Hollywood's Greatest Monkey Suits

Edward G. Robinson — An Oscar winner for lifetime achievement, he was originally slated to play the orangutan Dr. Zaius. He can even be seen with orange whiskers in a five-minute screen test. But he hated putting on the makeup. The part that eventually went to Maurice Evans.

Franklin Schaffner — The director of the original Ape flick went on to win an Oscar for Patton. He later directed Papillon and The Boys From Brazil.

Gregory Sierra — The Chicano detective from Barney Miller played a gorilla sergeant.

Rod Serling — The creator of The Twilight Zone is one of several writers credited for the original film. The shot of Heston falling to his knees before the Statue of Liberty was his most vivid contribution.

Paul Williams — When this 1970s singer-songwriter sang "You and Me Against the World," was he talking about Roddy McDowall? Perhaps. Williams, who played an orangutan adviser to Cornelius, went on to win an Oscar for writing "Evergreen" for A Star Is Born.

This list would get really long if it included every distinguished actor outside the Planet of the Apes universe who played alongside a simian. Folks like Clint Eastwood in Every Which Way But Loose.

Let's not forget, President Ronald Reagan was so popular playing the surrogate father of a chimp in Bedtime for Bonzo that he went on to do Bonzo Goes to College.

You know what they say on Monkey Planet, it's human see, human do. Personally, I never met a talking Ape movie I didn't like.

Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at ABCNEWS.com. The Wolf Files is published Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.

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