Dabney Coleman Dead at 92

(RepublicanJournal.org) – Character actor Dabney Coleman has died at home in California. After starting out on Broadway over 60 years ago, he went on to play more than 60 roles in his long career. His acting credits include several major movies and TV shows.

Dabney Wharton Coleman was born in Austin, Texas, in January 1932. His father died when he was young, and he was raised by his mother. Educated at the Virginia Military Institute, he went on to major in business at the University of Texas in Austin.

In 1953, he was drafted into the US Army, where he served in Germany for two years as part of Special Services, the Army’s entertainment organization at the time. That seems to have given him a taste for acting, and after his military service, he enrolled at Sanford Meisner’s Neighborhood Playhouse to study as an actor in 1958. In 1961, he landed his first — and only — role on Broadway.

Coleman moved to Hollywood in 1962 and started to pick up minor roles on regular shows like “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.” In 1965 he had his first movie role, in “The Slender Thread” with Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft. It was a minor role, but it was enough to launch his career and over the next 10 years he found a steady stream of work; one of the highlights was the 1974 disaster movie “The Towering Inferno.”

His big break came in 1976 when he was cast as the obnoxious Merle Jeeter in the satirical soap opera “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.” He appeared in 148 episodes and gained a reputation as someone who could play unlikeable characters well. Coleman also credited the show as the origin of his trademark mustache, which he went on to wear in a series of villainous roles.

Dabney Coleman continued acting until 2019, 58 years after his first appearance on stage. His last role was in the hit Western Yellowstone. He died at home in Santa Monica, California on May 16.

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