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Paul Mantee loved to do impressions of Hollywood stars as a child, and felt he was destined to become an actor. After earning a journalism degree from San Mateo Junior College, he enlisted in the Navy, in which he served for four years before pursuing acting. He initially struggled, landing small roles on shows that like "Dragnet" and "The Rifleman." Then in 1964, Mantee won the lead role of Commander Christopher 'Kit' Draper in the cult hit" Robinson Crusoe on Mars." It would become his best-remembered performance. Throughout the 1960s he garnered numerous guest spots on television and turned up in films like "An American Dream" and "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" As he built a more solid filmography, he won roles on numerous major television shows of the 1970s and 1980s, like "Ironside," "S.W.A.T. ," and "CHIPs." A well-reputed character actor, Mantee continued to find steady work on television, snagging parts on "Cagney & Lacey," "Alice," and "Scarecrow and Mrs. King." He retired from acting in 1998 after co-starring in the action comedy "Memorial Day." In a career that spanned fifty years, Mantee appeared in more than 120 productions, including the Oscar nominated drama "The Great Santini," and the Oscar-winning docudrama "Apollo 13."
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