Ben Welden, a retired character actor who appeared in dozens of movies with such stars as Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Stewart, Bette Davis and Bela Lugosi, died Oct. 17 at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills following a lengthy illness. He was 96.Welden worked as a freelance actor until Warner Bros. put him under contract in 1937. He appeared in more than four dozen films from 1935-56, including “Hollywood Cavalcade,” “The Big Sleep,” “A Song is Born,” “Sorrowful Jones” and “Hollywood or Bust.” During World War II, Welden served in the U.S. Army in Oklahoma. Welden is survived by his sister, Ann Farber. In lieu of flowers, family suggests donations be made to the Motion Picture & Television Fund.