Character actor Sam Menning dies at 85

Credits include 'My Name Is Earl,' 'The Prestige'

Sam Menning, a photographer turned character actor who specialized in playing down-on-his-luck folks, died March 31 of emphysema at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. He was 85.

Menning played the Picked Egg Guy and a homeless man on NBC's "My Name Is Earl," a blind stagehand in Christopher Nolan's "The Prestige" (2006), a homeless man in "Speedway Junky" (1999) and a wino in Mel Brooks' "Life Stinks" (1991). He also appeared in the TV shows "In Case of Emergency" and "Yes, Dear."

Menning had his own photography business in New York beginning in the 1950s. Bonnie Howard, a talent agent who made Menning her first client, noted that he was the last photographer to shoot pinup girl Bettie Page.

Later, Menning worked as a gaffer, still photographer, grip, lighting technician, etc. in the 1980s before segueing into acting.

Menning's survivors include his brother, Rod Menning; his daughter, Sherree Casusol, and her four children; his companion of 48 years, Karina Von Wattidel; and his beloved cat, Admiral Chittendon.

A service will take place Wednesday at Angeleno Valley Mortuary in North Hollywood.