Longtime Character Actor Billy Beck Dies at 91

Half-century career included two Billy Wilder films, scores of TV shows.

Billy Beck, a character actor who worked in films and television for more than a half-century, died June 29 of congestive heart failure at an assisted care facility in Glendale, Calif. He was 91.

Beck appeared in such films as Billy Wilder pair Irma la Douce (1963) and The Fortune Cookie (1966), Baby Boom (1987) and Just Like Heaven (2005). In the latter, he had a scene in which he walked down a hall with his bare butt exposed outside his hospital gown.

Beck also appeared in scores of television shows, including My Three Sons, The Twilight Zone, Branded, The Monkees, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Lou Grant, The Jeffersons, Son of a Beach and Dollhouse. He was quite active onscreen even in his later years.

Beck did many commercials and was a regular with the San Fernando Valley Bango Band, which played for charitable events and retirement homes.

Born Frank Billerbeck in Philadelphia on May 26, 1920, Beck fought with the Allied forces in France during World War II and returned to Paris in 1948, where he began his show business career in French films. He became a regular performer at Harry’s Bar in that city and was a featured clown with Cirque Medrano.

Beck is survived by a great nephew and a great niece.

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