Robert Mandan, star of the classic comedy Soap died on April 29 after a long illness Deadline has confirmed. He was 86.

He was best known as the womanizing Wall Street broker Chester Tate on Soap. The soap opera parody ran from 1977-1981 and paved the way for Benson starring Robert Guillaume, another classic comedy from the era.


In addition to Soap, Mandan appeared in numerous sitcoms that, to this day, remain iconic. These include Sanford and Son, Maude, as well as CBS’ adaptation of Private Benjamin in 1981. On the film side, he appeared in the 1982 comedy Zapped! as well as the big screen adaptation of the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds.

He also is known for his role as investment banker James Bradford in the final episodes of Three’s Company. He played the nosey father of Vicky Bradford (Mary Cadorette), Jack’s (John Ritter) girlfriend. All three would go on to star in the spin-off Three’s a Crowd.

During the ’80s he also appeared in The Golden Girls and Who’s the Boss.  During the ’90s, he continued his TV career and appeared in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Married… with Children. He would return to the soap opera world with roles in Santa Barbara, Days of Our Lives and General Hospital.

In addition to TV and film, he had an active stage career including Gary Goldstein’s first play in 1996 as well as the pre-Broadway version of 1990s revival of How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying and the touring company for the mystery Sleuth.