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Edward Platt's Son Once Revealed the Story behind the 'Get Smart' Actor's Tragic Death

Bettina Dizon
Jun 13, 2019
08:50 A.M.
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Edward Platt unexpectedly died in 1974 after suffering a heart attack, but his son later confirmed the real reason behind the actor’s death -- a long struggle with depression.

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Edward Platt is best known for his role as “The Chief” in the ‘60s series “Get Smart,” which ran until 1970. Four years later, the actor was found in his apartment in Santa Monica, California, dead, due to an apparent heart attack.

However, his son later revealed that his father died by taking away his own life after battling untreated depression for a long time. He married twice and was survived by his four children.

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BEFORE HOLLYWOOD

Born in Staten Island, New York, Platt studied romantic languages at Princeton University, then later at the Juilliard School of Music after setting opera as his path.

In 1952, Platt performed “The Shrike” on Broadway, where Jose Ferrer noticed and convinced him to reprise the role in the Hollywood movie adaptation, which prompted his acting career.

Before his career bloomed in show business, the “Get Smart” actor performed as a singer with Paul Whiteman's Orchestra and in New York’s Mozart Opera Company, appearing in the musicals “The Mikado” and “The Pirates of Penzance” for a few years.

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During World War II, he worked as a radio operator in the US army but left as soon as the war ended. Plat returned to the music industry; first working in musical comedies, then later hitting Broadway in the musical “Allegro.”

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A SELF MADE MAN

In 1952, Platt performed “The Shrike” on Broadway, where Jose Ferrer noticed and convinced him to reprise the role in the Hollywood movie adaptation, which prompted his acting career.

Roles kept flowing in for the actor whose strong voice and maturity perfectly fit professional characters or criminal masterminds. Among his films were “Rebel Without a Cause,” “The Lieutenant Wore Skirts,” “The Steel Jungle,” “Storm Center,” and “Oregon Passage,” among many others.

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He also appeared on some television shows including “The Outer Limits,” “Bonanza,” “General Hospital,” and his most famous role in a spy spoof sitcom, “Get Smart.”

MENTAL HEALTH

While Platt remained to have a good career, he had difficulty handling his mental health issues, which is a prominent issue in today’s society and among Hollywood stars. Like Platt, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also suffered from depression sometime in his life.

He once admitted to battling depression after his encounter with his mom’s suicide attempt. On a lengthy Instagram post, the wrestler turned actor shared what happened when he was 15.

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“My mom tried to check out when I was 15. She got outta the car on Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic. Big rigs and cars swerving outta the way not to hit her. I grabbed her and pulled her back on the gravel shoulder of the road,” he wrote.

The actor urged people to keep a keen eye for people who are in pain and encourage them to release their struggles with their inner demons, to remind them that they are not alone.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide hotlines can be found at befrienders.org

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