Donald Moffat, a character actor who appeared on Broadway, television and film, died Thursday in Sleepy Hollow, New York. He was 87 and passed from complications of a recent stroke, according to his daughter.
In a career that spanned close to 50 years, he appeared in 80 stage plays (directing 10 others), 70 Hollywood and television movies, and at least 60 television productions. His range extended from Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh on Broadway (where he played Larry Slade) to the film A Clear And Present Danger to episodes of the TV series Mannix, Ironside, Gunsmoke and The Defenders.
Moffat was born in Plymouth, Devon to parents who ran a boarding home while the father sold insurance. He later studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
He moved to the US at age 26 after serving in World War II and began his career in the Association of Producing Artists, a repertory company on Broadway. He was nominated for a Best Actor Tony for his 1967 roles in revivals of Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck and Pirandello’s Right You Are If You Think You Are.
That was the start of a career that ran from Off-Broadway to Broadway, playing roles as everything from an attorney to US President Ulysses S. Grant.
In film, Moffat appeared as President Lyndon Baines Johnson in The Right Stuff, as a corrupt US President in Clear And Present Danger, and later as a station commander in the horror classic, The Thing. His other film credits included Rachel, Rachel, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine, Earthquake and Winter Kills.
On television, Moffat was Dr. Marcus Polk in the ABC soap opera One Life to Live and an android in the TV adaptation of Logan’s Run
He is survived by his wife, Gwen Arner, and daughters Lynn and Catherine Railton, as well as two children from his first marriage, Kathleen, known as Wendy, and Gabriel Moffat; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Memorial details have not been revealed.
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