Vale: Dabney Coleman

Veteran US actor Dabney Coleman, best known for Tootsie, 9 to 5 and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, has died.

Veteran US actor Dabney Coleman, best known for Tootsie, 9 to 5 and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, has died aged 92.

He died on Thursday at his home in Santa Monica. His daughter Quincy Coleman said he “took his last earthly breath peacefully and exquisitely.”

Coleman was a jobbing actor in many TV shows including The Fugitive, I Dream of Jeannie, The Flying Nun, Bonanza, The Mod Squad, The FBI, Room 222, Colombo, Kojak, McMillan & Wife, Barnaby Jones, Mannix and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

In 1976 he got a break in the satirical soap opera Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman cast as the corrupt mayor Merle Jeeter for 148 episodes.

He went on to feature in Tootsie as the obnoxious director of a daytime soap with Dustin Hoffman’s character pretending to be a woman. In 9 to 5, he was the “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss who tormented Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton.

Other films inclued War Games, You’ve Got Mail, The Towering Inferno, On Golden Pond, The Beverly Hillbillies, Inspector Gadget, Meet the Applegates, Stuart Little, and The Muppets Take Manhattan.

He also featured in Buffalo Bill as Bill Bittinger, and starred in The Slap Maxwell Story.

More recent TV roles included Yellowstone, Ray Donovan, NCIS, For the People, Law & Order: SVU and Boardwalk Empire as Commodore Louis Kaestner.

Source: ABC

7 Responses

  1. One of my favourite character actors. I was a bit young for The Guardian, but I certainly remember it being on mid-week on 10, before The X Files (??).

    Last thing I remember seeing him in was as Kevin Costner’s dad in Yellowstone. It was a surprise seeing him (I honestly thought he’d worked his last with Boardwalk Empire). Despite the ravages of age it was a great performance.

  2. An amazing actor. So sad we will never see his great character acting skills again. I always loved it when he turned up in one of my fave shows. RIP Dabney

    1. Totally agree Leilani. When I would see his name in the credits I knew it would be a great performance. Remember reading some years ago a Simon Baker interview for when he was a couple of season in to The Mentalist and he was asked about previous roles and he could not speak more highly of Dabney.
      His performance in Tootsie just perfect. RIP Dabney

  3. He was just brilliant in 9 to 5, also remember his hilarious role in Matthew Broderick’s Inspector Gadget from the late 90s alongside the equally funny Cheri Oteri and Rupert Everett. He popped up in a lot and worked until an old age. RIP.

  4. The instant I saw his name, I immediately thought of The Guardian, which I hadn’t really watched back in the day, but I seemed to remember his name from the opening titles (and since confirmed), and I was pretty sure he played the father of Simon Baker’s character. As he was the second-billed cast member (and that The Guardian seemed to do pretty well for Ten during its run), I’m surprised that it didn’t even rate a mention. 92 is a good run though. RIP

  5. Played some great characters and the last time I saw him was in NCIS which was a reminder to me how some really big names make guest appearances on NCIS. Impressive body of work. RiP.

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