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CHiPs Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

From September 1977 to May 1983, "CHiPs" was a staple program on NBC's lineup. Starring Erik Estrada as Officer Frank Llewellyn "Ponch" Poncherello and Larry Wilcox as Officer Jon Baker, "CHiPs" followed this unlikely pairing of highway patrolmen as they responded to everything from stolen vehicles to massive freeway pileups. The show, which also featured Robert Pine as Sgt. Joseph Getraer, ran for an impressive six seasons, comprised of 139 episodes.

For many, this sunny police procedural – notably the memorable title sequence of Estrada and Wilcox zooming down the California highway in sync on their motorcycles – remains imprinted on minds and hearts decades later. Despite its classification as a "crime drama," "CHiPs" boasted a light-hearted, comedic air as free-spirited Ponch and straight-laced Jon were forced to unite while completing their patrol duties. In addition to these two leading men, "CHiPs" saw a slew of top-name actors make guest appearances over the years, including Caitlyn Jenner, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Bryan Cranston.

However, in the almost 40 years since "CHiPs" went off the air, some of the favorite faces from the series have passed away.

William Schallert

"CHiPs" audiences were introduced to William Schallert on the special "Christmas Watch" episode, which aired on December 15, 1979. Schallert portrayed Rev. Warmer, who attempted to chase down thieves who stole the bell that his church hung up each year before Christmas. Though the Reverend wasn't quick enough to catch the bell robbers, Officers Ponch and Jon were nearby and stepped in to assist.

Schallert, who was born on July 6, 1922 in Los Angeles, California, passed away on May 8, 2016 in Palisades, California, at the age of 93. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Schallert died at his west coast home.

The acclaimed actor had almost 400 credits to his name, one of the most notable being Nilz Baris, the Federation Undersecretary of Agricultural Affairs in the 1967 "Star Trek" episode "The Trouble with Tribbles." Other appearances included "The Patty Duke Show," "How I Met Your Mother," "My Name Is Earl" and "The Torkelsons." His final role came in 2014 when he played an elevator operator in the comedy "2 Broke Girls."

Marjorie Bennett

Marjorie Bennett, who was born on January 15, 1896 in York, Australia, died of cancer at her Hollywood, California home on June 14, 1982 (per The New York Times). "CHiPs" fans will remember her as the elderly Mrs. Downey, the owner of a vintage 1956 Cadillac who never failed to give Ponch and Jon a difficult time. Appearing in three episodes of "CHiPs," Mrs. Downey mistakenly entered the Golden State Freeway via an exit ramp, caused an uproar over a $2 parking ticket, and accidentally backed into Sgt. Getraer's motorcycle after reclaiming her stolen car.

Bennett had over 200 credits on her resume, including appearances in "Happy Days," the original "Mission: Impossible" TV series, and a number of Abbott and Costello films. According to Turner Classic Movies, Bennett launched her acting career by landing roles in a number of silent films through 1918. However, her growing success was followed by a nearly 30-year hiatus from the big screen. When she resumed her passion, Bennett went on to appear in dozens of movies and TV shows, marking an impressive next act to her career. Her final credit came in 1980, two years before her death, which was a guest appearance on the TV crime drama "Barney Miller."

Jack Perkins

"CHiPs" welcomed actor Jack Perkins to the set for two guest appearances. He portrayed an unnamed drunk in the 1978 episode "Trick or Treat" and Passenger #2 in "Christmas Watch." In the spooky-themed "Trick or Treat," chaos ensues on Halloween night when a female thief dressed as a ghost robs the local Triangle Liquors. As the ghost attempts to make a quick getaway before getting caught, Perkins' character is the unfortunate victim of an accident caused by the woman.

Over the course of his career, Perkins seemed to have whole-heartedly embraced the idea of portraying an intoxicated character. Perkins has lent his inebriated impressions in similar capacities to other shows like "Happy Days" and "Gunsmoke." Diehards of "Star Trek" will also remember Perkins as the Master of Games. Born in Medford, Wisconsin on September 19, 1921, Perkins passed away at the age of 76 on March 7, 1998 in Van Nuys, California (via IMDb).

Henry Jones

Henry Jones enjoyed a one-time appearance as Delbert Dutton on "CHiPs" in the episode "Diamond in the Rough," which aired on November 22, 1981. 

Jones boasted a lengthy acting career and a whopping 150-plus credits to his name. He appeared as Thorndike in "The Magical World of Disney," Hector Farley in "The Dukes of Hazzard," Hughes Whitney Lennox in "I Married Dora" and Mr. Phelps in "The Partridge Family." According to an obituary by the Los Angeles Times News Service, Jones initially discovered his acting chops on stage, where he appeared in several Shakespearean plays. It wasn't until 1943 that he landed his first on-screen gig in the musical comedy "This Is The Army" alongside co-star Ronald Reagan. Over the years, Jones booked both large and small roles, never failing to give 100 percent even when portraying a minor character. On May 17, 1999, Jones passed away in Los Angeles, California at the age of 86.

Frank Parker

As of the time of writing, Frank Parker is the most recent "CHiPs" actor to pass away. He died at the age of 79 on September 16, 2018, in Vacaville, California. Among his many other notable TV appearances, Parker appeared in two episodes of "CHiPs" – "Christmas Watch" and "Death Watch" – portraying Clifford and an unnamed commissioner, respectively.

Over the course of his career, Parker appeared in a variety of shows. For soap lovers, he's best remembered as Grandpa Shawn Brady from "Days of Our Lives," a role he played from 1982 until 2008. You may also know the actor from "Little House on the Prairie" as Sean Hearn, the original "Battlestar Galactica" as Zed, the '70s TV series "Wonder Woman" as Lane Curran, and "Quincy M.E." as a number of different roles.

According to People, complications from Parkinson's disease and dementia led to the death of Parker, who his family endearingly described as a "ham" who "loved the spotlight."