Monday, January 9, 2012

Robert Easton R.I.P.

Character actor and dialogue coach Robert Easton passed on 16 December 2011 at the age of 81.

Robert Easton was born on 23 November 1930 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Following his parents' divorce he moved with his mother to San Antonio, Texas. He was fourteen years old when he won a spot on the popular radio programme Quiz Kids. At age 18 he appeared in his first film, Undertow (1949). Mr. Easton appeared in movies throughout the Fifties, primarily playing hillbillies, hicks, or cowboys. Among the films he in which he appeared throughout the decade were Call Me Mister (1951), The Red Badge of Courage (1951), Belles on Their Toes (1952), Feudin' Fools (1952), The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), The High and Mighty (1954), The Kettles in the Ozarks (1956), and Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956). He also appeared frequently on television in the Fifties, including such shows as The Jack Benny Programme, Adventures of Superman, Racket Squad, My Little Marge, Gunsmoke, Father Knows Best, The Bob Cummings Show, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Wagon Train, Rawhide, and The Andy Griffith Show.

In 1961 he married Englishwoman Julie Grimstead and moved with her to England. There he studied phonetics at University College in London. As a result during his three years in London he not only picked up an English accent, but a number of European accents as well. In the Sixties he provided the voice for Lt. Sheridan on the Gerry Anderson marionette show Stingray. He appeared on several other shows throughout the decade including Wanted: Dead or Alive, The Real McCoys, The Saint, Burke's Law, Death Valley Days, The Munsters, The Beverly Hillbillies, Perry Mason, Lost in Space, Run for Your Life, My Mother the Car, Combat, Get Smart, The Doris Day Show, The Red Skelton Show, and The Mod Squad. He also appeared in the films Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961), Come Fly With Me (1963), The Loved One (1965), One of Our Spies is Missing (1966), and Paint Your Wagon (1969).

During the Seventies he appeared in such shows as Alias Smith and Jones, Kolchak the Night Stalker, and Fernwood Tonight. He appeared in such films as Johnny Got His Gun (1971), The Giant Spider Invasion (1975), Mr. Sycamore (1975), Pete's Dragon (1977), and When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder (1979). He provided voices for the animated film Heavy Traffic (1973). From the Eighties into the Naughts he appeared in such films as Tai-Pan (1986), Working Girl (1988), Seven Minutes (1989), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), Primary Colours (1998), and Gods and Generals (2003).

Starting with Havana Rose in 1951, Mr. Easton served as a dialect coach on several movies. Among the films on which he was a dialect coach were Khartoum (1966), The Molly Maguires (1970), Magic (1978), Scarface (1983), Flesh + Blood (1985), Good Will Hunting (1997), and The Last King of Scotland (2006).  He was also a dialect coach on the mini-series North and South.

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