Dobie Gillis actor Steve Franken dies at 80

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Steve Franken

Steve Franken

Comedic character actor Steve Franken, who portrayed braggart rich kid Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. in the 1959-63 TV series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, died Friday in Los Angeles. He was 80.

The cause was cancer, his wife Jean said.

The second cousin of Minnesota Senator and humorist Al Franken, he portrayed Bud in the 2001 theatrical cartoon movie The Trumpet of the Swan.

Franken voiced Professor Eugene Atwater in the short-lived 1996 Warner Bros. animated series Road Rovers.

He guested as the voice of Rundle in the 1993 Batman episode “The Mechanic,” and was Mr. Beal in the 1999 Detention episodes “Little Miss Popular” and “Comedy of Terrors.” In 2000, he guested as Mr. Janus in the Static Shock episode “Grounded.”

Franken provided additional voices in Smurfs (1981), The Adventures of Don Coyote and Sancho Panda (1990) and Todd McFarlane’s Spawn (1997).

He was born Stephen Robert Franken in Queens, New York on May 27, 1932. A Cornell University graduate, he began acting in New York City in such plays as Inherit the Wind, the fictionalized drama about the Scopes “Monkey Trial.”

He appeared six times in different roles on the sitcom Bewitched.

Franken guested in 1963’s “The Case of the Deadly Verdict,” the only Perry Mason episode in which the famed fictional lawyer had a client who was convicted.

In 2004, his role in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis won him a TV Land Award nomination for Favorite Fashion Plate – Male.

His first marriage, to Julia Carter, ended in divorce.

Besides his wife, Steve Franken is survived by their daughter, Anne; two daughters from his first marriage, Emily Franken and Abigail Glass; and two grandchildren.

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