Saturday, June 9, 2007

Andre Philippe R.I.P.

Character actor Andre Philippe, who guest starred in TV shows from Bonanza to Magnum P.I., passed on April 29 from a heart attack.

Philippe was born Everett Cooper in the Bronx. He served in World War II. After the war he went to Paris where he adopted the stage name "Andre Philippe" as a singer. His singing career led to an appearance on Surfside Six in 1961. Philippe was a semi-regular on Hawaiian Eye, appearing as the Emcee or Paul (the Emcee's given name). Afterwards he made guest appearances on several shows, including two on Bonanza (one was particularly memorable), The Gallant Men, Combat, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Monkees, The Virginian, The Wild Wild West, Get Smart, and Magnum P.I.. He also appeared in the unsold pilot I Love a Mystery (based on the old radio show of the same name). Philippe appeared in movies as well, including Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Alex in Wonderland, Invasion of the Bee Girls, Black Belt Jones, and Scenes From a Mall. Although he was born in New York, Philippe often played Frenchmen.

I've always thought that Andre Philippe was a very talented actor. Indeed, I remember one of his two appearances on Bonanza in the episode "The Frenchman." Philippe played a young Frenchman who believed himself to be the reincarnation of the poet Francois Villon. Philippe was absolutely hilarious in the role, particularly when "Francois" jumps to the conclusion that Ben Cartwright must have killed his wives and writes a poem celebrating him as a modern day Bluebeard! To me it is a real shame that Philippe never received his own TV show, as he would have been an ideal comedic lead. At any rate, he will certainly be missed.

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