Remembering the Legendary Villain Actor Dabney Coleman, Who Passed Away at 92

Dabney Coleman, the award-winning actor known for his iconic villainous roles, has passed away at the age of 92. The news was announced by his daughter, Quincy Coleman, who revealed that he died peacefully at his home in Santa Monica.

For over two decades, Coleman worked as a character actor with little recognition until he starred in the satirical soap opera, “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” in 1976. He played the role of the corrupt mayor, Merle Jeeter, which quickly became a cult favorite. His comedic performance drew the attention of film and network executives, leading to a successful career in popular films such as “9 to 5,” “Tootsie,” “War Games,” and “You’ve Got Mail.”

Coleman won numerous awards for his outstanding performances, including a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award. He also had recent credits in popular TV shows like “Ray Donovan” and “Boardwalk Empire,” which earned him two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

In “9 to 5,” Coleman played the sexist boss who tormented his underappreciated female employees, played by Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton, until they turn the tables on him. In “Tootsie,” he played the obnoxious director of a daytime soap opera that Dustin Hoffman’s character joins by pretending to be a woman.

Despite his success on the big screen, Coleman struggled to find mass appeal on television. Although some of his network comedies gained cult followings, only one lasted longer than two seasons. “Buffalo Bill,” which starred Coleman as a smarmy talk show host, and “The Slap Maxwell Story,” were two of his most notable television performances.

However, Coleman found success in his co-starring role in “The Guardian,” which had him playing the father of a crooked lawyer. He also enjoyed voicing Principal Prickly on the Disney animated series “Recess” from 1997-2003.

Coleman was born in Austin, Texas, in 1932, and his real name was Dabney Wharton Coleman. After attending the Virginia Military Academy and the University of Texas, he served in the army before becoming a law student. It was not until he met Zachry Scott, a fellow Austinite and actor, that he decided to pursue an acting career. His early credits include appearances on TV shows like “Ben Casey,” “Dr. Kildare,” “The Outer Limits,” and “Bonanza,” as well as the film “The Towering Inferno.” He also appeared on Broadway in 1961 in “A Call on Kuprin.”

Coleman’s legacy will live on through his children, Meghan, Kelly, Randy, and Quincy, as well as his grandchildren, Hale and Gabe Torrance, Luie Freundl, and Kai and Coleman Biancaniello.

In a statement honoring her father, Quincy Coleman wrote, “My father crafted his time here on earth with a curious mind, a generous heart, and a soul on fire with passion, desire and humor that tickled the funny bone of humanity.”


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