Dabney Coleman, 9 to 5 and Tootsie Star, Dead at 92

The iconic character actor passed away on Thursday, May 16th.

Dabney Coleman, a prolific character actor known for a decades-spanning career in movies and television, has passed away at the age of 92. The news was confirmed on Friday afternoon by a statement from Coleman's daughter, Quincy Coleman. The actor died on Thursday, May 16th, at his home in Santa Monica, CA. Coleman's career, which began in 1964 and lasted up until his death, included such hits as 9 to 5, Tootsie, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, WarGames, Inspector Gadget, Recess, Boardwalk Empire, and The Guardian.

"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," Quincy's statement reads. "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."

Born on January 3, 1932 in Austin, Texas, Coleman got his start in the New York theater scene, before making his onscreen debut in a 1961 episode of Naked City. After appearing across movies and television in projects like Bright Promise, Bonanza, The Flying Nun, and The Trouble With Girls, he became something of a household names thanks to his 148 appearances on the soap opera Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

One of Coleman's most well-known roles arrived in 1980, when he portrayed the boss Franklin M. Hart, Jr. alongside Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin in 9 to 5. Two years later, he had another major appearance as Ron Carlisle in 1982's Tootsie

"That opened up the movies for me," Coleman told Vulture about 9 to 5. "The girls [Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton] were so supportive of me, and included me in everything. They were on a whole different level than I was at the time, but they were very sensitive about that, and made sure that I was included in every publicity shot and tour. All three of them insisted, "Where's Dabney? Get him in here!" They're all three unique and wonderful ladies, all three of them."

Coleman reached a whole new generation through voicing Principal Peter Prickly in the Disney Channel series Recess, as well as its subsequent television movies. In the 2000s, his roles also included playing the President in My Date with the President's Daughter, and starring as Burton Fallin in CBS' The Guardian. More recently, Coleman appeared in episodes of Ray Donovan and NCIS, as well as movies like Domino and Rules Don't Apply. He also had a recurring role as Commodore Louis Kaestner in Boardwalk Empire. His final onscreen roles included playing John Dutton Jr. in a 2019 episode of Yellowstone, and appearing as himself in the Aly & AJ music video "Star Maps."

Outside of being an actor, Coleman worked alongside actor Bronson Pinchot to help promote forest preservation, and competed in celebrity and charity tennis tournaments. He was married twice, to Ann Courtney Harrell and then to actress Jean Hale, and has four children.

Our thoughts are with Coleman's family, friends, and fans at this time.