Orson Bean Fans Mourn 'Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman' Star's Tragic Death

Orson Bean, the comedian who became a star thanks to his appearances on To Tell The Truth and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and roles in countless TV shows, died Friday in a car accident in Venice, Los Angeles. He was 91 years old. His death left his fans and colleagues devastated.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office confirmed Bean was the victim of a traffic accident in the Venice neighborhood Friday night, reports KTLA. Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Brian Wendling said he was "clipped" by a vehicle and fell. Another driver struck him. Both drivers stopped and waited until police arrived.

Bean was born in Burlington, Vermont and served in the military. After his military service, he pursued an entertainment career, first as a musician and then as a stand-up comedian in the early 1950s. He soon became a Tonight Show staple, even appearing on the show when Jack Paar was hosting. After Johnny Carson took over, Bean became a regular guest and appeared on the show more than 200 times.

Even as he continued to blaze a career on Broadway, he appeared on television frequently and also became a known celebrity through his game show appearances. He appeared on various iterations of To Tell The Truth, The $10,000 Pyramid, The Match Game, Tattletales, Showoffs, Celebrity Sweepstakes, He Said, She Said and You're Putting Me On.

In the 1990s, Bean starred in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman as Loren Bray, appearing in 146 episodes from 1993 to 1998. After the show wrapped, he racked up guest appearances in The King of Queens, Ally McBeal, Will & Grace, 7th Heaven, Cold Case, Modern Family, Two and a Half Men, Desperate Housewives and Superstore. He never retired, making his final television appearance in the Grace and Frankie episode "The Scent" for Netflix.

Bean also starred in several movies, including Anatomy of a Murder, Being John Malkovich, Innerspace and Forty Deuce. He voiced Frodo and Bilbo in the 1980 TV animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein's The Return of the King.

Bean is survived by his third wife, Wonder Years actress Alley Mills; daughter, Michele, from his first marriage; and sons Max and Ezekiel and daughter Susannah from his second marriage.


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