Actor Dana Elcar died June 6 at in Ventura, California, of complications from pneumonia. He was 77.
Elcar was known for his role as Peter Thornton, the problem-solving boss on the longrunning ABC TV series “MacGyver.” It was a part he essentially perfected in the earlier TV series “Baretta” and “Black Sheep Squadron.”
Born to Danish immigrants in Ferndale, Michigan, Elcar moved to New York City in the early 1950s where he studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse. In 1955, Elcar made his Broadway debut opposite Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy in Roald Dahl’s “The Honeys.” Throughout the 1950s and ’60s, his career spanned Broadway and Off Broadway, where he appeared in the first American productions of Harold Pinter’s “The Dumbwaiter” and “The Caretaker,” and television with the series “Naked City,” “The Defenders” and “The Nurses,” among others.
In 1968, Elcar moved to Los Angeles to begin a movie career that would bring him over 40 credits, including “The Sting” and “All of Me.” On the West Coast, he was a founder of two theater companies, the L.A. Actor’s Theater and the Santa Paula Theater Center.
He is survived by his companion, Thelma M. Garcia, three daughters and a son.