Orson Bean - Biography - IMDb
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Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trivia (24)  | Personal Quotes (10)

Overview (4)

Born in Burlington, Vermont, USA
Died in Venice, Los Angeles, California, USA  (struck by car)
Birth NameDallas Frederick Burrows
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Orson Bean, the American actor, television personality and author, was born Dallas Frederick Burrows on July 22, 1928 in Burlington, Vermont to George Frederick Burrows, a policeman who later went on to become the chief of campus police at Harvard University, and the former Marion Ainsworth Pollard. The newborn Dallas Burrows was a second cousin once removed to Calvin Coolidge, who was President of the United States at the time of his birth. The young Dallas, an amateur magician with a taste for the limelight, graduated from Boston's prestigious Latin School in 1946. Too young to see military service during World War II, the future Orson Bean did a hitch in the U.S. Army (1946-47) in occupied Japan.

After the war, he launched himself onto the nightclub circuit with his new moniker, the "Orson" borrowed from reigning enfant terrible Orson Welles. His comedy act premiered at New York City's Blue Angel nightclub, and the momentum from his act launched him into the orbit of the legitimate theater. He made his Broadway debut on April 30, 1954 in Stalag 17 (1953) producer Richard Condon's only Broadway production as a playwright, "Men of Distinction", along with Robert Preston and Martin Ritt. The play flopped and ran only four appearances.

The following year was to prove kinder: he hosted a summer-replacement television series produced at the Blue Angel, and won a Theatre World Award for his work in the 1954 music revue "John Murray Anderson's Almanac", which co-starred Harry Belafonte, Polly Bergen, Hermione Gingold and Carleton Carpenter. It was a hit that ran for 229 performances. He followed this up with an even bigger hit, the leading role in "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter". Next up was a succès d'estime as the leading man in Herman Wouk's comic play "Nature's Way", which co-starred Bea Arthur, Sorrell Booke and Godfrey Cambridge. Though the play lasted but 67 performances, Orson Bean had established himself on the Broadway stage.

He enjoyed his greatest personal success on Broadway in the 1961-62 season, in the Betty Comden and Adolph Green musical "Subways are for Sleeping", which was directed and choreographed by Michael Kidd and featured music by Jule Styne. Bean received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (his co-star Phyllis Newman won a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Musical. The following season, he was in a bigger hit, the comedy "Never Too Late", which would go on to play for 1,007 performances. After appearing in the flop comedy "I Was Dancing" in November 1964, Bean made his last Broadway appearance in the musical "Illya Darling" in 1967 with Melina Mercouri, directed by fellow blacklister Jules Dassin; it played 320 performances. He also toured in the Neil Simon-Burt Bacharach musical "Promises, Promises".

Bean made an impression as the Army psychiatrist in Otto Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder (1959). But it was as a television personality that he made his biggest inroads into the popular consciousness, as well as the popular culture. He appeared in numerous quiz and talk shows, becoming a familiar face in homes as a regular panelist on To Tell the Truth (1956). He also appeared on Norman Lear's cult favorite Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976) and its sequel, Forever Fernwood (1977), as "Reverend Brim", and as store owner "Loren Bray" on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993). Much of his role as 105-year-old "Dr. Lester" in the cult film Being John Malkovich (1999) wound up the cutting room floor, but audiences and critics welcomed back his familiar presence.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (3)

Alley Mills (18 April 1993 - 7 February 2020) ( his death)
Carolyn Maxwell (3 October 1965 - 1981) ( divorced) ( 3 children)
Rain Winslow (2 July 1956 - 1962) ( divorced) ( 1 child)

Trivia (24)

First cousin twice removed of Calvin Coolidge.
Founding member of 'Sons of the Desert', a national organization dedicated to the memory and films of comedy team Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
In The Return of the King (1980), Bean voiced both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Sir Ian Holm plays Bilbo, but has also played Frodo in the BBC radio version. So Bean and Holm have both played both parts.
His father George Burrows was the chief of campus police at Harvard University.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. pg. 38. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Was nominated for Broadway's 1962 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Musical) for "Subways Are for Sleeping."
Bean made frequent guest appearances on "The Tonight Show" (with both Jack Paar and Johnny Carson).
Blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studios in the 1950s.
Though blacklisted for his outspoken liberal views in the early 1950s, he had become an ardent supporter of Richard Nixon during the 1968 Presidential election year. Nixon had been a notorious "Red-Baiter" in the 1940s and 1950s.
Was the founder of the arts-oriented 15th Street School of New York.
On one To Tell the Truth (1956) episode in 1965, the panel was to try to guess which of three contestants was the police chief of Harvard University. The happily stunned Bean disqualified himself from the questioning as it was his own father.
Father-in-law of Andrew Breitbart, who was married to Susannah Bean ("Susie").
He studied drama at HB Studios in Greenwich Village in New York City.
Frequent contributor to "Big Hollywood", which was the original blog created by his late son-in-law, Andrew Breitbart. "Big Hollywood" has become one of many subsections of Breitbart.com.
Graduated from Cambridge High & Latin School with fellow classmate Peggy Cass.
Has four children; Michelle, Max, Susannah, and Ezekiel.
Founder and first director of the experimental Fifteenth Street School in New York, New York, which only existed for a few years, closing in 1975. It was modeled after A.S. Neill's Summerhill School in England.
His paternal grandfather was born in Ireland and his paternal grandmother was born in Scotland.
Bean made more than 200 appearances on "The Tonight Show" during the Johnny Carson era - including more than 100 stints as guest host - and more than 60 sit-downs on "The Merv Griffin Show.".
Co-founder of the non-profit actors collective Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice, California.
His father was one of the founding members of the ACLU.
At age 91, was fatality injured as a pedestrian in an accident involving two vehicles in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Son of Marion Ainsworth (Pollard) and George Frederick Burrows. His father was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Orson was cremated at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. His ashes were sprinkled into the Pacific Ocean.

Personal Quotes (10)

The trap is man's armored character structure and there's only one way out of it. It's not drugs and it's not religion and it's not politics. It's going back to the old apple tree and trying to do better than Adam and Eve did.
[on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), 2/56/76, about his pierced left ear] What the hell? I think, you know, if a pirate can wear an earring, why can't I wear an earring? Why should we be the only male of a species that isn't into adornment?
[on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), 5/25/78, about his pierced left ear] I say it's for purposes of self-adornment. That's all. And, you know, we are the only species in life where the male is less grand than the female.
[referring to one of the world's deadliest snakes] The Gabon Viper, so named because it bites you on the gabon.
[on Dick Shawn] I never liked him and I never found him funny. I was also jealous of him because he got parts I wanted to do. I don't know. I never warmed up to Dick Shawn. I found him arrogant. I remember one time I rode in an elevator with Henry Fonda. I was a young comic. He kind of gave me hard eyes and brushed me off and for years I told people what a prick he was. Then I got to spend a week with him and he was wonderful. I had the most wonderful week with him! And I had bad-mouthed him after being in an elevator with him. I thought, "What the fuck was I thinking?" I formed an opinion that had nothing to do with anything. So I don't know . . .
[on Red Skelton] Red Skelton I loved. He was an angel. When I was a young comic he was so generous with me. He walked in on a live show I was doing at the Blue Angel and got a big laugh. He threw his arm around me and he was sweet as sugar. Of course, I had adored him in The Fuller Brush Man (1948) and all the movies. Liberace was another. People would do that. They would walk into your show and people would laugh and applaud. That's what Bob Hope used to do with [Johnny Carson].
TV used to bring people together in the days of Kunta Kinte and Roots (1977). Now it's separating people. Even in sports, if the is one place where you should forget politics, forget whether you're liberal or conservative, whether you hate Trump or love him, it should be the ballgame. Instead they have to rear the ugly head of politics by kneeling instead of standing. So it's changed, and not for the better.
In the days of "Hey, hey! LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?", that's nothing compared to the vitriol of today. So people basically shut up. at least until they get into the ballot box. That's why you can't trust the polls.
In the fifties, there was the blacklist, the Hollywood Ten. There was something that preceded it, that to my knowledge has never been written about, which was a group of communists or actors who they could persuade to become communists in their movies and there was a lot of bitterness on the part of right-wing actors that they were blacked out of a lot of these movies, and this preceded the left-wing blacklist that happened because there were these communist directors who were blacklisting not just right-wingers, but non-communists, and out this came rage on the part of the right, and they began to call anyone who didn't agree with them a communist.
All these kids that are getting brainwashed in college are going to become the CEOs and the mayors of cities and governors and , ultimately Presidents. They are what they are because of all of these Marxist professors. The deplorables in flyover country are not going to run for office or become heads of companies., so they're having an immediate effect by voting, but I don't see how in the long range how we're going to change this. All of our leaders of industry and politics are of a left-wing bent.

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