Dabney Coleman, the bad boss of ‘9 to 5,’ dies at 92

Dabney Coleman, the beloved actor who played the vile corpse overseeing Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton on “9 to 5,” has died. He was 92 years old.

Coleman’s death was confirmed by his daughter Quincy Coleman, who said he died “peacefully and delightfully” at his home Thursday afternoon.

“My father built his time here on Earth with a curious mind, a generous heart and a soul aflame with passion, desire and humor that tickled the funny bone of humanity,” she said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter and TMZ. “Throughout his life, he went through this final act of his life with elegance, excellence and mastery.

“Teacher, hero and king, Dabney Coleman is a gift and blessing in life and in death as his spirit will shine through his work, his loved ones and his legacy…eternally.”

No cause of death was given.

The actor, who also starred in the TV series “The Guardian” and “Boardwalk Empire” and played John Dutton Sr. in “Yellowstone,” was nominated for six Emmy Awards. He won in 1987 for the TV movie “Sworn to Silence.” He also starred in the films “Tootsie,” “On Golden Pond,” “War Games,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and “Where the Heart Is.”

“I like to say funny things, not say funny things. It’s not enough to say that supposedly funny line that many sitcoms rely on. I don’t want to make jokes,” the actor told the Times in 1991 when he gained a reputation as the king of TV curmudgeons on the unconventional TV comedies “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” “Buffalo Bill” and “The Slap Maxwell History.”

“I lean toward nastiness,” said Coleman, who was in his 50s at the time. “I like it. It’s fun and it will never stop being fun because you can’t do that in your real life. At least you can’t get away with it.

Born January 3, 1932 in Austin, Texas, to Melvin Randolph Coleman and Mary Wharton, the actor was the youngest of four children and was raised by his mother after his father died of pneumonia when Coleman was 4 years old. . Corpus Christi.

With a background as eclectic as his characters, Coleman studied at the Virginia Military Institute and served in the U.S. Army in Europe in 1953 and, as an avid player, played for the tennis team of the American army for two years.

He continued his education at the University of Texas, where he studied law and met his first wife, Ann Harrell. Through her, he met actor Zachary Scott, who inspired him to drop out of school and pursue a career in acting, a career he admits he started “late in life.” Coleman and Harrell were married in 1957 and divorced in 1959.

Coleman and his second wife, Jean Hale, married in 1961. They traveled to Los Angeles where he began appearing regularly on television in shows such as “Naked City” and “The Outer Limits.”

In the 1970s, he landed notable roles in “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” and the feature films “Downhill Racer” and “The Towering Inferno.” But his comedy career took off in 1980 when he landed the role of “sexist, selfish, lying, hypocritical bigot” Franklin Hart Jr. in Colin Higgins’ radical feminist comedy, “9 to 5.” Coleman said he always had “more fun playing bad guys” and relished the “rottiness” of his chauvinistic character.

“Any amount of rottenness he wants to display is perfect for this character because he has no redeeming qualities,” he said in a 1980 interview. “He’s a bad person, but that’s what which is funny, but it’s also why anyone who takes this seriously and says, ‘Well, that’s not what all male bosses are like,’ is missing the point. “They didn’t realize what we were trying to do, which was try to make a funny film.”

Looking back on his role in the film, Coleman was struck by playing in the middle of “those three icons,” he said in Brian Beasley’s 2017 documentary “Not Such a Bad Guy: Conversations With Dabney Coleman.” .

He played similar roles in “Modern Problems” and “Tootsie” and took on more serious roles in “On Golden Pond” and “Cloak and Dagger.” On television, he also starred in the acclaimed but short-lived series “Buffalo Bill” in the early 1980s and won a Golden Globe for his role in the late 1980s comedy “The Slap Maxwell Story.”

Coleman told the Times that he took a role in the comedy series “Drexell’s Class” in 1991 to gain exposure, which he believed could lead to him playing significant roles in feature films. At the time, he wanted to work with filmmakers such as Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese. He got his wish in 2010 when he appeared in the first two seasons of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” produced by Scorsese. He played Commodore Louis Kaestner, a mentor to Steve Buscemi’s Enoch “Nucky” Thompson in the mob drama.

The actor also had a memorable guest role on Kevin Costner’s hit drama, “Yellowstone,” appearing in the season 2 finale as Costner’s father in the final moments of his life. The role was his last on-screen credit.

Former Times staff writer Patrick Kevin Day contributed to this report.

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News Source : www.latimes.com


With a penchant for words, Eleon Smith began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, Smith landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, Eleon also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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