Dabney Coleman


So after a pleasantly-long drought of them dying, I get to write about a Columbo killer. Alas for Dabney Coleman, I can’t remember much about his 90s episode bar the Little Richard cameo. Which is saying far more about the episode than Coleman, as he knew how to be a smarmy love-to-hate baddie.

(And in fairness on the Falk front, he also had a supporting role in the classic “Double Shock”.)

The mustachioed thesp was an unheralded regular of movies like The Towering Inferno and TV like That Girl before making his mark as the corrupt mayor in cult-favourite soaps parody Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. This soon transferred to the slimy misogynist boss in 9 to 5 who gets delightfully outfoxed by the Fonda-Tomlin-Parton office lady trio, and he kept similarly irredeemable as the director in Tootsie. He proved capable of gentler roles such as Jane Fonda’s boyfriend in On Golden Pond, and continued to alternate between sympathetic figures and comic baddies throughout a CV that included The Muppets Take Manhattan, Cloak & Dagger, WarGames, Stuart Little, and the principal in Recess.

Into the 2010s, he had a recurring spot in Boardwalk Empire. His final acting roles were in 2019, then after that he was abducted by Amazonians and never heard from again. He was 92 and picked by three teams.

Dabney Coleman
3 January 1932 – 16 May 2024, aged 92
3 TEAMS (💀💀💀💀💀 5 POINTS)