Dabney Coleman, ‘Tootsie’ and ‘9 to 5’ Star, Dies at 92

Dabney Coleman, whose many films included “Tootsie,” “9 to 5” and “WarGames,” has died at age 92, his daughter announced Friday.

Singer Quincy Coleman confirmed her dad’s passing in a statement to media, writing, “My father crafted his time here on Earth with a curious mind, a generous heart and a soul on fire with passion, desire and humor that tickled the funny bone of humanity.”

“As he lived, he moved through this final act of his life with elegance, excellence and mastery. A teacher, a hero and a king, Dabney Coleman is a gift and blessing in life and in death as his spirit will shine through his work, his loved ones and his legacy … eternally,” she concluded.

“The great Dabney Coleman literally created, or defined, really — in a uniquely singular way — an archetype as a character actor. He was so good at what he did it’s hard to imagine movies and television of the last 40 years without him,” Ben Stiller wrote on X on Friday.

Coleman is arguably best known for playing the sexist boss that Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton daydream about killing in 1980’s “9 to 5.” He also played an arrogant soap opera director in the 1982 Dustin Hoffman comedy “Tootsie,” the boyfriend of Fonda’s character in 1981’s “On Golden Pond” and a military computer scientist thwarted by teen hacker Matthew Broderick in 1983’s “WarGames.”

His many other films include “Cloak and Dagger,” “You’ve Got Mail,” “Stuart Little” and “The Muppets Take Manhattan.”

His first film appearance was in 1965’s thriller “The Slender Thread” and his final movie role was as Raymond Holliday in Warren Beatty’s “Rules Don’t Apply” in 2016.

He gained notice for his 1976 role as the corrupt Mayor Merle Jeeter on Norman Lear’s satirical primetime soap “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” and went on to win a supporting actor Emmy in 1987 for his portrayal of a lawyer in the ABC TV movie “Sworn to Silence.”

He was nominated twice for playing the title character on the sitcom “Buffalo Bill,” which ran for two seasons on NBC. In 1994, he played outspoken news columnist Jack “Madman” Buckner on NBC and Spelling Television’s “Madman of the People.”

Coleman guest starred on series from the 1960s through 2010s, appearing on “The Fugitive,” “Kojak,” “Columbo,” “The Love Boat,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “NCIS,” to name a few.

In 2011 and ’12, he won SAG Awards as part of the ensemble of “Boardwalk Empire,” on which he played Commodore Louis Kaestner. In 2019, he played John Dutton Sr., the father of Kevin Costner’s character, on the Paramount series “Yellowstone.”

Coleman received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014.

He was born in Austin, Texas, on Jan. 3, 1932. He attended Virginia Military Institute and the University of Texas at Austin. When he was a law student, “Mildred Pierce” star Zachary Scott, who was also from Austin, convinced Coleman to pursue an acting career, according to the Associated Press.

He is survived by his four children, Meghan, Kelly, Randy and Quincy.

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