Wings Star David Schramm Dies at 73

Veteran stage and television actor David Schramm who played airline owner Roy Biggins for eight seasons on NBC's 1990s sitcom Wings died on Saturday, March 28. He was 73. Schramm's death was confirmed on Sunday by the New York-based The Acting Company, of which Schramm was a founding member. According to publicist Rick Miramontez, Schramm died in New York though no additional details were provided according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Schramm was perhaps best known as the unscrupulous owner of the fictional Aeromass airline, Roy Biggins, on Wings. On the series, which aired between 1990 and 1997 on NBC, Aeromass was the main competition for Sandpiper, a small airline company operated by Joe Hackett (Tim Daly) and Brian Hackett (Steven Webber) in the same airport on Nantucket Island. A main character in the series, Schramm appeared in all 172 episodes.

"I knew when we started it was going to be a success," Schramm said in a 2008 interview. "Not just because the writers had been involved with Cheers, Taxi, and Mary Tyler Moore. But when we sat around the table reading the first script and I saw this buffoon they created for me, this pompous guy who said garish things to women, and all the other rich characters, I turned to [co-star] Rebecca (Schull, who played Fay Cochran on the show) and said, 'I think we've landed in a tub of butter.' And we did. If only I put the money I made under my mattress instead of in the stock market."

Schramm was born on August 14, 1946 in Louisville, Kentucky and attended Julliard after having taken acting classes at Western Kentucky University. The Acting Company was a product of Julliard, with the Schramm one of the founding members along with Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, and David Ogden Stier of the historic theatrical repertory group created by John Houseman and Margot Harley in 1972.

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"We mourn his loss and will miss him," Haley said in a statement.

In addition to his work on Wings, Schramm had a long career in theater. Schramm made his Broadway debut in 1973's Three Sister and most recently appeared in the New York Theater Company Off-Broadway production of Enter Laughing in 2019. The actor also appeared in various other television series, including Jake and the Fatman, Wiseguy, Miami Vice, and Spenser: For Hire as well as portrayed Robert McNamara in the 1983 miniseries Kennedy.