- By Ken Werther
- Photo By Paige Petrone
A film, television, and stage actor; a comedian, writer, and producer. A game show and talk show host and a mainstay of Los Angeles’s small theatre scene. He appeared frequently on several television game shows from the 1960s through the 1980s and was a longtime panelist on one of the most enduring —To Tell the Truth. A brilliant storyteller, he was a favorite guest of Johnny Carson’s, appearing on The Tonight Show over 200 times. I’m talking about Dallas Frederick Burrows … the man we all knew better as Orson Bean. On February 7th of this year he was tragically killed in a traffic accident in Venice. He was 91.
There is nary a part of show business in which Bean didn’t participate. Beginning his career as a standup comic, he later appeared in seven Broadway shows (several of them musicals). He was placed on the infamous Hollywood blacklist during the 1950s but managed to continue working. “Basically, I was blacklisted because I had a cute communist girlfriend,” he once said. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 27 years, Alley Mills, who he met when they were co-starring on the CBS drama series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. He was a founding member of LA’s Pacific Resident Theatre Ensemble in Venice, where he and Mills performed together many times to great acclaim. Beloved by many, his loss is being felt across LA and throughout the entire entertainment industry. What a truly amazing life.
RIP Orson Bean 1928-2020.