A “Nightmare” Role
Q: One of the actors who starred in The Twilight Zone‘s “Twenty-Two” found the experience particularly frightening. Who was it?
A: It wasn’t who you’d think. Most people would guess that it was Barbara Nichols, who played Liz Powell, the stressed-out dancer who’s in the hospital recovering from a breakdown. After all, she’s the one who keeps encountering that spooky nurse who emerges from the morgue and solemnly tells her, “Room for one more, honey.”
In fact, it was the nurse herself, played by Arlene Martel, who found herself most affected by the episode:
I had nightmares for about half a year after I got that part. It really scared the hell out of me. Every time Barbara Nichols would scream, I was terrified. It had an impact on me to embody that kind of alluring, enticing, negative energy, a sort of angel of death. That really affected me because of the story and because I was experiencing the character within me. It was like everyone’s nightmare of being lured to their death before they’re ready to go.
Martel had already appeared once on The Twilight Zone (“What You Need”), and she went on to star in many more TV shows, including Star Trek, Mannix, McCloud, and Columbo. But let’s face it: It’s hard to top the “angel of death.” Especially when you play it so well that you not only scare millions of TV viewers, you scare yourself.
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