You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Paul Kent dies at 80

Actor-director was key figure in L.A. theater

Film, television and stage actor-director Paul Kent, a leading figure in the Los Angeles and regional theatrical community for more than 50 years, died at his Hollywood Hills home on Friday, Oct. 7. He was 80 and succumbed after a lengthy battle with multiple myeloma.

In addition to decades as an actor in films, television and the legitimate stage, Kent founded 35 years ago and was artistic director of the original Melrose Theater. He subsequently partnered with actress Jomarie Ward, and together they produced, taught and directed a wide variety of theater, eliciting DramaLogue and Drama Critics Circle awards, including the Margaret Harford Award naming the Melrose “the most consistently praiseworthy theater in Los Angeles.” In between their own productions, the theater was leased for many years to HBO Films and independent theatrical productions.

Born in Brooklyn, Kent trained as an actor and theatrical entrepreneur at the Pasadena Playhouse, interrupting his career with a stint in the Army during the Korean War.

In addition to his prolific work as an actor, he was an activist largely responsible for the Equity Waiver policy in Hollywood. He also served as an assistant to prominent acting coach Sanford Meisner, was the first actor signed to a contract by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s Desilu Studios and was selected to be Ball’s assistant director during her time developing new performers at her Desilu Theater.

In a career spanning more than 100 television and feature film appearances, he was first seen onscreen in “December Bride” and “My Three Sons” and continued through “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” “Hawaii Five-O” to “The West Wing,” “Frasier” and “E.R.” He recurred on “Hotel,” “Falcon Crest,” “Mod Squad,” “T.J. Hooker” and “Lou Grant”as well as the soap operas “Port Charles” and “The Young and the Restless.” Among two dozen movies for television were the original and a later second version of Manson murders story “Helter Skelter,” as well as 1973’s “The Alpha Caper,” with Henry Fonda and Leonard Nimoy; “Hoover”; “The Astronaut”; “The President’s Plane Is Missing”; “Family Flight”; and “Death Valley.”

Film credits include “Seconds,” with Rock Hudson; “Lifeguard”; “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3”; and “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn,” as Commander Beach; and Alex Monty Canawati’s “Return to Babylon.”

Onstage, he appeared as Nathan Detroit with Jack Jones in “Guys and Dolls”; John Saxon in “The Price”; Lainie Kazan, “Fiddler on the Roof”; Carole Cook and Barbara Rush, “Father’s Day”; William Shatner, “Otherwise Engaged”; and Richard Dreyfuss, “Mamma’s House.”

Services will be held on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 3 p.m. at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills. He is survived by his wife of 32 years, actress-writer Madelyn Cain, and three daughters.

Donations may be made to Multiple Myeloma research (www.myeloma.org) or Intrepidfallenheroesfund.org

More Scene

  • Katie HolmesAT&T Presents: Untold Stories Luncheon

    Katie Holmes, Kal Penn Help Decide Winner of $1 Million Filmmaker Grant

    Tribeca Film Festival and AT&T gave one young filmmaker a million and one reasons to rejoice at the “Untold Stories” third annual competition. After a nerve-wracking 10-minute long pitch in front of over 850,000 live stream audience members and a panel consisting of celebrities and industry leaders, filmmaker Kate Tsang was awarded $1 million Monday [...]

  • Laurie Metcalf, John Lithgow'Hillary and Clinton'

    Why John Lithgow Worried About Starring in Broadway's 'Hillary and Clinton'

    When Lucas Hnath first conceived of “Hillary and Clinton” in 2008, he was writing for and about a very different America. Now, a total reimagining of the show has made its way to Broadway with Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow in the titular roles. At the opening on Thursday night, the cast and creatives talked [...]

  • Patrick Page, Amber Grey, Eva Noblezada,

    'Hadestown' Took 12 Years to Get to Broadway, but It's More Relevant Than Ever

    When “Hadestown” was first staged as a tiny, DIY theater project in Vermont, those involved could never have predicted that it was the start of a 12-year journey to Broadway — or how painfully relevant it would be when it arrived. At Wednesday night’s opening at the Walter Kerr Theatre, the cast and creatives discussed [...]

  • Mick Jagger

    Mick Jagger Makes First Post-Surgery Appearance at Rolling Stones Ballet Premiere

    Rock legend Mick Jagger made his first public appearance post-heart surgery on Thursday night to catch a glimpse of the world premiere of the Rolling Stones ballet “Porte Rouge.” “I hope you are going to enjoy this wonderful new ballet, and, of course, the music,” the frontman declared in a pre-recorded message to the audience [...]

  • Adam Driver appears at the curtain

    Adam Driver on Starring in 'Burn This' for a Second Time

    The Hudson Theatre’s new production of “Burn This” marks its first Broadway revival since it premiered on the Great White Way in 1987, but Adam Driver is no stranger to the work. He starred as Pale in a Juilliard production of the Lanford Wilson drama when he was still a student — and only now, [...]

  • PMC Event Rome

    Film, Fashion, Formula E Mix at Rome E-Prix Bash

    Film, fashion and Formula E auto-racing fused during a dinner and celebration of the Rome E-Prix on Thursday at the Palazzo Dama by the Piazza del Popolo in the heart of the Eternal City.  Guests mingled and sipped cocktails as hors d’oeuvres were passed around in a former home of the Italian nobility with conversation [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content