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Jan Merlin Edit Profile

actor , screenwriter , author

Jan Merlin, American Author, screenwriter, actor. Avocation: traveling. M C. Recipient Emmy award, 1975, nomination, 1979. Served with United States Navy, 1942-1946, PTO. Member American Federation television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild, Actors Equity Association, Writers Guild American-West.


Merlin, Jan was born on April 3, 1925 in New York City. Son of Peter and Theresa (Guziak) Wasylewski.


Stuyvesant High School.


Born and reared in New York City USA, Merlin is of Ukrainian ancestry. During World War II, he enlisted in the United States Navy and became a torpedoman. He served on three successive ships in the North Atlantic and Pacific fleets and accumulated ten battle stars, before he entered Japan's Inland Sea with the first group of occupation forces following Japan's surrender.

After his discharge, he worked in summer stock beginning in 1946, and then enrolled in the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater, making his Broadway debut in 1949 in Mister Roberts starring Henry Fonda. His professional acting career spans more than five decades and has included performances in stage plays on and off Broadway, radio dramas, several hundreds of live and filmed episodes of television series, and more than thirty feature motion pictures made in the United States and abroad. His most recent performances were in live radio dramas broadcast in June 2010.

In his film and television work, Merlin was frequently cast as the heavy, and consequently his character very often died onscreen. For example, in 1960, Merlin played Travers in Hell Bent for Leather (film). Merlin had co-starring roles in two television series: from 1950 to 1953 as Cadet Roger Manning in Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, and in 1959 as Lieutenant Colin Kirby in the ABC western series, The Rough Riders.

In 1960, he was cast as Mick Norton in the episode "Hostage Island" of the ABC adventure series, The Islanders, set in the South Pacific. He also appeared as Hendry Grant in the 1961 episode, "First Blood" of the NBC western series, The Tall Man, starring Barry Sullivan and Clu Gulager. He made two guest appearances on Perry Mason.

In 1958 he played Tony Davis in "The Case of the Black-Eyed Blonde," and in 1961 he played Ralph Quentin in "The Case of the Jealous Journalist." Actress Irene Hervey also appeared in both episodes, playing Tony Davis' mother in the 1958 broadcast. Merlin played a villain in three episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea : "No Way Out", "The X Factor" and "Death From The Past". He was nominated again in 1976.

His first novel was published in 1982. He currently has a number of novels in print, including Gunbearer, Part I, Gunbearer, Part II, Ainoko, Gypsies Don't Lie, Crackpots and Shooting Montezuma.


  • Merlin received an Emmy Award in 1975 for scripting the NBC Daytime soap opera Another World. Merlin received a Golden Halo Award in 2009 from the Southern California Motion Picture Council for his work as an actor and a writer.


  • Other Work

    • Actor: (television series regular) Rough Riders, Space Cadet, 1500 other television appearances including Hall of Fame, Celebrity Playhouse, Combat, Laramie, Mission Impossible, Zane Grey Theatre, Climax. 34 films including The Hindenburg, Take the Money and Run, The List of Adrian Messenger, Screaming Eagles, Woman and the Hunter, (Broadway productions) Mister Roberts, Oliver Twist, (off-Broadway) Rope, The Falling Sky, Sea Salt and Sand, Woman With Red Hair, Kataki. Film dubbing, voice overs in Polish, Safari Swahili, various dialects.

      Director West Coast premiere of opera El Majo y La Maja by Garcia.


Served with United States Navy, 1942-1946, PTO. Member American Federation of television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild, Actors Equity Association, Writers Guild American-West.


  • Other Interests



Married Patricia Anne Datz, February 17, 1951 (deceased October 1986). 1 child, Peter William. Married Barbara M. Doyle, July 6, 1988.

Peter Wasylewski

Theresa (Guziak) Wasylewski

Barbara M. Doyle

Patricia Anne Datz

Peter William Merlin