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Don Mitchell, the aide to the wheelchair-bound Raymond Burr on the 1970s NBC police series Ironside, died Sunday in Encino of natural causes. He was 70.
Mitchell played Mark Sanger, an ex-con who is persuaded by Robert T. Ironside to become his driver and assistant after the San Francisco chief of detectives is paralyzed from the waist down by a sniper’s bullet.
“Well, now, you lookin’ for a boy!” Sanger says in the pilot, which aired in March 1967. “No, just legs,” says Ironside. “You got ’em and I need ’em.”
Ironside also was assisted by Sgt. Ed Brown (Don Galloway) and plainclothes officer Eve Whitfield (Barbara Anderson). Mitchell returned as Sanger, who later became a lawyer in the series, for a 1993 reunion telefilm.
Created by Collier Young (and with a great theme song by Quincy Jones), Ironside ran for eight seasons, until January 1975. The show was revived by NBC this season but canceled after just four episodes, with Blair Underwood as the title character.
A native of Houston who attended UCLA, Mitchell starred opposite Pam Grier in the sequel Scream Blacula Scream (1973), playing an ex-police officer with an interest in the occult.
He also appeared on such TV shows as I Dream of Jeannie, The Fugitive, McMillan & Wife, Wonder Woman and Matlock.
Mitchell was married to actress Judy Pace (Peyton Place, Brian’s Song) from 1972-86. She later married former Major League Baseball star Curt Flood.
Survivors include daughter Julia Pace Mitchell (The Young and the Restless).
Mitchell’s death was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
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