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'9 to 5', 'Mary Hartman', 'Tootsie' Actor Was 92

'9 to 5', 'Mary Hartman', 'Tootsie' Actor Was 92


Dabney Coleman, the popular comic actor from 9 to 5, Tootsie And Marie Hartman, Marie Hartman whose many redeeming qualities, including a talent for portraying characters who had none, died. He was 92 years old.

Coleman died Thursday at his home in Santa Monica, said his daughter, singer Quincy Coleman. The Hollywood Reporter.

“My father built his time here on Earth with a curious mind, a generous heart and a soul aflame with passion, desire and humor that tickled the funny bone of humanity,” she said. “Throughout his life, he went through this final act of his life with elegance, excellence and mastery.

“Teacher, hero and king, Dabney Coleman is a gift and blessing in life and in death as his spirit will shine through his work, his loved ones and his legacy…eternally.”

The Emmy-winning actor also played an irascible talk show host in upstate New York on NBC. Buffalo Billbut this critical favorite only lasted 26 episodes.

He's had at least three other chances to headline his own sitcom, but ABC's The Slap Maxwell Storythat of the Fox Drexell's class and NBC Crazy about the people never made it through its first few seasons before being canceled.

Most recently, the good-natured Coleman brought his iconic mustache to play Burton Fallin, law firm owner and father of Simon Baker's character, on the CBS drama series. The Guardian; was Atlantic City power broker Commodore Louis Kaestner on HBO. Boardwalk Empire; and played John Dutton Sr. (the father of Kevin Costner's character) in Yellow stone.

Audiences got a taste of the Texan's temperamental charms in 1976 when Coleman appeared as the fiery Fernwood, Ohio, mayor Merle Jeeter in Norman Lear's late-night satire serial, Marie Hartman, Marie Hartman.

In a 2012 interview with The AV ClubColeman called the gig, which was supposed to last only six episodes, “a turning point in my career” and “probably the best thing I've ever done.”

Jeeter “was just wonderful, just a once-in-a-lifetime character,” he said. “He was just the worst human being. … That's kind of where it all started, in terms of people's belief that I could do comedy, especially this negative, caustic, cynical kind of guy. I was pretty good at doing that.

Coleman proved it again as chauvinistic, traitorous boss Franklin Hart Jr. in the workplace comedy 9 to 5, the 1980 cinematic model of women's liberation starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and, in her first film, Dolly Parton. (For being such a rotten guy, Hart ends up getting tied up by his secretary, Parton's Doralee Rhodes.)

“They were all well established,” he said of his co-stars, “and here's this guy coming out of Mary Hartman, which isn't too bad. (Laughs.) But it was late night TV. Anyway, what I'm referring to is that all three of them did their best to make me feel equal. There's no other way to say it.

Dabney Coleman and Dolly Parton in 1980's “9 to 5.”

0th Century Fox Film Corp./Courtesy Everett Collection

In Tootsie (1982), directed by his longtime friend and mentor Sydney Pollack, Coleman plays the sexist television director who dates an actress (Jessica Lange) in his soap opera, General southwest.

Years earlier, Pollack had been his teacher at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, and Coleman's first three films were also Pollack's first as a director.

Coleman also played the aptly named televangelist Marvin Fleece in the satire Pray for TV (1980), the systems engineer overseeing the WOPR military mainframe in John Badham's project. War games (1983) and the miserly banker Milburn Drysdale in the 1993 film version of The Beverly Hillbillies.

Asked by Vulture in 2010, while he was proud to have helped make television “safe for jerky main characters”, he replied: “It’s fun to play these roles. You can do extravagant things, things that you probably want to do in real life, but you don't do it because you're a civilized human being. There are no restrictions when playing [jerks] – I couldn't imagine anyone not enjoying playing these roles.

Dabney Wharton Coleman was born January 3, 1932, in Austin, the youngest of four children. After his father died of pneumonia when he was 4, his mother raised the family in Corpus Christi, and Coleman became a nationally ranked junior tennis player.

He attended the Virginia Military Institute (many of his family members did) for two years, served in the U.S. Army Special Services Division for two more years, and then, returning to Austin, studied law at the University of Texas.

Mildred Pierce Actor Zachary Scott, a family friend of Coleman's first wife, Ann Harrell, convinced him that he could become an actor. So he left college a semester before graduation and headed to Manhattan and Sanford Meisner's Neighborhood Playhouse at age 26.

Coleman's first on-screen appearance was in a 1961 episode. Naked city – he earned $90 for it – and he and his second wife, actress Jean Hale (The Mad Hatter Goes for Moll on Batman), moved to Los Angeles in 1962.

Coleman has appeared on shows such as Ben Casey, Dr Kildare, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The outer limits, Hazelnut, I dream of Jeannie And The fugitive before returning as Marlo Thomas' neighbor, obstetrician Leon Bessemer, in the first season (1966-67) of This girl.

He auditioned for Gilligan's Island but lost the role of the professor to Russell Johnson.

In 1963, Coleman appeared in an episode of the ABC hospital drama series. Breaking point that Pollack directed, and the two would reunite for the films The thin wire (1965), This property is condemned (1966) — although its scenes were cut — and The scalp hunters (1968).

“The idea at that time, when I left school, was to say, 'I want to be in every movie you make,'” Coleman recalls. “He said ‘OK’ and we got off to a pretty good start.”

In Cinderella Liberty (1973), he worked with another former Neighborhood Playhouse comrade, James Caan, in the role of its commanding officer.

Around this time, blue-eyed Coleman decided to grow a mustache, which he says changed his career. “Without the mustache, I looked too much like Richard Nixon,” he said. Vulture. “There’s no doubt that when I got older, all of a sudden everything changed.”

The producers told him they would give him the role of Jeeter if he shaved his mustache, but he refused – and they hired him anyway. He played the mayor in 148 episodes of Mary Hartman as well as spin-offs Fernwood tonight And Everlasting Fernwood.

On the Disney animated series Break and its spinoff, Coleman provided the squeaky voice of principal Peter Prickly.

Working alongside Fonda on 9 to 5 led her to one of her rare non-boorish roles – that of her dentist boyfriend in On the golden pond (nineteen eighty one).

As a leading man, Coleman was hilarious in Short time (1990), in which he plays a terminally ill police officer who learns that his daughter can only collect his pension if he is killed in the line of duty. His mad determination to get caught, combined with his dismay at consistently receiving praise for his “bravery”, was memorable.

Coleman also portrayed an over-the-top eccentric in How to Beat the High Cost of Living (1980), a lisping pornographer Flirting (1987) and a slimy drag queen in Meet the Applegates (1990).

His many credits include the films The problem with girls (1969), Downhill runner (1969), The imposing hell (1974), North Dallas Forty (1979), Melvin and Howard (1980), Modern problems (nineteen eighty one), Young doctors in love (1982), Cloak and dagger (1984), The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), The man with the red shoe (1985), This is the neighborhood (1992), Amos and Andrew (1993), Clifford (1994), Devil's Food (1996), You've got mail (1998), Inspector Gadget (1999), Stuart Little (1999), A thousand by moonlight (2002), Domino (2005) and Rules don't apply (2016).

Coleman won a supporting actor Emmy in 1987 for his work on the ABC television movie. Sworn to silence and was nominated twice for playing Buffalo Bill Bittinger and once for his turn as old-school sportswriter Slap Maxwell.

When he wasn't working, Coleman could invariably be found at Dan Tana's in West Hollywood, where a big New York steak is named after him. “I guess it comes from the fact that I ordered the damn thing five times a week for about 15 years,” he said in his statement. AV Club cat.

Besides Quincy, survivors include his other children, Randy, Kelly and Meghan, and his grandchildren, Hale, Gabe, Luie, Kai and Coleman.

Duane Byrge contributed to this report.




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