Richard Erdman, 93, Character Actor Known to Generations, Dies


Richard Erdman, a personality actor who spanned eras, identified to up to date audiences because the perpetual pupil Leonard on the sitcom “Community” and to older generations for his roles in motion pictures like “Stalag 17” and tv reveals like “The Twilight Zone,” died on Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 93.

His loss of life was introduced by the movie historian Alan Okay. Rode, a good friend.

On “Community,” seen from 2009 to 2015, totally on NBC however afterward Hulu, Mr. Erdman performed the singularly annoying member of a gaggle of aged college students who have been referred to as the Hipsters as a result of they’d had hip replacements.

His character claimed to have been a member of the kid comedy troupe the Little Rascals — and whereas Mr. Erdman himself was not, he performed tons of of different roles in a profession that started within the 1940s.

Among his best-known early motion pictures was “Stalag 17,” the celebrated 1953 Billy Wilder darkish comedy set in a German prisoner-of-war camp throughout World War II, during which he performed the barracks chief Sgt. Hoffy Hoffman.

His quite a few roles in every part from the Bing Crosby-Donald O’Connor musical “Anything Goes” (1956) to the Pearl Harbor epic “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (1970) have been often small however usually memorable.

Writing in The New York Times in 1986 concerning the 1951 movie noir “Cry Danger,” Howard Thompson mentioned Mr. Erdman’s “earthy, funny con man, a Marine veteran with a wooden leg” was “the role you’ll remember.” Mr. Erdman was one of many supporting performers in Marlon Brando’s first film, “The Men” (1950), cited for his or her “excellent” work by Bosley Crowther of The Times in his evaluation.

Mr. Erdman was born on June 1, 1925, in Enid, Okla., about 90 miles north of Oklahoma City, and grew up in Colorado Springs earlier than transferring to Hollywood, the place he enrolled at Hollywood High and was quickly found and signed to Warner Bros.

He started showing on TV within the early 1950s. He had a recurring function on the Ray Bolger sitcom “Where’s Raymond?” from 1953 to 1955, and was additionally seen on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Make Room for Daddy” and lots of different reveals.

Among his few lead roles was that of Patrick McNulty, a boorish man who causes mischief when he’s given a stopwatch that may cease time, within the 1963 “Twilight Zone” episode “A Kind of a Stopwatch.”

In the 1960s and ’70s he performed recurring characters on “Lou Grant” and “Perry Mason” and made visitor appearances on dozens of different collection, together with “Love, American Style,” “That Girl,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “The Six Million Dollar Man.” His final tv function was in an episode of the sitcom “Dr. Ken” in 2017.

In a Facebook put up, Ken Jeong, the star of “Dr. Ken,” who was additionally within the forged of “Community,” praised Mr. Erdman as an actor who “nailed every take” and “always made me laugh hard.”

In addition to showing on each the large and small screens, Mr. Erdman did voice work for quite a few cartoon reveals, together with “The Smurfs,” “Scooby-Doo” and “Duck Tales.”

Mr. Erdman’s spouse and daughter died earlier than him. No quick relations survive.



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