Actor Dabney Coleman, of ‘9 to 5’ and ’Tootsie,’ dies at 92 – NBC Connecticut

Dabney Coleman, the mustachioed character actor who specialised in smarmy villains just like the chauvinist boss in “9 to five” and the nasty TV director in “Tootsie,” has died. He was 92.

Coleman died Thursday, NBC Information confirmed.

“The nice Dabney Coleman actually created, or outlined, actually — in a uniquely singular means — an archetype as a personality actor. He was so good at what he did it’s exhausting to think about motion pictures and tv of the final 40 years with out him,” Ben Stiller wrote on X.

For twenty years Coleman labored in motion pictures and TV reveals as a gifted however largely unnoticed performer. That modified abruptly in 1976 when he was solid because the incorrigibly corrupt mayor of the hamlet of Fernwood in “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” a satirical cleaning soap opera that was so excessive no community would contact it.

Producer Norman Lear lastly managed to syndicate the present, which starred Louise Lasser within the title function. It shortly grew to become a cult favourite. Coleman’s character, Mayor Merle Jeeter, was particularly well-liked and his masterful, comedian deadpan supply didn’t go neglected by movie and community executives.

A six-footer with an ample black mustache, Coleman went on to make his mark in quite a few well-liked movies, together with as a stressed laptop scientist in “Warfare Video games,” Tom Hanks’ father in “You’ve Obtained Mail” and a fireplace combating official in “The Towering Inferno.”

He gained a Golden Globe for “The Slap Maxwell Story” and an Emmy Award for greatest supporting actor in Peter Levin’s 1987 small display screen authorized drama “Sworn to Silence.” A few of his latest credit embrace “Ray Donovan” and a recurring function on “Boardwalk Empire,” for which he gained two Display screen Actors Guild Awards.

Within the groundbreaking 1980 hit “9 to five,” he was the “sexist, egotistical, mendacity, hypocritical bigot” boss who tormented his unappreciated feminine underlings — Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton — till they turned the tables on him.

In 1981, he was Fonda’s caring, well-mannered boyfriend, who asks her father (performed by her real-life father, Henry Fonda) if he can sleep along with her throughout a go to to her mother and father’ trip dwelling in “On Golden Pond.”

Reverse Dustin Hoffman in “Tootsie,” he was the obnoxious director of a daytime cleaning soap opera that Hoffman’s character joins by pretending to be a girl. Amongst Coleman’s different movies had been “North Dallas Forty,” “Cloak and Dagger,” “Dragnet,” “Meet the Applegates,” “Inspector Gadget” and “Stuart Little.” He reunited with Hoffman as a land developer in Brad Silberling’s “Moonlight Mile” with Jake Gyllenhaal.

Coleman’s obnoxious characters did not translate fairly as effectively on tv, the place he starred in a handful of community comedies. Though some grew to become cult favorites, just one lasted longer than two seasons, and a few critics questioned whether or not a sequence starring a lead character with completely no redeeming qualities might entice a mass viewers.

“Buffalo Invoice” (1983-84) was an excellent instance. It starred Coleman as “Buffalo Invoice” Bittinger, the smarmy, smug, dimwitted daytime speak present host who, sad at being relegated to the small-time market of Buffalo, New York, takes it out on everybody round him. Though neatly written and that includes a advantageous ensemble solid, it lasted solely two seasons.

One other was 1987’s “The Slap Maxwell Story,” by which Coleman was a failed small-town sportswriter making an attempt to save lots of a faltering marriage whereas wooing a gorgeous younger reporter on the aspect.

Different failed makes an attempt to discover a mass TV viewers included “Apple Pie,” “Drexell’s Class” (by which he performed an inside dealer) and “Madman of the Individuals,” one other newspaper present by which he clashed this time along with his youthful boss, who was additionally his daughter.

He fared higher in a co-starring function in “The Guardian” (2001-2004), which had him enjoying the daddy of a crooked lawyer. And he loved the voice function as Principal Prickly on the Disney animated sequence “Recess” from 1997-2003.

Beneath all that bravura was a reserved man. Coleman insisted he was actually fairly shy. “I have been shy all my life. Possibly it stems from being the final of 4 youngsters, all of them very good-looking, together with a brother who was Tyrone Energy-handsome. Possibly it is as a result of my father died once I was 4,” he advised The Related Press in 1984. “I used to be extraordinarily small, just a bit man who was there, the child who created no hassle. I used to be drawn to fantasy, and I created video games for myself.”

As he aged, he additionally started to place his mark on pompous authority figures, notably in 1998’s “My Date With the President’s Daughter,” by which he was not solely an egotistical, self-absorbed president of america, but additionally a clueless father to an adolescent woman.

Dabney Coleman — his actual identify — was born in 1932 in Austin, Texas After two years on the Virginia Navy Academy, two on the College of Texas and two within the Military, he was a 26-year-old legislation scholar when he met one other Austin native, Zachry Scott, who starred in “Mildred Pierce” and different movies.

“He was essentially the most dynamic individual I’ve ever met. He satisfied me I ought to grow to be an actor, and I actually left the subsequent day to check in New York. He did not suppose that was too sensible, however I made my choice,” Coleman advised The AP in 1984.

Early credit included such TV reveals as “Ben Casey,” “Dr Kildare,” “The Outer Limits,” “Bonanza,” “The Mod Squad” and the movie “The Towering Inferno.” He appeared on Broadway in 1961 in “A Name on Kuprin.” He performed Kevin Costner’s father on “Yellowstone.”

Twice divorced, Coleman is survived by 4 youngsters, Meghan, Kelly, Randy and Quincy.


Mark Kennedy will be reached at