Stage actor Darrell Sandeen dies at 78

TV credits include 'Big Love,' 'Bonanza'

Darrell Sandeen, a member of the original national touring company for "My Fair Lady" who appeared in more than 80 musical theater productions, died Jan. 26 in Los Angeles after suffering a fall at home, which resulted in a brain hemorrhage. He was 78.

Born in Chicago, Sandeen moved to New York, where he performed on Broadway and off-Broadway, then came to Los Angeles, where he worked in television and film as well as on stage.

His credits include the Broadway productions of "Here's Love," "A Joyful Noise," "The Fig Leaves Are Falling" and "Young Abe Lincoln," in which he played the title role. He was featured in the off-Broadway revival of "Can-Can" and played Big Jule in "Guys and Dolls" in a performance for President Johnson at the White House.

Sandeen toured with two national companies of "My Fair Lady" and with "The Great White Hope," starring Brock Peters, which played the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles. He also toured with "Oklahoma" (as Judd) and in "Our Town" and performed on stage in "Carousel," "Oliver!" "The Rainmaker" and "The Sound of Music."

His play credits include "Young Martin Luther King" and Shakespeare plays including "Hamlet," "Taming of the Shrew" and "King Lear," the latter in the title role.

On the West Coast, he was seen in "1776," "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" (for which he won a Drama-Logue Award), "Man From La Mancha" (as Don Quixote and the governor) and "Brecht, Sacred and Profane" at the Mark Taper Forum.

Among Sandeen's television credits were "Big Love," "Bonanza," "Father Murphy," "Route 66" and "Feather and Father." He also appeared in films including "L.A. Confidential" (1997), "Blazing Saddles" (1974) and most recently "Satin," out this year.

Sandeen was featured in commercials for companies such as Sentry Insurance, McDonald's and Miller High Life and Progressive Insurance. He recently completed a documentary, "H.M.," which will be released in March.

Sandeen is survived by his wife, Linda; a son, Eric Sandeen; a brother, Richard Sandeen; a nephew and three nieces.

Services will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Studio City, with a reception to follow.
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