Steven Gilborn, stage, film and television actor who played the father of Ellen DeGeneres’ character on “Ellen,” died of cancer in North Chatham, N.Y., on Jan. 2. He was 72.
Gilborn also played the math teacher on “The Wonder Years” and appeared on TV shows including “Damages,” “The Bernie Mac Show,” “NYPD Blue,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “The West Wing,” “The Practice,” “L.A. Law,” “Columbo” and “Law & Order.”
His film credits include “Nurse Betty” “Doctor Doolittle,” “The Brady Bunch Movie” and “The Late Shift.” For many years, Gilborn was also active in the Interact Theatre Company in Los Angeles.
Born in New Rochelle, N.Y., Gilborn graduated Swarthmore College and earned a Ph.D. in dramatic literature and humanities from Stanford. During the 1960s, he taught at UC Berkeley, MIT and Columbia, leaving academic life to become an actor in 1970.
The deep-voiced actor played a wide range of British and American characters including Prospero in “The Tempest” and Benedick in “Much Ado About Nothing” at The Folger Theater in Washington, D.C.
Among his other stage roles were in Wendy Wasserstein’s “Isn’t It Romantic” at Playwrights Horizons in New York City, “Awake and Sing” at the McCarter Theater at Princeton and at the Harvard’s Loeb Theater. He also appeared onstage in “The Time of Your Life,” “Another Part of the Forest,” “Talley’s Folley” and “The Cocktail Hour.”
Gilborn is survived by his wife of 42 years, photographer Karen Halverson, two daughters and four grandchildren.
A memorial for Gilborn will be held at the Spencertown Academy in Spencertown, N.Y. on February 7.