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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