WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
The tragic film career of Gort typified the experiences of many actors who came to Hollywood in search of fame and fortune in the 1950s.
He was christened Gnut (no surname) but was convinced by a local dinner theater owner to adopt a more euphonious stage name. Forced
to endure the traditional excruciating period of waiting on tables, Gort finally got his big break when he was tapped by director Robert
Wise to star in the sci-fi extravaganza The Day The Earth Stood Still. Nervous about accepting a role in such a lowbrow B movie, the
Shakespearian-trained actor knew he didn't have much choice in the matter. It was either take the chance or return home to Terra Halte,
Many filmgoers still do not realize just how consummate an actor Gort was. His steely countenance and deeply resonant voice projected such a forcefully commanding presence that actresses were known to literally faint in mid-scene. Through diligent practice, Gort had even mastered the useful skills of tap dancing, sword fighting and horseback riding. However, none of this made the slightest difference. As he feared, The Day The Earth Stood Still proved to be a two-edged Sword of Damocles which ultimately ruined any chance Gort had of establishing himself as a legitimate actor.
During principal filming, Robert Wise was forced by budgetary constraints to cut out all Gort's lines of dialogue from the script. "It was necessary to cover the expense of the melted tanks," Wise explained later. However, its real effect was to reduce Gort's role to that of mute sidekick to the gawkishly wooden Michael Rennie. Thus Gort became unfairly typecast for the rest of his life as a silent, stoic, stiltwalking Frankenstein. After the release of The Day The Earth Stood Still, Gort never managed to land another role in Hollywood except as a stunt double for the highly inept Robbie the Robot.
This turn of events so enraged the talented Gort that he descended into a prolonged bout of uraniumism. His appearance began to suffer with loose rivets untightened, globs of solder exposed and streaks of rust staining his once sleek armor. He also became unpredictably belligerent, randomly picking fights with innocent street lamps and Grey Hound buses. He barely managed to support himself, staggering from odd job to odd job such as hotel lobby coat rack and road construction traffic controller. After many years of living in a haze of high energy protons, Gort finally kicked his wildcat habit. After sobering up, he managed to pull himself together and reassemble his parts into a semblance of working condition. He now views his life with philosophical detachment. "I use to hate Bob Wise with a flaming passion," reveals Gort. "It took me a long time to realize that it wasn't his fault" it wasn't anybody's fault. That's just the way things happen in Hollywood and I was killing myself for no reason."
Though Gort may not have been given the opportunity he deserved, he expresses no regrets. "What's done is done - except for Robbie Robot of course," he admonishes. "Him, I can never forgive. The way he treated me like I was his personal droid. Come eternity, I got something special planned for him." Gort eventually discovered a peaceful life for himself. For the past forty years, he has been performing nightly as a table model cigarette lighter at the palace of Zeus on Olympus. "It's easy, no big demands in terms of talent but I enjoy it," he admits, "and Zeus is a great, great guy. We really get along well together."