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Roy Thinnes (born April 6, 1938) is an American television and film actor best known for his portrayal of lonely hero David Vincent in the ABC 1967–68 television series The Invaders. He also played Alfred Wentworth in the pilot episode of Law & Order, and he starred in the 1969 British science fiction film Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (also known as Doppelgänger).

Roy Thinnes
Roy Thinnes 1971.JPG
Thinnes in 1971.
Born (1938-04-06) April 6, 1938 (age 81)
Years active1957–present
Barbara Ainslee
(m. 1962; div. 1967)

Lynn Loring
(m. 1967; div. 1984)

Katherine Smythe
(m. 1987; div. 2001)

Stephanie Batailler
(m. 2005)


Early lifeEdit

Thinnes was born in Chicago of German descent. Later, after he relocated to California, he attended Los Angeles City College.[citation needed]


His first primetime role was in "A Fist of Five", a 1962 episode of The Untouchables, as a brother of an ex-policeman (played by Lee Marvin). Later he appeared as Ben Quick in the short-lived 1965-66 television series The Long Hot Summer, which ran on ABC. During its run he received around 1,500 letters a week from women and appeared on the cover of TV Guide (April 9–15, 1966 issue) for his one and only time to date. The TV series The Invaders soon followed, with Thinnes playing an architect named David Vincent who accidentally witnesses the arrival of aliens from another planet and wages a seemingly hopeless one-man campaign against them. The series became a cult classic, leading to other 'aliens vs earthlings' films and TV shows.

Another short-lived series in which Thinnes starred was in the lead role on The Psychiatrist as Dr. James Whitman. In 1963, Thinnes guest starred as David Dunlear in the episode "Something Crazy's Going On in the Back Room" of The Eleventh Hour. In 1964, he appeared twice in episodes "Murder by Scandal" and the "Lost Lady Blues" of the 13-episode CBS drama The Reporter starring Harry Guardino as journalist Danny Taylor of the fictitious New York Globe newspaper. Thinnes also appeared as a guest star on Twelve O'Clock High, becoming a casualty of war while commanding a B-17 bomber on a dangerous mission. He appeared as intrepid writer and investigator of the supernatural David Norliss in 1973's The Norliss Tapes, a pilot for an unproduced TV series, and played a suspicious schoolmaster in the TV movie Satan's School for Girls.

He appeared in the disaster films Airport 1975 as the co-pilot, and The Hindenburg as a sadistic SS captain. Thinnes was cast in Alfred Hitchcock's 1976 film Family Plot in the role of nefarious jeweler Arthur Adamson when Hitchcock's first choice, William Devane, was unavailable. Thinnes had already shot several scenes for the film when Devane suddenly became available. Hitchcock fired Thinnes and re-shot all of his scenes. He confronted Hitchcock in a restaurant and asked the director why he was fired. Flabbergasted, Hitchcock simply looked at Thinnes until the actor left. Some shots of Thinnes as the character (from behind) remain in the film.[1]

Thinnes as Phil Brewer with John Beradino in General Hospital, 1964

During the 1982-1983 season, Thinnes appeared as Nick Hogan in 35 episodes of Falcon Crest. He later played Roger Collins in the 1991 revival of TV's Dark Shadows. He appeared on General Hospital as Phil Brewer from 1963–65, and in the 1979 miniseries From Here to Eternity. He appeared on One Life to Live as Alex Crown from 1984–85, and as Sloan Carpenter from 1992-95. He also played a lead role in "The Final Chapter," the first episode of the 1977 series Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected (known in the United Kingdom as Twist in the Tale), and in "The Crystal Scarab", a first-season episode of Poltergeist: The Legacy in 1996. Thinnes was once considered by Paramount for the part of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation.[2]

He appeared in the 1988 pilot episode of Law & Order, "Everybody's Favorite Bagman", as District Attorney Alfred Wentworth. By the time the show was picked up in 1990, however, Thinnes was contractually obligated to another TV series, and so his character was replaced with D.A. Adam Schiff, played by Steven Hill. Thinnes made two appearances in The X-Files as Jeremiah Smith, an alien rebel with healing and shape-shifting abilities.[3]

Thinnes appeared in the 1995 TV mini-series The Invaders starring Scott Bakula, in which he returned as a much older David Vincent. Thinnes twice appeared on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live playing two different characters. From 1984-1985, he played the role of "Alex Crown" and from 1992–1995, he played the role of "Gen. Sloan Carpenter". During both of his stints on the show, his characters became a father-in-law to the same character, Cassie Callison.

In 2005, Thinnes co-starred as Dr. Theophile Peyron in the movie The Eyes of Van Gogh about Vincent van Gogh (played by Alexander Barnett, who also wrote and directed) and his voluntary stay in an insane asylum. The movie focuses on Van Gogh's relationships with Dr. Peyron, as well as fellow Expressionist Paul Gauguin, and his brother, Theo. Thinnes recently provided audio commentary for the official DVD releases of The Invaders.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Thinnes was married to actress Lynn Loring from 1967 to 1984. In 1969, she gave birth to their son Christopher Dylan Thinnes,[4] and in 1974, she gave birth to their daughter Casey Thinnes. In 2005, Thinnes married film editor Stephanie Batailler.[5]



Year Title Role Notes
1959 The FBI Story Party Guest Uncredited
1969 Doppelgänger Colonel Glen Ross
1973 Charley One-Eye The Indian
1974 Airport 1975 Urias
1975 The Hindenburg SS/Gestapo Captain Martin Vogel
1987 Mind Benders Principal Borden
1989 Rush Week Dean Grail
2001 A Beautiful Mind Governor
2005 The Eyes of Van Gogh Dr. Peyron
2006 Undone
2006 Spectropia Franklin DeMott
2007 Broken English Peter Andrews


Year Title Role Notes
1957 Cavalcade of America Mickey Hubbard Episode: "Chicago 2-1-2"
1958 Peter Gunn Roy Davidson Episode: "The Man with the Scar"
1959 Steve Canyon Officer Weber Episode: "Room 313"
1962 The Untouchables Denny Brannon Episode: "A Fist of Five"
1962 Gunsmoke Harry Episode: "False Front"
1963 Ripcord Radioman Episode: "Semper Paratus Any Time"
1963 The Untouchables Red Thomas Episode: "An Eye for an Eye"
1963 The Eleventh Hour David Dunlear Episode: "Something Crazy's Going on in the Back Room"
1963 Death Valley Days Ab Singleton Episode: "Jeb"
1963 Gunsmoke Dr. Peyron Episode: "Jeb"
1963–1965 General Hospital Phil Brewer Series regular
1964 The Reporter Roberts Episode: "Murder by Scandal"
1964 The Reporter Detective Lieutenant Lee Roberts Episode: "The Lost Lady Blues"
1965–1966 The Long, Hot Summer Ben Quick Main cast
26 episodes
1965 Twelve O'Clock High Maj. Jake Hays Episode: "In Search of My Enemies"
1966 The F.B.I. Larry Drake Episode: "The Escape"
1966 Twelve O'Clock High Capt. Paul Pridie Episode: "A Distant Cry"
1966 The Fugitive Carl Crandall Episode: "Wine is a Traitor"
1967–1968 The Invaders David Vincent Lead role
43 episodes
1970 The Other Man Johnny Brant TV movie
1970–1971 The Psychiatrist Dr. James Whitman Lead role
Seven episodes
1971 Black Noon Reverend John Keyes TV movie
1972 The Manhunter David Farrow TV movie
1973 The Horror at 37,000 Feet Alan O'Neill TV movie
1973 The Norliss Tapes David Norliss TV movie
1973 Satan's School for Girls Dr. Joseph Clampett TV movie
1973 Death Race Arnold McMillan TV movie
1977 Tales of the Unexpected Frank Harris Episode: "The Final Chapter"
1977 Secrets Herb Fleming TV movie
1977 Code Name: Diamond Head Johnny Paul TV movie
1978 Battlestar Galactica Croft Two episodes
1979 From Here to Eternity Capt. Dana Holmes Miniseries
1979 Supertrain William Phillips/Eddie Barnes Episode: "Hail to the Chief"
1979 The Return of Mod Squad Dan TV movie
1979 Stone Detective Cliff Bell Episode: "Pilot"
1980 From Here to Eternity Capt. Dana Holmes Main cast
11 episodes
1981 Freedom Michael TV movie
1981 Scruples Hall TV movie
1981 Sizzle Wheeler TV movie
1982–1983 Falcon Crest Nick Hogan Recurring role
20 episodes
1984 Hotel John White Episode: "Memories"
1984 The Love Boat Buzz McClaine Episode: "Country Blues/A Matter of Taste/Frat Brothers Forever"
1984–1985 One Life to Live Alex Smith Series regular
1985 Murder, She Wrote Lt. Ted Misko Episode: "Dead Heat"
1986 Highway to Heaven Howard Sellers Episode: "Oh Lucky Man"
1987 1st & Ten Teddy Recurring role
Six episodes
1987 Murder, She Wrote Sheriff Howard Landry Episode: "Trouble in Eden"
1987 The Law & Harry McGraw George Bellamy Episode: "State of Art"
1989 Passport to Terror Jimmy TV movie
1990 Blue Bayou Barry Fontenot TV movie
1990 War of the Worlds Van Order Episode: "Video Messiah"
1990 Law & Order D.A. Alfred Wentworth Episode: "Everybody's Favorite Bagman"
1991 An Inconvenient Woman Sims Lord Miniseries
1991 Murder, She Wrote J.K. Davern Episode: "The Taxman Cometh"
1991 Dark Shadows Roger Collins/Rev. Trask Main cast
12 episodes
1991 P.S. I Luv U Larry Benton Episode: "The Honeymooners"
1992 Lady Against the Odds P.L. Storrs TV movie
1992 FBI: The Untold Stories Agent Jim Theisen Episode; "D.B. Cooper/The McCoy Hijacking"
1992 Stormy Weathers Andrew Chase TV movie
1992–1995 One Life to Live Gen. Sloan Carpenter Series regular
1995 Walker, Texas Ranger Col. Dayton Episode: "Case Closed"
1995 The Invaders David Vincent Miniseries
1996 Terminal John Cabot TV movie
1996–2001 The X-Files Jeremiah Smith Recurring role
Three episodes
1996 Poltergeist: The Legacy Clayton Wallace Episode: "The Crystal Scarab"
1996 Touched by an Angel Senator Guy Hammond Episode: "Secret Service"
1997 Law & Order Victor Panatti Episode: "Terminal"
1997 Players Logan Cates Episode: "Con Job"
1999 Law & Order Mr Kushner Episode: "Ramparts"
2000 The Sopranos Dr. Baumgartner Episode: "House Arrest"
2000 D.C. Fred Hamilton Episode: "Guns and Roses"
2000 Bar Hopping Man with Cassandra TV movie
2001 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Sheridan Beckworth Episode: "The Faithful"
2002 Oz Leader of Aryan Brotherhood Episode: "Good Intentions"
2002 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Curtis Johansen Episode: "Greed"
2006 Conviction Ralph Hanlon Episode: "Deliverance"


  1. ^ "Family Plot trivia". Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  2. ^ "STAR TREK/Casting". Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Roy Thinnes on IMDb
  4. ^ Toledo Blade, February 12, 1969
  5. ^ "Roy Thinnes marries film editor Stephanie Batailler",; accessed March 16, 2015.

External linksEdit