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|Also Known As:||William Leroy Prince||Died:||October 8, 1996|
|Born:||January 26, 1913||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Nichols, New York, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor|
Prince was a forthright stage actor with a fine string of Broadway credits who never found a niche in 1940s Hollywood but worked in TV for decades and in his senior years had kept busy in features. He made it to Broadway in the 30s and soon joined actor-impresario Maurice Evans' company for well-received versions of "Henry IV", "Richard II" and an unabridged "Hamlet". Tall and hearty-looking, he made it to leading roles in the early 40s with "Guest in the House" and Maxwell Anderson's "The Eve of St. Mark". Prince's success in the latter led to a Hollywood contract at Warner Bros., where he debuted in the war adventure "Destination Tokyo" (1943). He then played romantic leads in films toplining established names, as with the comedy "Pillow to Post" (1945), starring Ida Lupino. Prince soon found himself in a modest featured role in the noir "Dead Reckoning" (1947), though, but was part of the memorable crew of the superior war film, "Objective Burma" (1945).
Prince returned to Broadway for the hit comedy "John Loves Mary" and in 1950 did "As You Like It" opposite Katharine Hepburn. His occasional film roles were still bland, as with "Cyrano de Bergerac" (1950), as the handsome but dull lover who has his ugly friend write love letters for him. A prolific TV career included roles as the hapless Mortimer in a 1949 "Arsenic and Old Lace" and an upright small-town journalist in a 1954 "The Man Who Came to Dinner". Prince also co-starred with Gary Merrill in one of TV's first mystery programs, "The Mask" (1954). Feature work, apart from the campy William Castle favorite, "Macabre" (1958), ended in the late 50s. Broadway continued to be his most creative outlet in the 50s and 60s, with Prince relished roles as writer Christopher Isherwood in "I Am a Camera" (1952), opposite Julie Harris, and in Edward Albee's "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe" (1963).
Work on TV soaps ("Another World", "Where the Heart Is", "A World Apart") and in the title role of the popular medical drama "Young Dr. Malone" (1958-63) kept Prince busy if unchallenged in the 60s and 70s. TV-movies and miniseries ("Key West" 1973, "Aspen" 1977, "George Washington" 1984, "Chain Letter" 1989) had subsequently featured the seasoned actor in small roles as authority figures. After a 12-year absence Prince returned to features with "Sacco and Vanzetti" (1970), and while the films and his roles had varied in size and quality, several had been more colorful than the ordinary consorts he once played. His many credits included "Network" (1976), "The Soldier" (1982, as the President), "Nuts" (1987) and "The Paper" (1994, as Michael Keaton's father). A fat part and especially fine work came as the crooked police commissioner who assigns Clint Eastwood a suicide mission in "The Gauntlet" (1977). And, as has always been the case, Prince found his most vivid outlets on the stage, reteaming with Albee for "The Man Who Had Three Arms" (1983).
Prince's second wife, since 1964, was actress Augusta Dabney, who played opposite him on "Young Dr. Malone", kept busy on soaps including "General Hospital" and "Loving", and played Prince's wife in "The Paper" and the TV-movie "The Portrait" (1993).
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