Henderson Forsythe, a Tony Award-winning character actor who played the sheriff in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and spent 31 years on the soap opera “As the World Turns,” died Monday in Williamsburg, Va. He was 88.

Forsythe won the Tony Award for outstanding featured actor in a musical in 1979 for his portrayal of Ed Earl Dodd, the profane sheriff in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” He later reprised the role in London and was nominated there for actor of the year in a musical.

Forsythe played Dr. David Stewart on “As the World Turns” from 1960 to 1991.

He had roles in movies, including “Silkwood” in 1983 and “End of the Line” in 1988. On the small screen, he appeared in episodes of “Law & Order” and “Eisenhower and Lutz” and played the Col. Harland Sanders in commercials for KFC restaurants.

But Forsythe’s love was theater. He also had roles in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” “A Delicate Balance,” “The Texas Trilogy” and “The Birthday Party.”

Forsythe was born in Macon, Mo. And graduated from the U. of Iowa, where he appeared in many productions and was a classmate of Tennessee Williams.