Saturday, November 28, 2015

Al Markim Dead at 88

Network television's first men in space, Frankie Thomas
(center), Jan Merlin and Al Markim, stars of Tom Corbett,
Space Cadet
Al Markim, an early cast member of the CBS daytime soap opera Love of Life, died on November 24. He was 88.

Markim was a pioneering TV actor, award-winning producer, visionary video executive. He is perhaps best known as Astro, in the classic 1950s TV serial Tom Corbett, Space Cadet.

Born in 1927 in Wilkes Barre, PA, Alfred Markim served in the Army witnessing the Nuremberg trials. He later pursued acting, including stage and screen, from Love of Life to "La Ronde" at The Circle In The Square Theatre Off-Broadway. He often co-hosted Jerry Lewis' Muscular Dystrophy Telethons.

Tom Corbett, Space Cadet premiered on CBS in 1950, moved to ABC, then NBC, then DuMont, then back to NBC, with the final broadcast on June 25, 1955. (Frankie Thomas, Jr. played the lead role, and was also the star of one of the earliest TV soap operas, A Woman to Remember. He later starred in One Man's Family and First Love. Longtime Guiding Light star Edward Bryce played Captain Strong in Tom Corbett, Space Cadet.)

"In one of the later years of the Tom Corbett show, I was doing two other things: I was in a soap opera [Love of Life] a couple of times a week, and I was also doing a play at the Circle in the Square, "La Ronde," a hit play that ran for six months," Markim recalled to Starlog Magazine in 2005. "So I had a busy schedule — doing a soap opera, then I would have a script to memorize for Tom Corbett, and a heavy makeup job at night for the character that I was playing in "La Ronde." I would be at the makeup room and a friend at that time would come and coach me on the Tom Corbett lines. That fella was George Segal."

Al Markim
Markim produced award-nominated movies including The Fool Killer, and The Pawnbroker, and was executive producer of the classic Boys of Summer.

He was also a pioneer who brought movies into home theaters. In 1968, he co-founded Teletronics and thereafter entered a partnership with Sony, creating the world's first and largest videocassette duplicating center (later Video Corporation of America sold to Ronald Perlman's McAndrew's Forbes and merged into Technicolor). He was Chairman of the International Tape Association and was inducted into the Video Hall of Fame in 1996.

In retirement, he was President of his community's HOA; produced Second Half Strategies, a cable TV show; co-acted in local productions with his actress wife Sondra; and loved poker and the New York Yankees.

In addition to Sondra, his soulmate of 53 years, Markim leaves behind children Nancy, Dan, Gary, Nina and Carla, 11 adoring grandchildren, and one greatgrandchild to be.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to the Jewish Home Foundation (201-784-1414) or Doctors Without Borders (

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