Friday, July 25, 2008

R.I.P. Larry Haines

For those of you who wondered why I didn’t post notice on the passing of Estelle Getty, it might be due to the fact that I really couldn’t come up with anything that hadn’t already been covered on other people’s blogs. Toby O’Brien, that fine broth of a boy who rules Toobworld at Inner Toob, has a list of her television credits here, and here’s a really nice piece from the Associated Press—so anything that I would add to this would just be an additional memo from the Department of Redundancy Department.

But Toby also has taken notice of the departure from this mortal coil of actor Larry Haines, who was probably best known for his Emmy-winning portrayal of Stu Bergman on the long-running CBS-TV soap Search for Tomorrow. Haines, born August 3, 1918 in Mount Vernon, New York, was one of the hardest-working radio actors from the New York contingent affectionately known as “Radio Row.” Among the series he appeared on: 21st Precinct, Cavalcade of America, The Chase, Cloak and Dagger, Crime Club, Dimension X (and its follow-up, X-Minus One), The FBI in Peace and War, Gang Busters, Inner Sanctum Mysteries, The Man Behind the Gun, Murder by Experts, The Mysterious Traveler, The Shadow, Suspense, This is Nora Drake, Words at War, Young Doctor Malone and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. He was also one of the many radio veterans who tried to jump-start radio again in 1974 with Himan Brown’s The CBS Radio Mystery Theatre.

Haines was a first-rate supporting actor, but he was also afforded the occasion to be the star of several series: Manhunt (as Drew Stevens), Now Hear This (as “Boats,” the narrator) and Treasury Agent (on which he played Joe Lincoln). He was also heard as “Mozart,” the blind pianist on Big Town and alongside George Petrie’s legal eagle John J. Malone he played Lt. Brooks on the 1951 summer replacement Murder and Mr. Malone (formerly known as The Amazing Mr. Malone when it starred Frank Lovejoy). He even played Mickey Spillane’s famed literary sleuth Mike Hammer on That Hammer Guy, a crime drama heard on Mutual Radio from 1953-54.

Haines was fortunate to enjoy a very successful career onstage, having been nominated for Tony for performances in Generations (1966) and Promises, Promises (1969). His movie career may not have reached the heights of his television, radio and stage work—but he was certainly a welcome presence in films like The Odd Couple (1968; as Speed, one of Oscar’s poker buddies) and The Seven-Ups (1973).

To two very fine performers…R.I.P.

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