Thesp Norman Rose died after a brief illness, in Upper Nyack, N.Y. Nov. 12. He was 87.
Born in Philadelphia, Rose came to New York in the early 1940s, and became active in theater, radio, and eventually television. He worked on and off Broadway and narrated radio programs including Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles.”
At the beginning of the television era, he performed in programs such as “The Big Story” and “Robert Montgomery Presents.”
During his theatrical career, Rose was a member of Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio. During World War II, he was one of a select group of actors recruited by the Office of War Information to broadcast news overseas to Europe.
In 1948 Rose co-founded New Stages, one of the first Off-Broadway repertory companies, where he coproduced “Respectful Prostitute” by Sartre.
His widely recognized deep voice was heard in countless television commercials and narrations from the 1950s to the present. For over a decade, he was the voice for Juan Valdez, who picked “only the ripest beans.” Rose recently was the narrator for the 70th Anniversary broadcast of the Oscar Awards. He was known in the business as “the Voice of God,” and provided the voice of God in Woody Allen’s 1975 film, “Love and Death.”
Also in film, he played Woody Allen’s lawyer in “The Front” and one of Sean Connery’s robbery victims in the 1971 heist flick, “The Anderson Tapes.” From 1969 to 1974 he was Dr. Polk, the psychiatrist in ABC’s “One Life To Live” and “All My Children.” He guested on shows including “Naked City” and “Law and Order.”
During the 1970s Rose was a member of the faculty at the Juilliard School’s Drama Department, headed by John Houseman.
He is survived by his wife, Catherine; three daughters, a son, a sister, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.