Ross Elliott, a prolific character actor whose four-decade career spanned Broadway, TV and feature films, died Thursday at the Motion Picture Home in Calabasas following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 82.
Elliott, a native New Yorker who began his career in the late 1930s as a member of Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater and performed in the radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds,” is best remembered for his body of TV work including recurring roles on “I Love Lucy,” “The Jack Benny Show” and as Sheriff Abbott on “The Virginians.”
Elliott essayed dozens of other roles in popular TV shows of the 1950s and ’60s including “The Adventures of Jim Bowie,” “Studio One,” “Perry Mason,” “Zane Grey Theater,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Rawhide,” “Mr. Lucky,” “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Mission Impossible” and “I Spy.” Elliott also had a recurring role on “General Hospital.”
His stage career began during World War II when, in the U.S. military, he performed in Irving Berlin’s “This Is the Army.” He also appeared in the 1943 Warner Bros. film version. He later toured with Walter Huston in the stage production of “Apple of His Eye” before relocating to Los Angeles to seek a career in TV and film.
Elliott enjoyed a productive film career in such pics as “Woman on the Run,” “Kelly’s Heroes,” “Skyjacked,” “The Towering Inferno” and “Gable and Lombard.”
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Sue, his sister, Shirley Frisch and a niece, Judy Frisch, who serves as a VP of marketing and publicity for TV production company.
Services will be held 1 p.m. Thursday at Mount Sinai Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, family suggests donations in Elliott’s name be made to the Motion Picture Fund.