Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wyatt Knight (1955 - 2011)

I had wanted to wrap up my This Blog Possessed theme for Halloween and as you know, time got away once again. But once I read of the passing of Wyatt Knight, I had to set some time aside to say something.

Wyatt was best known as Tommy Turner from the Porky's series. Without question, Porky's II is the greatest teen sex comedy known to man, and part of that is because Wyatt was such a gifted actor. I actually remember the first time I laid eyes on him, because my teenage crush went into overdrive! He was funny and adorable and always great fun to watch.

While I've seen the Porky's trilogy numerous times, I only remember seeing one other performance of his, which was a brief appearance on The Waltons where he played a soldier in a 1979 episode titled The Torch. I was much older at this point, and just getting to know The Waltons for the first time via TV Land. Did my heart do an extra pitter-patter when I saw him? It sure did.

It turns out Wyatt had a pretty nice career on TV and appeared in some TV movies. Here is a list:

Murder in Texas (1981)
Dirty Work (1985)
Promised a Miracle (1988)
Those She Left Behind (1989)
Family of Spies (1990)
The American Clock (1993)
Maniac McGee (2003)

Maniac McGee was directed by Porky's director Bob Clark, who passed away in 2007.

He was also on Family Ties and Chicago Hope, among many other shows.

In the early 2000s I corresponded with Wyatt because he had made a movie with David Naughton that I was hoping to write about. I believe the film was called Rave, but never came out (and indeed, the credit has been removed from Wyatt's IMDb page). He saw that I wrote under the name Amanda by Night and joked that I should call myself Amanda by Knight, which as you can guess, made me giggle... and still does. He was always very kind in his emails, taking the time to answer my questions while throwing in a couple of jokes if he could squeeze it in. I never met Wyatt face to face, but I really treasure our brief correspondence. I was absolutely devastated when I read that the police believe Wyatt committed suicide, leaving behind a wife and two children.

The last time I corresponded with Wyatt was when Bob Clark died. He wrote to me, "There are no words." And that's pretty much all that can be said here.

RIP Wyatt. You will be missed.

Wyatt wrote and produced and starred in a short film called Stages in 2002. His co-star was Cyril O'Rielly who was also from the Porky's trilogy. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube, but here is Part One:

UPDATE (11/17/2011):

Wyatt's wife released a statement about his suicide and she said he was diagnosed with Stage 4 non-hodgkins lymphoma and had endured much pain. You can read her statement here.

I've been thinking a lot about Wyatt and his family and I just wanted to extended my deepest sympathies to his family and friends. I am so sad he is gone.


W.B. Kelso said...

Geez, that's terrible news. The last thing I saw him in was a brief, brief cameo in ST Next Generation, where he "died" in a holodeck simulation. And Porky's II was the first R-rated movie I managed to bluff my way into at the ripe old age of 13. (Hooray, growth spurt.)

Anyways, the main reason I stopped by was I thought you'd get a kick out of the latest month long marathon over at The Morgue:


Amanda By Night said...

Oh my, sorry for the delayed response... I was out of town...

Thanks so much for the link. It looks fab! I'm going to pop on over and really browse probably tonight or this weekend!

Thanks again!
Amanda By Night