Saturday, November 4, 2017

Jack Bannon R.I.P.

Jack Bannon, best known for playing assistant city editor Art Donovan on the TV show Lou Grant, died on October 25 2017 at the age of 77.

Jack Bannon was born June 14 1940 in Los Angeles, California. His parents were both well-known actors. His father was Jim Bannon, perhaps best known for playing Jack Packard on the radio show I Love a Mystery and the character Red Ryder in movies. His mother was famous voice actress Bea Benaderet, who did a number of radio shows and Warner Bros. animated shorts, and would later star on the sitcom Petticoat Junction. His parents divorced when he was around five years old.

Mr. Bannon studied acting at the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated in 1963. That same year he made his television debut in an episode of Petticoat Junction, on which his mother starred. He would make several more guest appearances on the show (playing the recurring role of Roger Budd and later a different character every time). In the Sixties he also guest starred on such shows as The Beverly Hillbillies, Karen, Green Acres, Felony Squad, Judd for the Defence, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Andy Griffith Show, The Invaders, The Rat Patrol, Here's Lucy, Daniel Boone, Lassie, and Mannix. In 1967 he had a recurring role on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. He appeared in the films What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? (1969), The Phynx (1970), and Little Big Man (1970).

In the Seventies Jack Bannon was a regular voice on the Saturday morning cartoon Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle. It was in 1977 that he began playing Art Donovan on the TV series Lou Grant. He remained with the show until it went off the air in 1982. He guest starred on such shows as Night Gallery, Monte Nash, The Bob Crane Show, Kojak, Gemini Man, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Rockford Files, Quincy M.E., Charlie's Angels, Barney Miller, and Insight.

In the Eighties Mr. Bannon was a regular on the short-lived show Trauma Centre. He had a recurring role on Knot's Landing during the 1984-1985 season. He also had recurring roles on St. Elsewhere and the soap opera Santa Barbara. He guest starred on such shows as The Love Boat, Trapper John M.D., The Fall Guy, Simon & Simon, Remington Steele, Newhart, Matlock, Moonlighting, Designing Women, Hunter, Night Court, and Murder, She Wrote. He appeared in the film Death Warrant (1990).

In the Nineties Jack Bannon guest starred on such shows as MacGyver, Empty Nest, The Golden Girls, and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. He appeared in the films Da Vinci's War (1993), Distant Cousins (1993), Hard Vice (1994), To the Limit (1995), and The Basket (1999). In the Naughts and the Teens he appeared in Waitin' to Live (2006) and Without a Ladder (2013) .

He was a part of the company of the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for two decades.

Jack Bannon was very convincing as assistant city editor Art Donovan on Lou Grant, to the point that it was hard to believe he was merely an actor playing the role. And while the other characters on Lou Grant, including Lou himself could be very emotional, Art Donovan was always calm and attentive to the accuracy of what they did at the fictional Los Angeles Tribune. Over the years he made many guest appearances on TV shows, playing everything from medical doctors to police officers. In most all of those guest appearances he was as convincing as he was on Lou Grant. Jack Bannon was a fine actor with a good deal of talent.

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