‘L.A. Law’ Star Larry Drake Dies at 66

Larry Drake dead

Emmy-winning actor Larry Drake, who played Benny on “L.A. Law,” died Thursday, his rep confirmed. He was 66.

A cause of death has not yet been revealed. According to TMZ, which first reported the news, Drake was found dead by his friend in his Hollywood home.

Drake played the developmentally disabled office assistant Benny Stulwicz on “L.A. Law.,” which was praised for handling Benny’s odyssey in a very progressive fashion, especially for the time, as he gets the job, finds his own apartment and gets a girlfriend over time, sometimes having to fight for his legal rights with the help of the attorneys who employ him. Drake recurred on the series from 1987-94.

He was Emmy nominated for the role three times, in 1988, 1989 and 1990, winning the first two times out. He reprised the role for “L.A. Law: The Movie” in 2002.

The actor was equally memorable in Sam Raimi’s stylish Liam Neeson fantasy action film “Darkman” (1990) as the villainous Robert G. Durant, appearing in the sequels as well.

He also starred as the homicidal physician of the title in the 1992 horror movie “Dr. Giggles.”

Drake had a supporting role in Rowan Atkinson’s hit 1997 comedy “Bean” as Elmer, and he appeared in “American Pie 2” in 2001 as Natalie’s dad.

In television, Drake was a series regular on ABC’s sci-fi series “Prey” in 1998 as Dr. Walter Attwood. Debra Messing and Frankie Faison were also in the cast.

In the 2000s, he nabbed a handful of voicework roles for animated TV series and guested on “Six Feet Under,” “Crossing Jordan,” “7th Heaven” and “Boston Legal.”

The actor had most recently appeared in the 2009 horror film “Dead Air,” directed by and starring his “L.A. Law” co-star Corbin Bernsen.

Drake was born in Tulsa and graduated from the University of Oklahoma.

The actor began appearing in small roles in movies in the early 1970s and made his television debut in a 1983 adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth” on PBS’ “American Playhouse.”

He was married to actress Ruth de Sosa from 1989 until their divorce two years later.

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  1. Erick C. says:

    Larry was a wonderful acting teacher. I got to study with him for 3 years. RIP Larry Drake.

  2. Kay profitt says:

    Larry Drake was great in his roll as Benny. I thought all this time he was mentally handicap.RIP Larry.

  3. Gianna Macke says:

    L A Law was my favorite show back when it aired. Larry Drake’s role as Benny Stulwicz was perfectly done and he was so much a part of the group as all the other actors. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. May he Rest in Peace!

  4. Lisa says:

    Larry portrayed Bubba Ritter in Dark Night of the Scarecrow, he was absolutely brilliant in that movie! “Bubba didn’t do it!” Rest in Peace Mr. Drake.

  5. Correction: Larry was actually born in February, 1949. He was 67. He was only married once. The marriage to Marina Drujko was someone’s fevered imagination on Wikipedia and blindly picked up on IMDB and elsewhere. Never happened. I know. Larry was my friend for over 40 years. I was the best man at his first wedding and probably would have been the best man at any second wedding. In any event, as far as he knew, he never even met the mysterious Marina Drujko.

    • Jim Beaver says:

      A Google search on Marina Drujko indicates she has been married to or engaged to about 30 people over the past decade, including many celebrities such as Tim Curry, Lenny Von Dohlen, Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Apparently, anyone can be married to someone famous on the internet. This seems like a nice story for Variety to investigate, along with a correction to Larry’s obituary.

  6. Gregg says:

    Actually I think his television debut was as Bubba Ritter in the 1981TV horror movie “Dark Night of the Scarecrow.”

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