitment to education saw him obtain a master's degree from Bridgewater State College, Massachusetts. He later dedicated his skills to special education in Middleboro, Massachusetts during the 90s and 2000s. His memoir, "To Space and Back", published in 2008, provides an intimate glimpse into his journey.