Jack Warden

d. July 19, 2006

Jack Warden, 85, veteran movie and television actor who played countless irascible characters in both dramas and comedies, died July 19 at a hospital in New York after a long illness.

Warden had strong supporting roles in more than 100 movies and dozens of television dramas, and appeared in nine TV series during television’s first four decades, beginning with Mr. Peepers in 1953. After a stint in the brief, all but forgotten sitcom Norby in 1955, he graduated to leading roles, first as a cop in The Asphalt Jungle in 1961. He was another police detective in ABC’s intriguing N.Y.P.D., a 1967 series shot on the streets of New York with handheld 16-millimeter cameras.

In between those series Warden played an Army officer working undercover against the Japanese during World War II in the 1965 comedy-adventure The Wackiest Ship in the Army. He rejoined the police force in 1976’s Jigsaw John. He played the grumpy Little League coach in the 1979 TV version of The Bad News Bears, then an aging private eye in 1984’s Crazy Like a Fox. His last series was the short-lived Knight and Daye, a 1989 summer sitcom.

Between series he had roles in episodes of Playhouse 90, The U.S. Steel Hour, Hallmark Hall of Fame, The Twilight Zone, The Untouchables, Ben Casey, The Virginian, Wagon Train, Route 66, Naked City, Bewitched, Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, and many more. He won an Emmy for his performance as Chicago Bears coach George Halas in the memorable 1971 Movie of the Week production “Brian’s Song.”

He received Academy Award nominations for his supporting roles in “Shampoo” (1975) and “Heaven Can Wait” (1978). His other notable films included “From Here to Eternity,” “12 Angry Men,” “The Bachelor Party,” “Donovan’s Reef,” “Mirage,” “Blindfold,” “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz,” “All the President’s Men,” “Death on the Nile” and “The Verdict.”

Jack Warden with Robert Redford in “All the President’s Men.”