‘MacGyver’ co-star Elcar dies at 77

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Chris R, Jun 11, 2005.

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  1. Chris R

    Chris R Forum Fones Thread Starter

    Sad day for MacGyver fans. :(

    ‘MacGyver’ co-star Elcar dies at 77
    Actor had his increasing blindness written into role

    VENTURA, Calif. - Dana Elcar, the round-faced, balding actor whose real-life struggle with blindness was written into his role on the TV adventure series “MacGyver,” has died. He was 77.

    He died Monday of complications from pneumonia at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, his family said.

    “MacGyver” ran on ABC from 1985 to 1992. Elcar played the best friend and boss of the crime-fighting title character, played by Richard Dean Anderson.

    “At a time when I had very little business being called an actor, he made things so easy for me,” Anderson said. “It was a learning experience that was very warm and loving for all seven years.”

    Elcar, who suffered from glaucoma, told producers he was going blind after four seasons with “MacGyver,” so they adapted his character to match his medical condition. By the end of the show’s run, he had become almost completely blind.

    “The fact that you are losing your eyesight does not mean you have forgotten how to act,” Elcar, in a speech to the National Federation of the Blind in 1991, recalled producers telling him.

    Elcar’s television career spanned 50 years. He played in other drama series, including “Baretta” opposite Robert Blake and the Robert Conrad series “Black Sheep Squadron.”

    Dozens of films, plays
    Elcar also appeared in at least 40 films, including “The Sting,” “2010,” “All of Me” and “The Learning Tree.”

    He starred in off-Broadway plays, including the first American productions of Harold Pinter’s “The Dumb Waiter” and “The Caretaker,” Dylan Thomas’ “Under Milk Wood” and Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.”

    Running away from home in Ferndale, Mich., at age 13 may have led Elcar to an acting career, his son, Dane Elcar, said. He became separated from a friend in a town far from home, and spent the night watching “Citizen Kane” at an all-night theater.

    “That kind of sparked him to be an actor. He watched it four or five times in one night,” Dane Elcar said.

    In addition to his son, Elcar is survived by three daughters, a stepdaughter, a sister, a half sister and longtime companion Thelma M. Garcia.

    © 2005 The Associated Press. © 2005 MSNBC.com

    URL: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8171089/
  2. Andrew T.

    Andrew T. Out of the Vein

    I'm sorry to hear this. :(

    Dana Elcar was a great actor. He did a fine job playing the role of Pete Thornton in "MacGyver."
  3. Capt. Cadillac

    Capt. Cadillac Forum Resident

    Dearborn, Mich.
    Very sad news. I was watching MacGyver Season Two just last night. I always admired the way they wrote Elcar's glaucoma into the show, rather than write Pete Thornton out.
  4. Ready Steady Go

    Ready Steady Go Active Member

    For those hard-core "Dark Shadows" fans, Dana Elcar also played the first Sheriff George Patterson on the daytime spook opera from 1966-1967. Shortly after Barnabas the vampire showed up, Dana left the show - but he was the smartest sheriff on that series. All the other ones who replaced him couldn't find a crypt or a werewolf if their pension depended on it. R.I.P., Mr. Elcar.
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