Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Larry Drake R.I.P.

Larry Drake, perhaps best known for playing the developmentally challenged character  Benny Stulwicz on L. A. Law and the villainous Robert G. Durant in the movie Darkman died on March 17 2016 at the age of 67. A cause of death has not been reported, although he was known to have issues with his health.

Larry Drake was born on February 21 1949 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Oklahoma. For a time he performed in dinner theatre in the South and Texas before moving to Los Angles in the late Seventies.

Larry Drake made his film debut in This Stuff'll Kill Ya! in 1971. In the Seventies he appeared in such films as Trucker's Woman (1975), Date with a Kidnapper (1976), The Electric Chair (1976), The Seniors (1978), and Battle Creek Brawl (1980).

He made his television debut in a production of Skin of Our Teeth on an edition of American Playhouse. In the Eighties he guest starred on the TV shows Hardcastle and McCormick, Code of Vengeance, and Hunter before being cast as Benny Stulwicz on L. A. Law. He appeared on the show from 1987 until the end of its run in 1994. He also guest starred on Werewolf and Tales from the Crypt. It was in 1990 that he appeared as mobster Robert Durant in the movie Darkman. He also appeared in the films The White Lions (1981), The Karate Kid (1984), The Ladies Club (1986), and For Keeps? (1988).

In the Nineties Larry Drake appeared in the films Dr. Giggles (1992), Blind Geronimo and His Brother (1992), The Journey of August King (1995), Bean (1997), Overnight Delivery (1998), Paranoia (1998), The Treat (1998), Inferno (1999), Durango Kids (1999), and Timequest (2000). He reprised his role as Robert Durant in Darkman II: The Return of Durant (1995). On television he starred in the show Prey. He guest starred on The Outer Limits, The Naked Truth, Dead Man's Gun, Spy Game, Fantasy Island, and Star Trek: Voyager. He provided guest voices on the animated TV shows The Legend of Prince Valiant, Superman, and Batman Beyond.

In the Naughts Mr. Drake guest starred on such TV shows as Thieves, Six Feet Under, A Nero Wolfe Mystery, Firefly, Crossing Jordan, 7th Heaven, and Boston Legal. He was the voice of Pops on the animated series Johnny Bravo. He provided guest voices on the animated shows Justice League and What's New, Scooby Doo?. He reprised his role as Benny on the TV reunion movie L.A. Law: The Movie. He appeared in the films Dark Asylum (2001), Jenny Says (2005), I Will Avenge You, Iago! (2005), Living the Dream (2006), Love Hollywood Style (2006), Attack of the Gryphon (2007), and Dead Air (2009). His last work was the voice of Kazdan Paratus in the video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Ultimate Sith Edition in 2009.

In later years he taught acting. 

Larry Drake was an extremely talented actor. When he was playing Benny on L. A. Law there were many in the general public who were convinced that he was actually developmentally challenged. His performance in the role was simply that convincing. What is more, he could play a wide variety of roles. Ruthless mobseter Robert Durant in Darkman may be his second best known role and it is as far from the gentle Benny as one can get. Over the years Mr. Drake played everything from scientists to priests to rednecks to J. Edgar Hoover, and he did all of them well.

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