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‘Seinfeld’ Actor Daniel von Bargen Dies at 64

Daniel von Bargen, a prolific character actor best known for his role as George’s lazy boss Mr. Kruger on “Seinfeld,” as Commandant Edwin Spangler, the military veteran who oversees the cadets at Marlin Academy, on TV’s “Malcolm in the Middle,” and for his role in a two-part episode of “The West Wing” in which he played Air Force General Ken Shannon, died March 1 in Montgomery, Ohio, after a long illness. He was 64 and had been dealing with health issues for the last five years.

Von Bargen was known for roles as irate or defiant cops, district attorneys, judges, and other authority figures. But he also spent a good deal of his time onstage.

The actor had most recently appeared in Thomas Edward Seymour’s 2009 feature “London Betty,” in which he starred.

But mostly von Bargen was relegated to small but frequently memorable supporting roles.

His film credits include “The Silence of the Lambs,” Woody Allen’s “Shadows and Fog,” “Basic Instinct,” “RoboCop 3,” “Rising Sun,” “Six Degrees of Separation,” “Philadelphia,” submarine thriller “Crimson Tide,” “Lord of Illusions,” “Broken Arrow,” “G.I. Jane,” Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad,” Kevin Costner starrer “The Postman,” “The General’s Daughter,” “Snow Falling on Cedars,” the Coen brothers’ “O, Brother Where Art Thou?,” the feature adaptation of “Shaft” and Jim Carrey starrer “The Majestic.”

In addition to “Seinfeld,” he appeared on daytime soaps “All My Children” as Lt. Cody in 1994-95 and on “Guiding Light” as Joe Morrison in 1993.

In HBO’s 1995 biopic “Truman,” starring Gary Sinise, von Bargen had a good opportunity to showcase his skills in the role of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. He also appeared in the HBO telepic “Citizen Cohn,” in which he played J. Edgar Hoover’s protege Clyde Tolson.

He guested on shows including “NYPD Blue,” “New York Undercover,” “The Pretender,” “The X-Files,” “Arliss,” “Party of Five,” “The Practice,” “Ally McBeal,” “Judging Amy,” “The West Wing” and “Law & Order.”

Born in Cincinnati, von Bargen majored in drama at Purdue University. He worked for years with the Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island. He made his Broadway debut in Larry Gelbart’s “Mastergate” in 1989 — playing a military figure, Major Manley Battle — and subsequently appeared Off Broadway in productions of shows including “Beggars in the House of Plenty,” “Macbeth,” “The Cherry Orchard,” “Hurlyburly” and “Uncle Vanya.”

Von Bargen made his screen debut in a 1974 segment of PBS’ “Great Performances” called “Feasting With Panthers,” which followed Oscar Wilde’s five years in prison. He worked occasionally on television until about 1990, after which he made steady appearances on the smallscreen for decades, including in many TV movies.

 

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