A True “Death” Match

What could be more dramatic than a fight to the death? Unless it’s a fight WITH death. That’s something you seldom see outside of Sandman comics and Ingmar Bergman films.

Or The Twilight Zone.

One For the Angels9

But how about if we make the stakes even higher? How about a battle BETWEEN deaths? Specifically, between the “Mr. Death” played by Murray Hamilton in “One for the Angels” and the one portrayed by Robert Redford in “Nothing in the Dark”.

In a moment, I’ll ask you to vote between them. But before you scroll down and pick Redford because you think he’s handsome, or Hamilton because “One for the Angels” is your favorite episode, let’s pause to review their qualifications.



Plusses: He’s so gentle and understanding, you’d never believe you’re chatting with the Grim Reaper. He speaks of death in such a poetic, lyrical way, he makes you ready to sign up on the spot. And as many female fans of TZ are quick to remind me, he’s easy on the eyes.

Minuses: He’ll lie. Right to an old lady’s face!

One For the Angels3


Plusses: Although a stickler for the rules, he’s not heartless. He’s willing to entertain appeals, even when they seem like an act of sheer desperation. He’s also very hard to escape, as Lew Bookman realizes when he tries to flee his own apartment and finds him on the landing. And the one after that. And the one after that.

Minuses: He’s got the sales resistance of Imelda Marcos at a shoe outlet. And oh, you got out of your fatal appointment on a technicality? I’ll just take this darling child in your place!

So who’s your favorite Mr. Death?


Photos courtesy of Wendy Brydge. For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. You can also get email notifications of future posts by entering your address under “Follow S&S Via Email” on the upper left-hand side of this post. WordPress followers, just hit “follow” at the top of the page.

Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

About Paul

Fanning about the work of Rod Serling all over social media. If you enjoy pics, quotes, facts and blog posts about The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Serling's other projects, you've come to the right place.

Posted on 08/09/2013, in Twilight Zone and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Very nice, Boss! My favourite of your polls so far. This was a no-brainer for me though — I went with Robert Redford. His performance in “Nothing in the Dark” is one of the greatest in TZ. He played Mr. Death with grace and dignity. He was gentle and kind, and he gave Wanda everything she needed — he comforted her and took her fear away. We should all stand in the face of such a death.

    And thanks for letting me have the first vote. You’re always such a gentleman. ;)

    • Thanks, GF! Your pics and your feedback always help me do my best work. And yes, I have a strict ladies-first policy, and you ARE First Lady around here, so how could I not say, in effect, “After you”? ;)

      You’re right about Redford. He played the part to perfection. But I was also very impressed with Hamilton’s portrayal, so I have to admit, I went with the underdog. I’d take either one of them over a hooded specter with a skeletal hand, I can tell you that!

  2. Not that I would have voted for him, but the creepy little hitchhiker might feel like he was slighted, although technically, Nan was already dead…or was she?

  3. I echo GF’s POV, but, yeah, Dan, you make a good point there! I often wondered, ok, just who was that hitchhiker? I’d still go with Herr Redford.

  4. NotAPunkRocker

    I went for Mr. Hamilton. I want my personification of death to be a little more snide and sly.

    (formerly known as sortaginger)

    • Interesting rationale! Yes, maybe Death shouldn’t be TOO understanding. Good thinking, TAFKAS! (The Artist Formerly Known as Sortaginger)

  5. Clicked my vote in 5 minutes before the closing of the polls, and my choice ended up being…

    Robert Redford

    This was by no means an easy choice, hence my down-to-the-wire selection. While both episodes featured protagonists trying to cheat the reaper, Redford’s Mr. Death actually explored why simply accepting the inevitable doesn’t have to be a terrible thing. That’s not to say I believe we should sit around twiddling our thumbs until our number is up. Quite the contrary, we should cherish every moment we can! But nothing can last forever, and when our day comes, if we’re fortunate enough to be able to look back on the life we lived and feel satisfied enough with it, perhaps taking Mr. Death’s hand won’t be as scary.

    In fairness, though, I will admit a lot of this is easy for me to say being in my 30s and in good health!

    I still must give heaps of credit to the candidate I did not choose though. I am always thoroughly entertained by Hamilton’s Mr. Death at every viewing of “One for the Angels.” It’s just that in that episode, it seems to be all about about beating death, rather than accepting it.

    If any of that makes any sense…

    Regardless, many thanks for another fun and thought-provoking poll, my good man!

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