R.I.P. Natalie Trundy, who went from Perry Mason client to Planet of the Apes regular

By: Start TV Staff     Posted: January 6, 2020, 10:04AM    Tags: Obituaries

Images (right): The Everett Collection

Arthur P. Jacobs had a big year in 1968. The Hollywood producer scored a blockbuster with his Planet of the Apes, the ninth highest-grossing film of the year. He also married after falling in love with an actress, Natalie Trundy. 

Trundy was a familiar face in early Sixties television. In 1963, she played a resident in an uncommonly advanced small town in "Valley of the Shadow," one of the hour-long episodes of The Twilight Zone. "We have machines for so many things but I can't make this feeling stop," she tells visiting stranger Redfield (Ed Nelson), with whom she falls in love.

Trundy in The Twilight Zone

That same year, Trundy portrayed Sandra Keller, the granddaughter of an orange orchard owner who is accused of his murder on Perry Mason. Perry comes to the defense of Keller in "The Case of the Golden Oranges," and proves her innocence in the courtroom.

But Trundy suffered setbacks in 1963. After being struck by an automobile that spring, she suffered a ruptured disc. She recovered for in a year in a back brace, according to her website.

Following her injury and recovery, Trundy relocated to London, where she met Jacobs at the opening of a Playboy Club in 1966.

After they married, Jacobs cast his wife in Planet of the Apes sequels. She played both human and simian characters. In Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), Trundy sported prosthetic makeup to play Albina, a scarred mutant. In Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), she was Dr. Stephanie Branton. Finally, she converted to ape for Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973).

Her character in those final two films, Lisa, married Roddy McDowall's ape character, Caesar. 

A 1978 appearance on Quincy M.E. would be her final screen role. On December 5, Trundy died of natural causes, as her daughter told The Hollywood Reporter. She was 79.