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|July 12, 2020|
Character actor Orson Bean killed on Venice street
VENICE, CA - Orson Bean, the prolific character actor known for his work in “Being John Malkovich,” “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” and a host of TV shows, died Friday after being hit by twice by cars while walking in Los Angeles. He was 91.
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office told the Associated Press that Bean’s death was under investigation as a traffic-related fatality. The industry veteran was walking in the Venice area on Friday night when he was hit by a car and fell, after which he was hit by a second car, according to the AP. Bean’s survivors include his wife, actor Alley Mills, who he married in 1993.
Bean was a co-founder of the non-profit actors collective Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice, where he also lived. Bean’s official bio on the theater’s website concludes with the observation: “He is one lucky son of a bitch.”
Bean was well-liked in the industry as a raconteur and versatile performer who was as comfortable on a game show set as he was in an arthouse movie such as Spike Jonze’s 1999 absurdist fantasy “Being John Malkovich,” in which he played Dr. Lester, the mastermind of a plot to prolong his life by inhabiting the body of the titular star.
Bean was a regular as the curmudgeonly shopkeeper Loren Bray on the CBS drama “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” which ran from 1993 to 1998. He was a semi regular on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” and Fox’s short-lived “Normal, Ohio,” among many other guest shots. In the 1970s he was a favorite on game shows such as “To Tell the Truth,” “Match Game” and “Super Password.”
Known for his quick wit, Bean made more than 200 appearances on “The Tonight Show” during the Johnny Carson era — including more than 100 stints as guest host — and more than 60 sit-downs on “The Merv Griffin Show.”
A native of Burlington, Vermont, Bean’s father was a co-founder of the ACLU. Bean’s biography on Pacific Resident Theatre states that he is a second cousin to President Calvin Coolidge, Variety.com reported.
Story Date: February 16, 2020