George Morfogen, an actor whose career spanned Broadway (most recently in 2008’s A Man For All Seasons), film (1972’s What’s Up, Doc?) and the TV role for which he’s probably most widely known — as the seen-it-all inmate Bob Rebadow of HBO’s Oz — died March 8 at his home in New York.
His death was announced by his family in a New York Times obituary. No cause was disclosed, but donations in his memory can be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation.
Although Morfogen will be instantly recognizable to viewers of the intense, addictive Oz (1997–2003), in which his quiet, laid-back, eldery survivor of the brutal Oswald State Correctional Facility often was a mentor to younger, hotter heads, the actor appeared on no fewer than 12 TV series. Among them were St, Elsewhere, Deadly Matrimony, Blood Feud and Sherlock Holmes. His TV credits go back to Kojak and The Adams Chronicles miniseries in 1976.
The actor’s film career was closely tied to Peter Bogdanovich, with Morfogen appearing in the director’s What’s Up, Doc?, Daisy Miller (1974), They All Laughed (1981) and, most recently, 2014’s She’s Funny That Way, starring Imogen Poots and Owen Wilson.
But perhaps no other medium displayed Morfogen’s talents as fully as the stage. He appeared at some of the most prestigious theaters in the country, including the Kennedy Center, the Williamstown Theatre Festival, New York’s Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park and Off Broadway’s Mint Theater Company, to name a sampling.
His Broadway credits include 1981’s Kingdoms, with Armande Assante; the 1985 Circle in the Square production of Arms and the Man with Raul Julia, Glenne Headley and Kevin Kline; 2002’s Fortune’s Fool, directed by Arthur Penn and starring Alan Bates and Frank Langella; and, his final Broadway production, 2008’s A Man for All Seasons, also starring Langella.
His final performance on any stage was in Horton Foote’s Traveling Lady at Off Broadway’s Cherry Lane Theatre in 2017, directed by his longtime friend Austin Pendleton.
Morfogen also was an acting instructor at New York’s renowned HB Studio. He is survived by his husband and life partner of 51 years, Gene Laughorne.