Richard Jaeckel

Character actor Richard Jaeckel, whose acting career began in 1943, died Saturday of an undisclosed illness at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital. He was 70.

Appearing in nearly 50 films since World War II, Jaeckel garnered a best supporting Oscar nomination for his role in the Paul Newman-Henry Fonda film “Sometimes a Great Notion” in 1971.

Born in Long Beach, Oct. 10, 1926, Jaeckel attended Hollywood High and began his film career by working as a delivery boy for 20th Century Fox.

Jaeckel’s big break came in 1943 when he appeared as a teenage Marine in “Guadalcanal Diary.”

In 1944, Jaeckel entered World War II via the U.S. Navy. He was discharged in 1948 and the following year appeared with John Wayne and Forrest Tucker in “Sands of Iwo Jima.”

During the next 20 years, Jaeckel played a mixed bag of film roles, including combat cowards, heavies, pugnacious heroes, misguided youths and even a few romantic roles.

A sampling of Jaeckel’s film credits include: “Wing and a Prayer,” “Come Back, Little Sheba,” “Platinum High School,” “The Gallant Hours,” “The Dirty Dozen,” “Herbie Goes Bananas,” “Starman” and “The King of the Kickboxers.”

In recent years, Jaeckel became well known as Lt. Ben Edwards on “Baywatch.” He also played Lt. Martin Quick from 1985-87 on the ABC-TV series “Spenser: For Hire,” starring Robert Urich.

Funeral arrangements were private.

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