Bill Mumy has worked with some of the most celebrated filmmakers in Hollywood history – but not all of his experiences were out of this world.
The former child star, who made his mark in the ‘60s series “Lost in Space,” has recently written a memoir titled “Danger, Will Robinson: The Full Mumy.” In it, he details his rise to stardom and the numerous encounters he had with TV and film icons along the way – including Alfred Hitchcock.
Mumy worked with the filmmaker in the TV series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” for the episode “Bang! You’re Dead!”. It was filmed in the summer of 1961 when Mumy was 7 years old.
Former child star Bill Mumy (right) recalled what it was like working with Alfred Hitchcock (left) in his memoir ‘Danger, Will Robinson: The Full Mumy’.
“He’s the monster of the story,” the 68-year-old claimed to Fox News Digital. “He was a real jerk to me. I appeared in three of his ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ television shows and one of them he directed. It’s about this little boy whose uncle comes back from a trip to visit his family. He tells the kid he has a present for him. This kid is impatient. All of his friends are outside playing… and he goes through his uncle’s bag and finds a pistol and a box of bullets. He thinks that’s his present.”
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Bill Mumy, who starred in "Lost in Space" as a child, has led a decades-long career in Hollywood.
(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Netflix)
“The audience watches as he takes this gun and puts a handful of bullets in his pocket,” Mumy shared. “And throughout the episode, you slowly see him fill the chamber. When he pulls the trigger, you don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s a very anti-gun story. It’s an excellent television show. But I was in every shot. And you can only work a minor a certain amount of hours a day. On one particular day, the assistant director said, ‘We’re going to lose Billy in five minutes. Can we get this last close-up lit?’ I had no problems being my own stand-in for a closeup. But I was seven, and I’d been working nine hours.”
A restless Mumy began moving around when suddenly, a towering figure appeared before him.
Bill Mumy alleged that Alfred Hitchcock was "a real jerk" to him.
“Hitchcock was a very large presence in every way you could possibly imagine,” said Mumy. “He was always sweating a lot. And he had this black suit on with this tight tie around his neck and jowls hanging down. He was intimidating to look at. He’s huge compared to me. I was probably 55 pounds. He gets up out of his director’s chain, hovers over me. He bends down. And he says this to me in my ear, and I’m telling you, I swear on my granddaughter, this is exactly what he said to me, ‘If you don’t stop moving about, I’m going to get a nail and I’m gonna nail your feet to your mark, and the blood will come pouring out like milk.’”
“He said this to me with no inkling of humor, no wink, no nudge-nudge – anything,” Mumy alleged. “He goes back to this chair and they shoot this close-up of me. I truly don’t know what it was like at all. It all became a blur after that. I was horrified. When they were done, I walked over to the parking lot to my mom and I’m saying how Hitchcock’s going to nail my feet! She just looks at me and goes, ‘Oh honey, he’s British. They have a different sense of humor.’ If he had said to me the next day, ‘Billy, I was just kidding. I was teasing,’ I probably would have forgotten about it. It probably wouldn’t have resonated with me at all. But he scared the s— out of this 7-year-old who was starring in his show. It was incredibly scary. I just never wanted to see him again. Ever.”
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Tippi Hedren previously alleged in her own memoir that Alfred Hitchcock derailed her career.
(Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
“I never spoke to him again – ever,” said Mumy. “I worked at Universal on and off for decades. I knew exactly where his office was… I would purposely walk around a different sound stage because I didn’t want to see him. He was a jerk. A real jerk… I just don’t understand why he would say that to a child. He didn’t respect actors very much. He just saw them as his props to use… I didn’t like him, but I can’t say I was traumatized after that. I didn’t need to go to therapy over it.”
Hitchcock passed away in 1980 at age 80.
Actress Tippi Hedren, who is the mother of Melanie Griffith, worked with Hitchcock in 1963’s “The Birds” and 1964’s “Marnie.” In her 2016 memoir, the now-92-year-old claimed she was sexually assaulted and had her career threatened by the filmmaker. In 2017, she told Fox News Digital that her complicated relationship with Hitchcock was “a sad situation.”
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Bill Mumy described "Uncle Walt" as a welcoming filmmaker who ensured he was at ease on set.
Mumy said his experience working with Walt Disney was the opposite. He starred in 1962’s “Sammy, The Way-Out Seal” and 1969’s “Rascal.”
“Walt Disney was Walt Disney,” he laughed. “He’s every Disney film you’ve ever seen. He was incredibly friendly and made sure to know everyone’s name, the cast and crew. I remembered he called me into his office and I was so nervous. I go, “Hello, Mr. Disney.’ He goes, “Nope, you call me Uncle Walt… You’ve been doing a great job. But I just want to know if you’re having a great time.’ Are you kidding me? I was having a blast. I was swimming with seals!”
“When he was alive, the Disney lot was just magnificent,” Mumy shared. “It was kind of a whole new world. Everyone was hanging out. There were lots of kids also working, so you made new friends quickly. There were ping pongs outside. You saw squirrels and rabbits around as you would see in a Disney animated film. Everyone knew everyone. It was such a special, happy place. It was a wonderful place to work, especially if you were a kid.”
Michael McGreevey, left, and Billy Mumy working alongside Sammy the Seal.
(Photo by LMPC via Getty Images)
Mumy also had glowing reviews for Lucille Ball of “I Love Lucy” fame. Her production company, Desilu, was behind the short-lived ‘60s series “The Greatest Show on Earth.”
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“Lucy was, without any shadow of a doubt, the boss,” he explained. “She owned and ran that production. She wasn’t mean. She wasn’t cranky. But she was firm. She was a powerful presence. She wasn’t goofing around. She chain-smoked. Her speaking voice was significantly lower than the voice you heard when cameras stopped rolling… I remember we were filming this episode on Halloween. I remembered Lucy suddenly announcing, ‘My kids want to go trick or treating. I’m sure Billy wants to go trick or treating. So we’re wrapping up early. See you tomorrow.’ Remember, this is television. We have a set schedule. You wrap up when you’re done. But Lucy was adamant. ‘Nope, we’re done. Go trick or treating. See you tomorrow.’ And I loved her for it.”
Today, Mumy hopes his book will give an insider’s view of what it was like to work with some of the most iconic names in Hollywood.
Bill Mumy said Lucille Ball was kind, but meant business on set.
(Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
“It’s pleasing to just feel prolific after 60-some years in show business,” he chuckled.