James Noble, who played the bumbling but kind governor on ABC’s 1980s sitcom Benson, died Monday in Connecticut. He was 94. The New York Times said a spokesman for Noble’s family said the actor suffered a stroke last week.
Noble, who was born on March 5, 1922 in Dallas, left SMU to join the Navy during World War II. He eventually studied at Lee Strasberg’s at the Actors Studio in New York, and made his Broadway debut in the 1949 comedy The Velvet Glove. He played John Hancock in the musical 1776 and Rev. John Witherspoon in the 1972 film version.
Noble eventually played Gov. Eugene Gatling on ABC’s Benson from 1979-1986 opposite Robert Guillaume, a spinoff of sorts of Guillaume’s character on Soap. He had a slew of guest star credits throughout the ’70s and ’80s, as well as the Bo Derek pic 10.