The Twilight Zone's Eye Of The Beholder Had Maxine Stuart Crying Very Real Tears

"Eye of the Beholder," one of the more iconic episodes from "Twilight Zone", centers around patient Janet Tyler who's undergone treatment to correct facial deformity. Surgeons and nurses discuss Miss Tyler behind hospital bandages until her true beauty becomes obvious during Act III when all but Janet have faded to black: Beauty truly lies within this phrase that gives this episode its title.
As Janet was initially concealed, the crew cast two actors: Maxine Stuart for when she's bandaged up, and Donna Douglas (later seen on "The Beverly Hillbillies") when unmasked (both actors have since passed on.). Unfortunately neither are still with us today.)

In 2004, Stuart met with the Archive of American Television to discuss her appearance on "Eye of the Beholder." She spoke candidly about why Donna Douglas had been cast instead. Although Stuart had voice and Douglas beauty qualities in common, both actresses had different auditioning processes that determined their roles on set - an irony given how this episode explored conformity! As Stuart noted: It "was certainly reasonable," yet "ironic given how central to it [this episode was]."

Stuart found bandages were less of an obstacle and more of a help when it came to her acting than anything else.

Stuart had exclusive control of Miss Tyler's most emotional scenes as an unseen actor, such as when she openly complained to her nurses and doctors that people have always looked down upon her and found comfort from hiding her face, like living inside an underground cave or fortress, making life feel strangely safe despite having so many eyes upon it. It felt wonderful... wonderfully private!

"[T]his experience was wonderful; I felt safe [...] I found crying tears under the bandages very easy because there wasn't an immediate demand or exposure involved; in contrast to television where crying outright is required and visible all at the same time versus when there wasn't immediate demand, as well as when there wasn't immediate exposure, whereby crying easily came naturally and easily".
Stuart's words in "Eye of the Beholder" convey another important message -- knowing you are being judged by eyes other than your own can be dauntingly disconcerting.


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