Character actor Alan Fudge, best known for recurring roles in TV series including “Man From Atlantis,” “Eischied” “Paper Dolls” and, most recently, “7th Heaven,” died Oct. 10 in Los Angeles of lung and liver cancer, which he had been fighting for about a year. He was 67.
Fudge amassed almost 140 smallscreen credits over the course of 37 years in addition to roles in 17 films including “Capricorn One,” “Chapter Two,” “The Border,” “Brainstorm,” “The Natural” (he played Robert Redford’s father but had no lines) and “Edward Scissorhands.”
Writer-producer Graham Yost said of Fudge: “Personally, Alan was one of the most generous, kind and caring men I have ever known. Many of the roles he played over the years reflected that side of him. And then there were the roles where he got to go really dark and twisted — those were the roles that made all of us who knew him smile and applaud. He was a great actor and a great man.”
Fudge was born in Wichita, Kan., and moved to Tucson, Ariz., with his family at age 5. He graduated from the U. of Arizona, where he was a theater major. In 1962-63 he was a member of Tucson folk music group the Ash Alley Singers. Later he moved to New York and became a member of the APA repertory troupe, appearing in a number of mostly small roles on Broadway from 1967-69, including in productions of “You Can’t Take It With You,” “The Cherry Orchard” and “Hamlet.”
The actor made his smallscreen debut in a 1972 episode of “Gunsmoke” and worked steadily in the medium for the better part of four decades. Fudge guest starred in a memorable 1975 episode of “MASH” as a wounded captain who believes he is Jesus Christ.
In NBC’s 1977-78 sci-fi series “Man From Atlantis,” starring Patrick Duffy, Fudge played C.W. Crawford; he played Det. Commissioner Kimbrough on NBC crime drama “Eischied” (1979), starring Joe Don Baker. In another recurring stint, he played Dr. Van Adams in ABC’s fashion-industry sudser “Paper Dolls” (1984). In the 1992-93 CBS crime drama “Bodies of Evidence,” which starred Lee Horsley and George Clooney, Fudge played Chief Frank Leland. None of these proved to be long-running series, however.
Fudge had recurring roles on “Dynasty” and “L.A. Law,” but the actor appeared so frequently on television that it was not uncommon for him to appear multiple times on a series in different roles, as he did on “Hawaii Five-O,” “Lou Grant,” “The A-Team,” “Columbo” and “Murder, She Wrote.”
Fudge also appeared in many telepics, including “The Blue Knight,” “Children of An Lac” and “I Know My First Name Is Steven.”
He made his last bigscreen appearance in the Coen brothers’ 2001 film “The Man Who Wasn’t There.”
Fudge continued to work steadily until 2009, a year in which he guested in episodes of “Big Love,” “The Closer” and “The Office” and appeared in the Hallmark Channel telepic “Relative Stranger.”
He is survived by his wife, Kathy; a son and two daughters; and a grandson.