Character actor Bill Erwin, who played Arthur the bellhop in 1980’s “Somewhere in Time,” died Wednesday in Studio City, Calif., of natural causes. He was 96.
The pic, starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer, draws a cult following that meets annually in Michigan with fans dressing up in period clothes. Erwin would attend the gathering along with some of the other cast. He also was interviewed in a docu with the 20th anni edition of the DVD.
Thesp was also known for an episode of “Seinfeld” in which he played an embittered old man, for which he was Emmy-nommed.
Erwin studied at the Pasadena Playhouse, to which he later returned as a professor, and frequently performed in summer stock as well as regional stage, including the Laguna and La Jolla playhouses in 1940.
He switched to TV with recurring roles in such series as “I Love Lucy,” “Leave It to Beaver,” “Twilight Zone,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Perry Mason.” He continued to be featured on TV in skeins such as “Growing Pains,” “Who’s the Boss?” and “Married With Children” as well as on telepics including NBC’s “The Rainbow Patch.” His last TV credit was in NBC’s “My Name Is Earl” in 2006.
In later years, Erwin returned to the stage as a member of Theater 40 in Beverly Hills, where he wrote, produced and starred in a one-man show about Mark Twain’s long-lost brother. In 1983, he received an L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award for the Actors Forum production of “Old Friends.”
He also had a career in commercials for such products as Dreyer’s Ice Cream.
Erwin was a member of the Screen Actors Guild as well as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Among his survivors are sons, thesp Timothy “Toes” and producer Mike; daughters, Kelly, who works in animation, and thesp Lindsay; eight grandchildren, including thesp Jesse; a great-grandson; and a sister.