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Prolific supporting actor Richard Fancy enjoyed the consistent work â¿¿ if not the immediate name recognition afforded to character actors â¿¿ over the course of a three-decade career that encompassed frequent appearances on "General Hospital" (ABC, 1963- ), "Itâ¿¿s Garry Shandlingâ¿¿s Show" (Showtime, 1986-1990), "Seinfeld" (NBC, 1989-1998) and "Boston Legal" (ABC, 2004-08). Though frequently cast as men of authority â¿¿ doctors, lawyers, business figures â¿¿ in dramas, Fancy was also adept at comedy, as his appearances on "Shandling" and "Seinfeld" clearly indicated. Between television assignments and small roles in features like "Nixon (1995) and "Being John Malkovich" (1999), Fancy was a frequent stage performer on both coasts, as well as a familiar face from numerous television ad campaigns and several short films. Though rarely singled out by media critics, Richard Fancyâ¿¿s vast list of credits, including numerous recurring turns on major series, underscored his status as one of Hollywoodâ¿¿s most prolific supporting players.
Born August 2, 1943 in Evanston, Illinois, Richard Fancy was introduced to the performerâ¿¿s life by his mother, a radio actress. He would gain his first experiences on stage as a high schooler, which would in turn inspire his own interest in becoming an actor. Fancyâ¿¿s career would begin in the 1970s on the stage, to which he would return numerous times over the ensuing decades. After making his Broadway debut as an understudy in "The Crucifer of Blood," Fancy debuted on-screen with a prominent role as Massachusetts governor and Founding Father Samuel Adams in the miniseries "George Washington" (CBS, 1984). Steady work in guest turns on episodic series soon followed, as well as a return to Broadway in a 1985 Twyla Tharp-directed production of "Singinâ¿¿ in the Rain." Fancyâ¿¿s first feature film appearance came with a minor role in Blake Edwardsâ¿¿ "Sunset" (1988), which was soon followed by a recurring turn as network boss Mr. Stravely on the meta-comedy "Itâ¿¿s Garry Shandlingâ¿¿s Show." It would be the first of many multiple engagements on a wide variety of series, from high school principal Dr. Valenti on "The Wonder Years" (ABC, 1988-1993), to recurring characters on several Stephen Bochco series, including "Doogie Howser, M.D." (ABC, 1989-1993) and "L.A. Law" (NBC, 1986-1994). Television, including several appearances in major commercials, formed the backbone of Fancyâ¿¿s screen career for much of the 1980s and â¿¿90s, though there were also occasional returns to feature films, most notably as Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird in Oliver Stoneâ¿¿s "Nixon" (1995).
In the 1990s, Fancy enjoyed two high-profiled and lengthy recurring television roles: from 1997 to 2003, he played financier Benny Abrahms on the daytime soap opera "General Hospital," and then returned to the show in typical soap fashion as the characterâ¿¿s twin brother, Bernie, from 2006 to 2012 before his demise in a shootout. He also appeared in eleven episodes of "Seinfeld," included the famed finale, as Mr. Lippman, the officious, double-dealing publishing house boss to Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) between 1991 and 1998. He also bounced more frequently between features and television during this period, moving from episodic TV to supporting turns in "Being John Malkovich," "Moonlight Mile" (2002) and "The Girl Next Door" (2004). His status as a favored recurring player remained untouched, as evidenced by multiple appearances on "Carnivale" (HBO, 2003-2005) and "The District" (CBS, 2000-2004). In 2005, he enjoyed a memorable turn as a morally compromised priest on two episodes of "Boston Legal," and he remained a go-to guest star on major series ranging from "The Closer" (TNT, 2005-2012) and "Men of a Certain Age" (TNT, 2009-2011) to "Mad Men" (AMC, 2007- ) as an executive at Manischewitz Wines who is unsuccessfully wooed by Roger Sterling (John Slattery).
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