Actor Dabney Coleman Dies at 92

Actor Dabney Coleman Dies at 92
Dabney Coleman appears on the set of "Courting Alex" at Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, Calif., on Jan. 25, 2006. (Reed Saxon/AP Photo)

NEW YORK—Dabney Coleman, the mustachioed character actor who specialized in smarmy villains like the chauvinist boss in “9 to 5” and the nasty TV director in “Tootsie,” has died. He was 92.

Mr. Coleman died Thursday at his home in Santa Monica, his daughter, Quincy Coleman, said in a statement to The Associated Press. She said he “took his last earthly breath peacefully and exquisitely.”

“The great Dabney Coleman literally created, or defined, really—in a uniquely singular way—an archetype as a character actor. He was so good at what he did it’s hard to imagine movies and television of the last 40 years without him,” Ben Stiller wrote on X.

Underneath all that bravura was a reserved man. Mr. Coleman insisted he was really quite shy. “I’ve been shy all my life. Maybe it stems from being the last of four children, all of them very handsome, including a brother who was Tyrone Power-handsome. Maybe it’s because my father died when I was 4,” he told The Associated Press in 1984. “I was extremely small, just a little guy who was there, the kid who created no trouble. I was attracted to fantasy, and I created games for myself.”

As he aged, he also began to put his mark on pompous authority figures, notably in 1998’s “My Date With the President’s Daughter,” in which he was not only an egotistical, self-absorbed president of the United States, but also a clueless father to a teenager girl.

Dabney Coleman—his real name—was born in 1932 in Austin, Texas. After two years at the Virginia Military Academy, two at the University of Texas and two in the Army, he was a 26-year-old law student when he met another Austin native, Zachry Scott, who starred in “Mildred Pierce” and other films.

“He was the most dynamic person I’ve ever met. He convinced me I should become an actor, and I literally left the next day to study in New York. He didn’t think that was too wise, but I made my decision,” Coleman told The AP in 1984.

Twice divorced, Coleman is survived by four children, Meghan, Kelly, Randy, and Quincy, and the grandchildren Hale and Gabe Torrance, Luie Freundl, and Kai and Coleman Biancaniello.

“My father crafted his time here on earth with a curious mind, a generous heart, and a soul on fire with passion, desire and humor that tickled the funny bone of humanity,” Ms. Quincy Coleman wrote in his honor.

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