Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Actor Henry Beckman Passes On

Canadian actor Henry Beckman passed on June 17, 2008. He starred in literally hundreds of hours of film, TV shows, and stage plays.

Henry Beckman was born November 21, 1921 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Before he turned 18 he lied about his age to enter the Canadian military in 1939. He was among the troops to go ashore during the Invasion of Normandy. Following World War II he ran the Dukes Oak Theatre in Cooperstown, New York and appeared in various stage plays. He made his Broadway debut in 1950 in the comedy The Golden State. He would appear twice more on Broadway, in the plays Darkness at Noon in 1951 and The Deep Blue Sea in 1953.

Beckman made his television debut in a guest shot on The Philco Television Playhouse in 1951. He made his first appearance on the big screen in Niagra in 1953 in an uncredited role as a motorcycle cop. Beckman was a regular on the Fifties Flash Gordon TV series, playing Commander Paul Richards. In the Fifties he made guest appearances on such shows as Decoy, Police Station, and Peter Gunn. He also appeared in the film So Lovely... So Deadly in 1957, in his first credited movie role.

It was in the Sixties that Beckman's career went into full swing. He played George Anderson on Peyton Place from 1964 to 1965. He was also a regular on the series Here Come the Brides later in the decade. He guest starred on such diverse shows as Have Gun Will Travel, Gunsmoke, Route 66, The Twilight Zone, My Living Doll (where he played Dr. Carl Miller, the man who developed the android Rhoda), Combat, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Perry Mason, The Monkees, The Wild Wild West, and Bonanza. He appeared in such films as Breakfast in Tiffany's (in an uncredited part), Kiss Me, Stupid, The Satan Bug, and Madigan.

Beckman's career continued unabated in the Seventies. He guest starred on such shows as Night Gallery, Love, American Style, The Sixth Sense, Columbo, Ironside, Happy Days, and Welcome Back, Kotter. He appeard in the movies Between Friends, Devil Times Five, and The Brood. From the Eighties into the Nineties Beckman guest starred on such shows as Quincy, Matt Houston, Fame, Ray Bradbury Theatre, The Commish, and The X-Files. He appeared in the films Death Hunt, Family Reunion, and I Love You to Death.

Beckman had also wrote scripts and was a member of the Writers Guild of America. He wrote the book How to Sell your Film Project.

Henry Beckman was a prolific and versatile actor whose name is probably not recognised by many people, but whose face is probably instantly recognisable to everyone due to his many television and film roles. He was capable of playing a wide array of parts, from a hard edged prosecutor on The Monkees to a laudanum addict on Gunsmoke. And he performed in all of these parts equally well. He was last of a dying breed, a great character actor who largely made his living through many guest shots on television.

1 comment:

Toby O'B said...

What's surprised me with his passing is how hard it is to find many pictures of him on the Internet. I've found only a few and really tiny at that.

I'd think that just from 'Here Come The Brides' and his guest turn on 'The X-Files' there'd be some shots.

The great site "What A Character" only has a thumbnail!