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Actor Richard Dysart of TV's 'L.A. Law' dies at 86

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/10/2015 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Avuncular actor appeared in scores of movie and TV roles

Anyone who watched films and TV could not escape the avuncular glow of actor Richard Dysart. While he played scores of roles on both the big and small screen, Dysart was best known as the cranky senior partner Leland McKenzie on the NBC drama "L.A. Law." Dysart has passed away at the age of 86 following a brief illness.

Richard Dysart commented on his lengthy success with the 'L.A. Law' in a 1990 interview. 'Sometimes I worry - it's all been going too well - a role I love to play in a series that's about as good as you can get. Something's wrong!'

Richard Dysart commented on his lengthy success with the "L.A. Law" in a 1990 interview. "Sometimes I worry - it's all been going too well - a role I love to play in a series that's about as good as you can get. Something's wrong!"

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
4/10/2015 (4 years ago)

Published in Celebrity

Keywords: Richard Dysart, actor, 'L.A. Law, ' lengthy career


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "L.A. Law" aired for eight seasons from 1986 to 1994. Playing the founder of the firm McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak, Dysart was nominated for the Emmy for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for four straight years, finally winning the trophy in 1992.

An actor's life is fraught with failure and long spaces in between roles. Dysart commented on his lengthy success with the "L.A. Law" in a 1990 interview. "Sometimes I worry - it's all been going too well - a role I love to play in a series that's about as good as you can get. Something's wrong!"

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Dysart was often a go-to actor in terms of playing authority figures. He played Harry Truman in the CBS telefilm "Day One" and in the ABC miniseries "War and Remembrance," both of which aired in 1989, and he was Henry L. Stimson, the 33rd U.S. president's Secretary of War, in the 1995 HBO telefilm "Truman," starring Gary Sinise. HE also played the Secretary of Defense in "Meteor" (1979).

Dysart also frequently played medical figures in TV and movies. His two most memorable came in classic satires: in Paddy Chayefsky's scathing "The Hospital" (1971), starring George C. Scott (a good friend), and in "Being There" (1979), as Melvyn Douglas' doctor.

He also was a doctor who died a gruesome death in John Carpenter's "The Thing" (1982) and a physician in such films as "The Terminal Man" (1974), "The Falcon and the Snowman" (1985) and "Warning Sign" (1985).

Dysart was born March 30, 1929, in Boston and raised in Maine. Following high school, he attended the Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine, served in the U.S. Air Force and attended Emerson College, where he graduated with a master's degree in speech communications.

The clarion call of acting beckoned, and in the mid-1960s, he joined the American Conservatory Theater and toured the country doing plays, then landed roles on Broadway in "All in Good Time," "The Little Foxes" and "A Place Without Doors."

He is survived by his wife, stepson Arie and daughter-in-law Jeannine Jacobi, mother-in-law Lenore, brother and sister-in-law Nadine and John Jacobi and grandchildren Abby and Levi.

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