Creative Person of the Week

10 Dec

Dana Elcar (October 10, 1927 – June 6, 2005) was an American television and movie character actor. Although he appeared in about 40 films, his most memorable role was on the 1980s and 1990s television series MacGyver as Peter Thornton, an administrator working for the Phoenix Foundation. Elcar had appeared in the pilot episode of MacGyver as Andy Colson (a completely different character), but was later cast as Peter Thornton, making his first regular appearance in the 11th episode of the first season.

Elcar was born as Ibsen Dana Elcar in Ferndale, Michigan. Elcar was an alumnus of the University of Michigan. Elcar was also a student of legendary acting coach Sanford Meisner. He brought this education to bear when in 1986, with fellow character actor William Lucking, he formed the Santa Paula Theater Center. Elcar sat as artistic director for six years.

Elcar had supporting roles in Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff, W.C. Fields and Me, The Sting, 2010, All of Me, and Baretta, in which he played Baretta’s supervisor, Inspector Shiller. Another of his recurring roles was as Sheriff Patterson #1 on Dark Shadows. He guest starred in numerous other shows.

In 1991, Elcar began to develop glaucoma. This condition was written into the show, MacGyver, beginning with the sixth season episode “Blind Faith” and continuing through the remainder of that season and the entire seventh season, with Elcar’s character developing the disease. The sixth season finale, Hind-Sight, was a clip show using Pete Thornton’s upcoming eye surgery as a framing device. After MacGyver, Elcar made a guest appearance in “Virus”, a 1993 episode of Law & Order, in which he played a man who blamed his diabetes-caused blindness on his former physician, and whose grandson murdered other patients as revenge.

On June 6, 2005, Elcar died at the Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, California due to complications from pneumonia. He was 77 years old.

(Excert taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana_Elcar#Life_and_career)

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