Orson Bean


Actor

About

Also Known As
Dallas Frederick Burrows
Birth Place
Burlington, Vermont, USA
Born
July 22, 1928
Died
February 07, 2020

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" N...

Family & Companions

Jacqueline de Sibour
Wife
Actor. Married on July 2, 1956; divorced in 1962.
Carolyn Maxwell
Wife
Custom-order fashion designer. Married on October 3, 1965; divorced in 1979.
Alley Mills
Wife
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.

Bibliography

"25 Ways to Cook a Mouse: Whisker-Licking Recipes for Your Gourmet Cat"
Orson Bean, Carol Publishing Group (1993)
"Too Much is Not Enough"
Orson Bean, Carol Publishing Group (1988)
"Me and the Orgone: One Man's Sexual Revolution"
Orson Bean

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

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.

Life Events

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

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

1955

Feature debut, "How to Be Very, Very Popular"

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"

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"

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"

Family

George F Burrows
Father
Marian Ainsworth Burrows
Mother
Committed suicide c. 1944.
Michelle Bean
Daughter
From first marriage to Jacqueline de Sibour.
Max Bean
Son
Mother, Carolyn Maxwell.
Susannah Bean
Daughter
Illustrator. Mother, Carolyn Maxwell.
Ezekiel Bean
Son
Mother, Carolyn Maxwell.

Companions

Jacqueline de Sibour
Wife
Actor. Married on July 2, 1956; divorced in 1962.
Carolyn Maxwell
Wife
Custom-order fashion designer. Married on October 3, 1965; divorced in 1979.
Alley Mills
Wife
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.

Bibliography

"25 Ways to Cook a Mouse: Whisker-Licking Recipes for Your Gourmet Cat"
Orson Bean, Carol Publishing Group (1993)
"Too Much is Not Enough"
Orson Bean, Carol Publishing Group (1988)
"Me and the Orgone: One Man's Sexual Revolution"
Orson Bean

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