Our Favorite Walston

06/12/1998 12:00AM

Emmy and Tony-winning actor Ray Walston, 86, died at his home in Beverly Hills on Monday, after having appeared before the public since 1939. Gen-Xers adored him as Sean Penn's tough-talking -- but caring -- teacher Mr. Hand in 1982's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (Walston's best line: "What are you people, on dope?"). Baby boomers adored him as Uncle Martin -- a space alien, really -- on TV's "My Favorite Martian." And the Greatest Generation adored him as Mr. Applegate -- the Devil, really -- in the Broadway and movie versions of the baseball musical "Damn Yankees." He also played Judge Henry Bone on "Picket Fences" and a series of other irascible characters that included Poopdeck Pappy in the movie "Popeye" and Luther "Stewpot" Billis in the stage version and movie adaptation of the classic musical "South Pacific." Born in New Orleans, Walston made his Broadway debut in 1945 as a walk-on in "Hamlet," though it was "Damn Yankees," in 1955, that made him a star. Walston is survived by his wife, Ruth, their daughter, Kate, and two grandchildren -- and his millions of fans.

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