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Orson Bean

Orson Bean

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Also Known As: Dallas Frederick Burrows Died:
Born: July 22, 1928 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Burlington, Vermont, USA Profession: actor, TV panelist, director, comedian

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Instantly recognizable by his crewcut, Ivy League manner and dryly rendered New England accent, the wickedly funny Orson Bean was a fixture of early TV as a panelist ("I've Got a Secret" and later "To Tell the Truth", both CBS), raconteur ("The Tonight Show" NBC, with both Jack Paar and Johnny Carson) and actor ("Playhouse 90", "Studio One", both CBS; and "The Kraft Television Theater" NBC). After a troubled childhood that included his mother's suicide when he was 16, he made his show business debut as a stand-up comic in NYC but was soon making inroads in his first love, theater, appearing in the musical revue "John Murray Anderson's Almanac" and later acting in such Broadway productions as "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" (1955), "Mr. Roberts" (1956) "Nature's Way" (1957) and the musical "Subways Are For Sleeping" (1961). Bean's feature film credits are few, the highlights being turns as Dr. Smith in Otto Preminger's "Anatomy of a Murder" (1959) and Lydia's editor in "Innerspace" (1987). He seemingly vanished during much of the 70s and 80s when by his own account he dropped out, moved to Australia and experimented with everything from group sex to dropping acid. He popped up as a regular on...

Instantly recognizable by his crewcut, Ivy League manner and dryly rendered New England accent, the wickedly funny Orson Bean was a fixture of early TV as a panelist ("I've Got a Secret" and later "To Tell the Truth", both CBS), raconteur ("The Tonight Show" NBC, with both Jack Paar and Johnny Carson) and actor ("Playhouse 90", "Studio One", both CBS; and "The Kraft Television Theater" NBC). After a troubled childhood that included his mother's suicide when he was 16, he made his show business debut as a stand-up comic in NYC but was soon making inroads in his first love, theater, appearing in the musical revue "John Murray Anderson's Almanac" and later acting in such Broadway productions as "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" (1955), "Mr. Roberts" (1956) "Nature's Way" (1957) and the musical "Subways Are For Sleeping" (1961).

Bean's feature film credits are few, the highlights being turns as Dr. Smith in Otto Preminger's "Anatomy of a Murder" (1959) and Lydia's editor in "Innerspace" (1987). He seemingly vanished during much of the 70s and 80s when by his own account he dropped out, moved to Australia and experimented with everything from group sex to dropping acid. He popped up as a regular on "Fernwood Tonight" (syndicated, 1997), the successor to "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" and provided the voice of Bilbo Baggins for the NBC animated special "The Hobbit" (1977). In 1993, he captured the plum role of frontier storekeeper Loren Bray in the popular CBS Western series "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman", remaining with the show for its entire five-year run. Bean's first love remains the theater, and he and his third wife Alley Mills are partners in the L.A. Drama Critics Award-winning Pacific Resident Theatre Ensemble of Venice, CA.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Hating Breitbart (2012)
3.
 Alien Autopsy (2006)
5.
 Knee High P.I. (2003) Mcintyre
6.
7.
 Being John Malkovich (1999) Doctor Lester
8.
9.
 UnBowed (1998)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Parkinsville, Vermont followed by stint in Cambridge, Massachusetts
:
Left home at age 16 after his mother's suicide
:
Made show business debut as stand-up comic in NYC
1952:
Was a panelist on CBS' "I've Got a Secret"
1953:
New York stage debut, "Men of Distinction"
1954:
Hosted clever variety show, "The Blue Angel" (CBS), a summer replacement for "See It Now"
1955:
Feature debut, "How to Be Very, Very Popular"
1955:
Starred on Broadway in "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?"
1955:
Acted in star-studded "The Best of Broadway" (CBS) presentation of "Arsenic and Old Lace", with Helen Hayes, Billie Burke, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Edward Everet Horton; played Mortimer Brewster
1956:
Returned to Broadway as Ensign Pulver in "Mr Roberts"
1957:
Appeared in "Playhouse 90" production of "Charley's Aunt"
1959:
Played Dr Smith in "Anatomy of a Murder"
1959:
Regular on Merv Griffin-hosted version of "Keep Talking" (ABC)
1960:
Acted title role of "Mr Bevis", an eccentric young man loved by everyone and watched over by a guardian angel in a celebrated episode of "The Twilight Zone" (CBS)
1962:
Received Tony nomination as Best Supporting or Featured Actor in a Musical for "Subways Are for Sleeping"
:
Was a regular panelist on "To Tell the Truth" (CBS)
:
Appeared as panelist on the syndicated revival of "To Tell the Truth"
:
Portrayed Reverend Brim in last season of the syndicated soap spoof "Forever Fernwood", a revamp of "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"
1978:
Received Grammy nomination (with John Huston and Hans Conreid), best recording for children, for NBC's animated special "The Hobbit"; Bean was the voice of Bilbo Baggins
1984:
Provided the voice of Billy Rabbit for CBS animated special "Garfield in the Rough"
1987:
Played Lydia's editor in "Innerspace"
:
Had regular role of the folksy frontier storekeeper Loren Bray in "Dr Quinn: Medicine Woman" (CBS)
1997:
Directed a Pacific Resident Theatre Ensemble production of "The Quick-Change Room" at the Intar Theater (NYC's Theater Row); starred wife Alley Mills
1998:
Wrapped "Unbowed", acting in this project funded, in part, by a California state grant, under a provision of the Federal Job Training Partnership Act; Filmanthropic production company founded to provide on-the-job training to Hollywood's minorities, women, disabled and over-40 community
1999:
Co-starred in "Being John Malkovich"
2000:
Returned to series TV as co-star of "Normal, Ohio", a fall Fox sitcom starring John Goodman
2001:
Played Ben Franklin in the L.A. Reprise! production of "1776"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School: Cambridge , Massachusetts -

Notes

Bean has starred in Pacific Resident Theatre Ensemble productions of such plays as "The Playboy of the Western World" and "A Christmas Carol", which he adapted for the stage.

"The TV show I do ['Dr Quinn'] is the day job that enables me to work with this theater [Pacific Resident Theatre Ensemble]. That's all I live for. That's what I care about. There's no dough in it. Nothing to do but lose money. But it's all from the heart, and that's why it's so much fun." --Orson Bean, to THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE, October 23, 1997

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Jacqueline de Sibour. Actor. Married on July 2, 1956; divorced in 1962.
wife:
Carolyn Maxwell. Custom-order fashion designer. Married on October 3, 1965; divorced in 1979.
wife:
Alley Mills. Actor. Married on April 18, 1993; played the strikingly blonde mom on "The Wonder Years"; she and Bean are partners in the Pacific Resident Theatre Ensemble of Venice, California.

Family close complete family listing

father:
George F Burrows.
mother:
Marian Ainsworth Burrows. Committed suicide c. 1944.
daughter:
Michelle Bean. From first marriage to Jacqueline de Sibour.
son:
Max Bean. Mother, Carolyn Maxwell.
daughter:
Susannah Bean. Illustrator. Mother, Carolyn Maxwell.
son:
Ezekiel Bean. Mother, Carolyn Maxwell.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Me and the Orgone: One Man's Sexual Revolution"
"Too Much is Not Enough" Carol Publishing Group
"25 Ways to Cook a Mouse: Whisker-Licking Recipes for Your Gourmet Cat" Carol Publishing Group

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