Dabney Coleman, the WarGames, 9 to 5, Tootsie, and Cloak & Dagger actor, dies at 92


Dabney Coleman, the beloved actor famously known for playing demeaning, cruel, and demoralizing characters, has passed away at 92.

Last Updated on May 22, 2024

Dabney Coleman, the character actor who delighted audiences in films like 9 to 5DragnetThe Muppets Take ManhattanTootsieWarGamesCloak & DaggerYou’ve Got Mail, and the TV shows The Guardian and Boardwalk Empire, has died at 92. The news leaked earlier today but has only just been confirmed by his daughter, Quincy Coleman. Often underappreciated in Hollywood’s vast populous of show-stopping performers, Dabney Coleman was a master of playing smarmy, selfish, hot-headed, and dick-ish characters with class and playfulness. Details about Coleman’s passing spread quietly on Twitter before getting confirmed by mainstream outlets, with many showing their love for Mr. Coleman’s rich body of work and unforgettable contributions to the entertainment industry.

Dabney Coleman made his Broadway debut in a brief run of A Call on Kuprin before setting up camp in the television space with roles in Kraft Suspense Theater’s The Threatening Eye and as Dr. Leon Bessemer in the first season of That Girl. Coleman began dabbling in film with his mighty mustache, with early roles in Downhill RacerThe Towering Inferno, and Bite the Bullet. In 1980, Coleman made a splash in 9 to 5, starring alongside Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Holly Parton as the trio’s hot-headed asshole of a boss. Coleman’s powerful performance as the sexist, egotistical, and hypocritical bigot helped put him on the map.

In 1982, Coleman played a supporting role alongside Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange in Tootsie, a classic romantic comedy about an unsuccessful actor who disguises himself as a woman to get a role on a trashy hospital soap opera. Coleman followed Tootsie with a starring role in the Richard Franklin-directed adventure film Cloak & Dagger (a movie we just did a retrospective video about). Starring Henry Thomas (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial) and Michael Murphy, Cloak & Dagger focuses on a young boy (Thomas) and his imaginary friend, Jack Flack (Coleman), on the run while in possession of a top-secret spy gadget.

In 1984, Coleman appeared in one of his greatest roles as the Broadway producer turned con man Martin Price in The Muppets Take Manhattan. Before an older woman reveals his actual identity, Mr. Price greenlights the Muppets’ new musical. However, once the woman blows his cover, Price threatens the life of Gonzo’s partner in show business, the chicken Camilla: Gonzo, Camilla, and Animal attack Price before the criminal gets arrested by the dim-witted local fuzz. He also starred in two short-lived, but critically acclaimed sitcoms, Buffalo Bill (1983-84) and The Slap Maxwell Story (1987-1988). More recently, he played the villainous “Commodore” in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.

Coleman’s last on-screen role was in Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone, where he played the father of Kevin Costner’s character, patriarch John Dutton Sr.

With 180 acting credits to his good name, Dabney Coleman was a beloved figure in Hollywood. Despite playing some of cinema’s most notorious dickheads, friends and co-stars regarded Coleman as a warm, talented, and caring individual. He will be missed, and we wish him safe passage to the Great Hereafter.

Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/dabney-coleman-dies/

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