Actor Paul Marco, best known for playing "Kelton the Cop" in several films written and directed by legendary cult director Ed Wood, has died in Hollywood after a prolonged illness. He is believed to have been 80.
Marco began his career as a child actor in the "Meglin Kiddies," a troupe of young performers whose alumni included Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, and Mickey Rooney After serving in the Navy during World War II, he made his first film appearance in 1944's Sweet and Low-Down.
Marco's agent Marge Usher introduced the actor to Wood during preproduction of Bride of the Monster (1956), which prompted Wood to write the part of Kelton for Marco. Wood then cast him in two of Bela Lugosi's last films, Bride of the Monster (1955) and Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959), which became a cult hit after being named "The Worst Movie Ever Made" by Famous Monsters magazine.
The director wrote his next film, Night of the Ghouls (1959) as a starring vehicle for Marco's character. The two remained close friends until Wood's death in 1978. Marco was portrayed by Max Casella in Tim Burton's 1996 biopic Ed Wood.
Plan 9's popularity and Wood's posthumous celebrity made Marco a popular figure in the low-budget horror world. He was interviewed for many documentaries and books about Wood and Plan 9, and performed in other horror pics, including Rat Fink (1965)
and Horror Talk (1989). Most recently, he had reprised the Kelton role in the DVD short-film series Kelton's Dark Corner. He was in the midst of shooting the second installment of the DVD series at the time of his death.
Marco is survived by several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by a son.