TV, Film and Stage Actor Booth Colman Dies at 91

Courtesy of Photofest

Colman had a recurring role in the 'Planet of the Apes' television series and played Ebenezer Scrooge on stage more than 500 times

Television, film and stage actor Booth Colman died Dec. 15 at the age of 91. He died in his sleep at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, his niece, Shellie Lavaris, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Colman was born in Portland, Ore., and got his start in show business as a child actor in local theater performances. He later attended the University of Washington and the University of Michigan, where he launched a radio career. He had a knack for languages and spoke five fluently.

As a young man, Colman studied acting under Maurice Evans, who played Dr. Zaius in the Planet of the Apes films. Colman later took on the role of Dr. Zaius for the Planet of the Apes television series. The role thrust Colman into the spotlight for fans of the show, who regularly sent him mail asking for autographs and invited him to appear at film conventions.

Colman had a prolific television career with recurring roles in Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, Star Trek, The Waltons, Route 66, The Rifleman, The Monkees, Mission Impossible, My Three Sons, Gilligan’s Island, I Dream of Jeanie, The Flying Nun, Hogan’s Heroes, Frasier, The Young and the Restless, General Hospital and many more.

His film credits included Big Sky, Them!, World Without End, Julius Caesar, Mary Jane, The Errand Boy, Wild on the Beach and Norma Rae.

On Broadway, Colman worked alongside Basil Rathbone, Fredric March and Charlie Chaplin Jr.

Between film and television appearances, Colman remained active in theater work. He particularly enjoyed playing Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles DickensA Christmas Carol, a performance he repeated more than 500 times since 1981 at the Meadow Brook Theatre in Rochester, Mich.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to the Actors Fund of America, National Federation for the Blind or United Jewish Appeal. Memories of Colman can be shared with the family at familyofboothcolman@gmail.com.

 

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