Dabney Coleman, the bad boss of '9 to 5' and 'Yellowstone' guest star, dies at 92

Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Dabney Coleman, the beloved character actor who famously played the dastardly cad overseeing Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton in “9 to 5,” has died. He was 92.

Coleman’s death was confirmed by his daughter Quincy Coleman who said he died “peacefully and exquisitely” at home Thursday afternoon.

“My father crafted his time here on Earth with a curious mind, a generous heart and a soul on fire with passion, desire and humor that tickled the funny bone of humanity,” she said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter and TMZ. “As he lived, he moved through this final act of his life with elegance, excellence and mastery.

“A teacher, a hero and a king, Dabney Coleman is a gift and blessing in life and in death as his spirit will shine through his work, his loved ones and his legacy … eternally.”

No cause of death was given.

The actor, who also starred in the TV series “The Guardian” and “Boardwalk Empire” and had a guest turn as John Dutton Sr. in “Yellowstone,” was nominated for six Emmy Awards. He won in 1987 for the TV movie “Sworn to Silence.” He also starred in the films “Tootsie,” “On Golden Pond,” “War Games,” “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Where the Heart Is.”


“I like to say things funny, not say funny things. There is more acting involved than just saying that supposedly funny line that a lot of sitcoms rely on. I don’t want to do jokes,” the actor told the Los Angeles Times in 1991 when he gained a reputation as the king of TV curmudgeons in the unconventional TV comedies “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” “Buffalo Bill” and “The Slap Maxwell Story.”

“I lean toward mean,” Coleman, who was in his late 50s at the time, said. “I like that. It’s fun and it will never cease to be fun because you can’t do that in your real life. At least you can’t get away with it.”

Born on Jan. 3, 1932, in Austin, Texas, to Melvin Randolph Coleman and Mary Wharton, the actor was the youngest of four children and was raised by his mother after his father died of pneumonia when Coleman was 4. He grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas.

With a background as eclectic as his characters, Coleman studied at the Virginia Military Institute and served in the U.S. Army in Europe in 1953 and, as an avid player, played for the U.S. Army tennis team while posted there for two years.


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