Alan Manson, longtime feature, TV and legit actor who was blacklisted for a decade following the HUAC hearings of the early 1950s, died Tuesday March 5 of natural causes in New York. He was 83.
He played Ziefgeld to Streisand’s “Funny Girl,” appeared in “The Tenth Man” and “Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound” and appeared in numerous films and TV shows.
Brooklyn native first appeared onstage at age 16 when he appeared in a Brooklyn production of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” At age 21 he arrived on Broadway in Maxwell Anderson’s “Journey to Jerusalem” with Sidney Lumet.
Stationed at Camp Upton shortly after the outbreak of World War II, he found himself with a wartime company of actors that produced original revues and toured in such shows as “Brother Rat” and “Three Men on a Horse.” Irving Berlin noticed Manson and cast him in the U.S. Army extravaganza feature “This Is the Army” in 1943. After that successful run, he spent two years in Allied-occupied Italy.
Postwar, he returned to Broadway, also marched in a May Day parade and attended a couple of meetings that were later labeled suspect. Meanwhile, he appeared in the Great White Way’s all-G.I. smash hit revue “Call Me Mister” and Rodgers & Hammerstein production of “Allegro” as well as “Southern Exposure” and “Angels Kiss Me.”
In 1955, as he was about to take the lead in the play “Blithe Spirit,” he was handed a subpoena from the House Un-American Activities Committee. On the advice of two attorneys, he pleaded the First, Fifth and Ninth Amendments. He avoided jail time but wound up on the film and TV blacklist until the early 1960s when the U.S. communist witch-hunt began to wane.
Manson rebuilt his career and amassed numerous TV and film credits during the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. A few of his many TV appearances included “Three’s Company,” “The Rockford Files,” “Kojak,” “Maude,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Jeffersons” and later “Law and Order.” Film credits include Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Rain People,” “Bang the Drum Slowly” starring Robert De Niro and the judge in “The Doors.”
He is survived by his wife, actress Corey Roser Lang, a stepdaughter and three stepgrandchildren.
Family suggests donations in his name be made to The Actors Fund of america, 729 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019.