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.