Notable character actor Bert Remsen, who appeared in “Maverick” and this year’s “Forces of Nature,” died of natural causes April 22 at his home in the San Fernando Valley. He was 74.
A Navy veteran, Remsen received the Purple Heart for wounds received at Okinawa in 1945. Upon returning to the States, he graduated from Ithaca College in New York with a degree in drama.
He studied with Sandy Meisner and began work in summer stock and Broadway productions. Broadway credits include “Diamond Lil” with Mae West and “The Rainmaker” with Geraldine Page.
Remsen moved to Hollywood in 1957 and appeared in his first film, the Gregory Peck starrer “Pork Chop Hill,” in 1959. He worked on several TV shows including “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Fugitive.”
In 1964, while filming an episode of “No Time for Sergeants,” a portion of an 84-foot crane toppled onto Remsen, putting him in the hospital for months with a broken back. Believing that his slow recovery and use of crutches would exclude him from any more acting roles, he moved into the field of casting, eventually becoming head of casting for Lorimar.
While casting 1970’s “Brewster McCloud,” he was chosen for a role in the film, and his acting career resumed.
He went on to appear in seven Robert Altman films including “Thieves Like Us” (1974), “Only the Lonely” (1991) and “Conspiracy Theory” (1997). He also acted on TV minis and movies and was often on “Dallas.”
Remsen was a member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, Yarmy’s Army, the Friars Club and the Disabled American Veterans.
He is survived by his wife, two daughters, two grandchildren and his brother.
Family suggests that donations be made to the Motion Picture Television Fund, the American Red Cross or the Disabled American Veterans.