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Overview for Orson Bean
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: Cast ... actor TV panelist director comedian
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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 "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.

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