Retired actor appears in movie "Selma" as himself

Retired actor appears in movie "Selma" as himself

MARYSVILLE, Wash. - An 87-year-old actor living in Marysville appears in the new movie

Selma

.

But it wasn't a role he was hired for.

He lived it.

Steve Marlo spent more than 30 years in Hollywood, working alongside actors like Paul Newman and Marlon Brando. He may be most recognizable for a part he played in an episode of Star Trek.

But in 1965, he read an article in Variety that changed his life – an invitation to members of the Screen Actor's Guild to join Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alabama.

"I called my dear friend who was a director, Robert Gist, and I said, 'Bob, we've got to go to Selma. I've got to be there, because I feel for these people,''" Marlo remembers.

They flew down and experienced their first opposition as they walked through the airport.

"We went past this gigantic sheriff, and he said, 'You n----- lovers, get back on that airplane,'" Marlo said. "We didn't know what we were getting into, and it was scary."

Marlo was one of 300 people who walked the entire journey from Selma to Montgomery. He still owns the orange vest he wore, designating him as an official marcher. The front bears a signature from Martin Luther King Jr.

"(It took) about a week, and at night it's scary because you don't know if they'll creep up and shoot you," Marlo said. "We used to have to fall on top of each other, three in a pile, and make sure a priest or a nun were on top of each pile."

The march lasted for a week, and demonstrators slept in tents along the road. Marlo said it was exhausting and frightening, but marching with so many others strengthened his resolve.

"I can remember rocks being thrown past me, and full cans of food being thrown at us," he said. "One thing they said was don't leave or go by yourself somewhere. And a boy did and he got killed. He got killed. Why?"

Ultimately, the march from Selma proved to be a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

It also marks the release of the movie Selma.

Though retired from acting, Marlo is an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He screens and votes on films eligible for Oscars.

As he sat watching Selma, he was stunned - because what he saw was himself.

Archive footage used in the movie shows him, 5 decades years younger, marching with other demonstrators. He had no idea his image was included in the film.

"I was happy I was there," he said.


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