Richard Erdman, a film and TV actor who made a long career as an affable sidekick and character actor, has died. He was 93 and no cause of death was given.
An Oklahoma native, Erdman was the consummate secondary player. His venues ranged from the original Twilight Zone, where he played a man with a timepiece that could freeze the world, to Fred Zinneman’s The Men, where he played an easy-going paralyzed veteran who helps Marlon Brando adjust to life as a paraplegic.
Other notable roles by Erdman included his stint as an alcoholic ex-Marine in Cry Danger, and Billy Wilder’s Stalag 17, where he played a barracks chief.
Erdman moved to Los Angeles in 1941, enrolling in Hollywood High School. He was offered a Warner Bros. contract and appeared in Mr. Skeffington and later as Scooper Nolan in Janie (1944). He made 30 films at Warners, including an appearance in The Time of Your Life (1948), working with James Cagney.
Erdman capped his career as an elder student who still had a rowdy fire on the TV show Community, which ran from 2009-2015 on NBC and Yahoo! He also was on the TV series Where’s Raymond? and The Tab Hunter Show, as well as Cheers, Perry Mason, December Bride, Mister Ed, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Hogan’s Heroes, Police Story, Lou Grant, Wings and Felicity.
In addition to his acting, Erdman directed episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show and the 1973 feature The Brothers O’Toole, starring John Astin.
No information on a memorial service was provided.
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