×

Than Wyenn, Character Actor Known For ‘Twilight Zone,’ ‘Imitation of Life,’ Dies at 95

Than Wyenn, a character actor whose long list of film and TV credits ranged from “Imitation of Life” and “Being There” to “Twilight Zone” and “Quincy, M.D.,” has died. He was 95.

Wyenn died Jan. 30 at the Motion Picture and Television Fund home in Woodland Hills, Calif., according to his family.

Wyenn worked extensively in film and TV from the late 1940s through the mid-1980s. He was also active as a Jewish humorist and dramatist. He served for 37 years as a consultant to the Los Angeles Bureau of Jewish Affairs and was a founder of the city’s Yiddish Kinder Theater.

A native of New York City, Wyenn began acting as a teenager and studied with such notable teachers as Lee Strasberg, Harry Coult and Michael Chekhov. He toured nationally with a Shakespearean troupe and during WWII, worked on a farm in Vermont as part of the war effort.

After the war, Wyenn and his wife of 71 years, Guy, moved to Los Angeles. His appearance in the stage play “Once Upon a Tailor” brought him to the attention of an agent, which launched his film and TV career. He had been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1966.

Wyenn’s notable film credits included “Pete Kelly’s Blues,” “Black Sunday” and “The Other Side of Midnight.” He was a staple of 1960s and ’70s television, with credits spanning “Dragnet,” “Perry Mason,” Have Gun Will Travel,” “Zane Grey Theater,” “Playhouse 90,” “Zorro” and “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” through “Police Story,” “Emergency,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Barnaby Jones,” “Hart to Hart” and countless telepics.

Wyenn appeared with Russell Johnson (of “Gilligan’s Island” fame) and Albert Salmi in the 1960 “Twilight Zone” episode “Execution,” written by series creator Rod Serling, about a 19th-century murderer who is transported into the 20th century via a time machine.

After winding down his acting career in the mid-1980s, Wyenn turned to painting and traveling with a focus on documenting Jewish life around the world.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons and five grandchildren. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles or Bridge House in Boulder, Colo.

(Pictured: Wyenn, center, in “Imitation of Life” with Robert Alda and Lana Turner)

More Biz

  • A police line forbids the access

    L.A. County Orders Closure of Beaches and Hiking Trails

    Those hoping to escape to the beach this weekend after being pent up at home are out of luck. On Friday, Los Angeles County ordered the closure of beaches and hiking trails, hoping to avoid the crowds that could cause the spread of the coronavirus. State and local officials had previously ordered the closure of [...]

  • Viacom HQ LA

    ViacomCBS Sets $2.5 Billion Debt Offering as Company Faces Tough Scrutiny

    ViacomCBS has disclosed plans for a $2.5 billion debt offering, an effort that comes as the newly merged company faces tough scrutiny of its growth strategy and balance sheet amid the coronavirus-related economic crisis. ViacomCBS said it would seek to raise $2.5 billion for cash that may be used to help pay down some of [...]

  • A2IM

    A2IM’s Indie Week and Libera Awards Go Virtual for 2020

    In yet another sign of the times, the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) today announced that the 2020 installment of its Indie Week conference — the world’s biggest gathering point specifically for the independent music community — is moving online this year, obviously due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event, which also includes the [...]

  • Amber Heard Johnny Depp

    Johnny Depp Allowed to Pursue Defamation Suit Against Amber Heard

    A Virginia judge on Friday refused to dismiss Johnny Depp’s lawsuit against Amber Heard, allowing him to proceed with a claim that she defamed him in a Washington Post opinion piece. In the piece, published in December 2018, Heard alluded to her previous claims that Depp had assaulted her during their marriage, though she did [...]

  • Disney World crowd

    Disneyland and Walt Disney World Now Indefinitely Closed Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

    While Disneyland and Walt Disney World had initially planned to close through March in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and comply with shelter-in-place guidelines, the U.S. Disney parks have now announced that they will “remain closed until further notice.” “While there is still much uncertainty with respect to the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content