5 Facts About Natalie Trundy, The Late Actress From The ‘Planet Of The Apes’ Movies
Posted January 9, 2020 10:25 a.m. EST
Updated December 20, 2020 9:00 p.m. EST
On Dec. 5, 2019, actress Natalie Trundy died of natural causes, though her daughter only just recently announced her passing. Trundy is best known for her role in four of the five original “Planet of the Apes” movies, a role she landed after marrying the producer of the films, Arthur P. Jacobs.
While you may know Trundy best for her role in the popular franchise, it’s not the only thing she’s done in her 79 years of life.
Here are five facts you might not know about Natalie Trundy:
1. She Was A Child Model
Born on Aug. 5, 1940, in Boston, Massachusetts, Trundy was a model by the tender age of 9, according to her official website. By age 11, she had her first acting job after she impressed notable talent agent Bob Banner during a dance lesson at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York.
2. She Survived A Serious Car Accident
In 1963, following performances in the Jimmy Stewart film “Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation” and on TV shows like “Climax!,” “Thriller,” “Bonanza” and “The Twilight Zone,” Trundy was hit by a car and spent a year in a back brace. Her lengthy recovery meant her acting career took a backseat.
3. She Was Cast In “Planet Of The Apes” By Her Husband
Trundy married movie producer Arthur Jacobs in 1968, shortly before filming began on Jacobs’ “Planet of the Apes.” While Trundy didn’t appear in the first installment, Jacobs got her a part in each of the four sequels.
4. She Played Different ‘Planet Of The Apes’ Characters
Trundy’s first “Planet of the Apes” role, in 1970 sequel “Beneath the Planet of the Apes”, was as the radiation-scarred mutant leader Albina. Trundy recalled the ordeal of wearing the mutant mask.
“It took 4 1/2 hours to apply the makeup, and two hours to remove it,” she reportedly said. “Taking it off was agony. Jack Barron, the talented makeup artist, would use a hairdryer and acetone to remove the mask. It was so painful I would cry.”
In the next sequel, “Escape from Planet of the Apes” (1971), Trundy played a human: Dr. Stephanie Branton, an ally of the apes. In sequel three, “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes”, she was back to a non-human role, the chimpanzee Lisa, who became Cornelius’ wife in the fourth and final sequel, “Battle for the Planet of the Apes.”
5. She Volunteered To Help The Poor And The Sick
Trundy volunteered for years at Mother Theresa’s hospice in Calcutta, India, traveling there as often as twice a year to deliver medicine and supplies and to care for the poor and the sick. While she was there, she lived in a convent — a world away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.