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Mr. Belvedere Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

The ABC series "Mr. Belvedere," which aired in primetime from 1985 to 1990, was based on author Gwen Davenport's 1947 novel "Belvedere," which concerned a dapper English gentleman serving as nanny to an American couple and their three high-spirited kids, in order to gather material for a tell-all book. 

"Belvedere" was adapted for the 1948 film "Sitting Pretty," which earned an Oscar nomination for Clifton Webb's Belvedere, and he reprised the role in two subsequent films. Three attempts were made to bring Belvedere to TV, with actors Hans Conreid and Victor Buono (King Tut of "Batman" fame) as the acerbic nanny. The fourth time proved to be the winner: British actor Christopher Hewitt played the capable Belvedere, while beloved baseball underdog-turned-broadcaster and commercial pitchman Bob Uecker played his employer, George Owens. Stage actress Ilene Graff was George's wife, Marsha, while Rob Stone, Tracy Wells, and Brice Beckham were their children Kevin, Heather, and Wesley, respectively.

Though never a huge ratings hit for ABC, "Belvedere" enjoyed a six-season run on the network before cancellation in 1990. Today, it's a staple of several nostalgia-minded TV channels, while many of its stars remain active in show business. Uecker is scheduled to begin his 52nd year as the voice of the Milwaukee Brewers' home games in 2022, while Graff remains active on television and live performances. Stone moved into producing and directing documentaries in the '90s, while Beckham created and co-starred in the 2007 comedy series "I Hate My 30s." Many of their co-stars and guest performers also continue to act, while others have retired or died. Below is a list of "Mr. Belvedere" actors whom you may not know passed away. 

Christopher Hewitt brought order to the Owens' household

British actor Christopher Hewitt completed a single season of "Fantasy Island" with the unenviable task of replacing Herve Villechaize's Tattoo as Mr. Roarke's majordomo before signing on to play the titular role on "Mr. Belvedere." It was much more in line with Hewitt's strengths: a dry comic delivery and abundant charm, which he employed in abundance while keeping the Owens household tidy and proper.

Prior to "Belvedere," Christopher Hewitt had a handful of film and television credits to his name, including a pair of classic comedies — the 1951 UK feature "The Lavender Hill Mob" and Mel Brooks' original "Producers" in 1968 — but was best known as a stage actor and director in his native England and on Broadway. When "Belvedere" ran its course in 1990, Hewitt made occasional forays back to television, including a bizarre turn as King Koopa in "Mario Ice Capades," a 1989 ABC special which put the Nintendo characters on skates.

Hewitt's final screen appearance was as himself in a 1997 episode of the Fox sitcom "Ned and Stacey," with Thomas Haden Church and Debra Messing. The actor died of complications from diabetes at the age of 80 on August 3, 2001.

Willie Garson cooked up schemes as Kevin's friend Carl

If Kevin was involved in any ridiculous situations during the six-season run of "Belvedere," chances are his friend Carl was the responsible party. Carl talked Kevin into becoming a car salesman (Season 6's "Used Cars"), getting involved in a hands-on-a-hardbody contest (Season 5's "Marsha's Secret") to win a Ferrari, and taking an art class where he fell in love with the nude model (Season 4's "Kevin's Model"). Despite Carl's apparent aptitude for disaster, he also briefly dated Heather (Season 6's "Love Fest").

Willie Garson played Carl in all seven of the character's appearances on "Belvedere." Though best known as Stanford Blatch on "Sex and the City" and its 2021 revival, Garson was a prolific character actor on TV and in films from the mid-1980s until 2021. His feature credits included 1992's "Ruby" (one of three turns as Lee Harvey Oswald, who he also played on "Quantum Leap" and "MadTV") and "The Rock." "There's Something About Mary," and "Magic Camp." On the small screen, Garson enjoyed multiple appearances on "The X-Files," "NYPD Blue," "Hawaii Five-O," and "Supergirl," and was a series regular on "White Collar" as Matt Bomer's con man pal, Mozzie.

Garson died of pancreatic cancer at the age 57 on September 21, 2021.

Classic crooner Robert Goulet played himself

Singer/actor Robert Goulet played an irascible version of himself in four episodes of "Mr. Belvedere," for which he dispensed invaluable life advice while also irking George to no end. He made his first appearance in Season 3's "Debut" when George decided to pursue his long-standing wish of becoming a singer, and returned the following season to get Belvedere and Kevin to Atlantic City (it's a long story) in Part 2 of "The Trip." Goulet's final "Belvedere" appearance came in the series closer, "Mr. Belvedere's Wedding, Part 2," where he wished his friend good luck on his travels to Africa with new bride Louise (Rosemary Forsyth).

Goulet's rich baritone singing voice and matinee idol looks earned him a Tony and Grammy Award and highlighted many Broadway musicals, including his star-making turn as Sir Lancelot in 1960's "Camelot." He balanced his stage and recording career with occasional forays on television throughout the '70s and '80s, offsetting notions of being passé by cheerfully lampooning his image in films like "Beetlejuice," "The Naked Gun 2 ½" and "Scrooged," as well as Super Bowl commercials. Goulet's old-school cool led to a string of amusing ESPN ads for NCAA basketball and stints on "TV Funhouse" and "The Simpsons," as well as the singing voice of Wheezy in "Toy Story 2" and the theme song for "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

Diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a rare respiratory illness, in 2007, Goulet died of the condition at the age of 73 on October 30 of that year.

Norman Bartold was George's cohost Skip

Character actor Norman Bartold played two roles on "Belvedere": he first appeared as a hotel clerk in Season 3's "Reunion," in which George meets an old crush (played by Lee Meriweather of "Batman" fame) at a high school reunion. He returned the following season for "TV George," in which George's anxieties about appearing on camera prompt him to get a facelift. Bartold's character — Skip Hollings, who served as George's eventual cohost — appeared in five additional "Belvedere" episodes, including the series' finale, "Mr. Belvedere's Wedding: Part 2."

Bartold's TV career began in the 1950s on such series as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Dragnet." He also appeared in minor roles in numerous features, including "Westworld" (as a robot knight) and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," but TV was his primary showcase. "Belvedere" wasn't his only recurring gig; Bartold also played numerous roles on "Barney Miller," "Laverne and Shirley," and "Falcon Crest" (as scheming Judge Holder). His final "Belvedere" turn was also his final on-camera appearance. He provided a voice for the pilot of "Gabriel's Fire," a short-lived legal series with James Earl Jones, before his death at the age of 65 on May 28, 1994.

Mario Roccuzzo was The Man six times on Belvedere

Chances are you missed Mario Roccuzzo's appearances in six episodes of "Mr. Belvedere." The prolific performer essayed minor roles — five of them are simply credited as "Man" — in each episode, but if the roles lacked substance, Roccuzzo imbued them with presence, as all character actors do. A native of Boston, Roccuzzo was born into a family of actors and followed in their footsteps after relocating to Los Angeles in the early 1960s. However, his first credit was as a songwriter for rocker Eddie Cochan's 1958 single "Nervous Breakdown." Two years later, he made his screen debut as a vengeful teenage hood on "The Untouchables," and continued to play tough guys on both sides of the law for the next five decades.

Roccuzzo was a staple of TV cop shows from the 1970s through the 1990s, logging multiple appearances on "Barney Miller," "Hill Street Blues," and "NYPD Blue." Between these efforts, he parlayed his talents on numerous sitcoms ("The Golden Girls"), dramas ("Judging Amy"), and even sci-fi like "Star Trek: The Next Generation," in which he fell victim to a malicious life-form battling for control of its home planet.

Roccuzzo capped his long career with a recurring role on David Milch's ill-fated racing drama "Luck" in 2012. He died after a long illness at the age of 81 on October 9, 2021.

Cult actress Francine York was Kevin's date

Cult TV and film favorite Francine York landed two guest appearances on "Belvedere": She played a wealthy woman who became Kevin's first date after taking a job as an escort (!) in Season 5's "The Escort." York then returned the following season for "Truckin'," which saw George and Belvedere transporting pigs (acquired through commodity trading) to West Virginia, where they met York's diner waitress.

The statuesque York initially worked as a showgirl in Hollywood before pursuing a career as an actor. One of her first screen roles was "Sexy Girl" in the Jerry Lewis vehicle "It's Only Money," and led to roles in four additional features for the comic actor/director; she also co-starred with David Niven in "Bedtime Story" and Elvis Presley in "Tickle Me." Between these efforts, York kept busy on television, most notably as a henchwoman of the Bookworm (Roddy McDowall) on "Batman" and as Niolani, the head of an Amazon civilization on the original "Lost in Space."

York also co-starred in a number of low-budget genre films well-loved by cult film fans, including "Space Probe Taurus," Ted V. Mikels' "The Doll Squad," and Larry Buchanan's budget-poor "Curse of the Swamp Creature." She capped her career with guest shots on "The King of Queens," "Hot in Cleveland," and the Nicolas Cage starrer "The Family Man" before her death from cancer on January 6, 2017.

Florence Stanley was a nice, little old kidnapper

Comic actress Florence Stanley appeared in Season 3's "The Auction," which was undoubtedly one of the stranger episodes of "Mr. Belvedere." The premise begins on an unusual note — Belvedere is convinced to offer his housekeeping services to the highest bidder to benefit Wesley's school — but the winner (Stanley) proves to be anything but a nice little old lady when she drugs and then ties up Belvedere.

A veteran character actress whose credits reach back to the early 1950s, Stanley's best-remembered role was likely Bernice Fish, wife of Abe Vigoda's downtrodden Detective Fish on both "Barney Miller" and their short-lived spin-off series, "Fish." She remained exceptionally busy as a guest performer and director on television series throughout the '80s and '90s, which included appearances on "My Two Dads," "Night Court," and "Mad About You." Stanley also lent her distinctive gravely voice to numerous animated projects, including 2001's "Atlantis: The Lost Empire." Stanley died at the age of 79 due to complications of a stroke on October 3, 2009.

Time Bandit David Rappaport locked horns with Belvedere

In Season 5's "Duel," Mr. Belvedere is left with a broken leg after a run-in with a skateboard, which requires the Owens family to find temporary help. Enter Galen, a remarkably efficient housekeeper who also happens to be Belvedere's cousin — and sworn enemy. As the Owens' discover, Galen's arrival has less to do with lending a hand and more with settling a score with Belvedere.

British actor David Rappaport played Galen in "Duel," which came during a remarkably successful run in films and on television in both the UK and United States. Rappaport, who was born with a form of dwarfism called achondroplasia, came to international attention as Randall, the leader of the time-traveling thieves in Terry Gilliam's "Time Bandits." Roles in Franc Roddam's "The Bride" and on Steven Spielberg's anthology series "Amazing Stories" preceded his own starring role in the CBS adventure series "The Wizard."

Rappaport's guest appearance on "Belvedere" came after the abrupt cancellation of "The Wizard" after a single season. He continued to work on US and British TV projects, most notably a trio of guest turns on "L.A. Law" as formidable lawyer Hamilton Schuyler. However, Rappaport also struggled with depression, and a suicide attempt in 1990 necessitated his recasting in an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Several months later, the 38-year-old Rappaport died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on May 2, 1990.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Voice acting great Tony Jay captained the Owens' disastrous cruise

In Season 5's "Mutiny," George and Marsha plan an ocean voyage getaway, but to their dismay, discover that they've booked themselves on a freighter instead of a cruise ship. Making matters worse is the fact that a mutiny has broken out amongst the crew, which forces them to lend a hand in order to return to home in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

Presiding over the Owens' disastrous trip is Captain Peel, played by Daytime Emmy-nominated character actor and voice over talent Tony Jay. His deep, resonant voice made him a natural for the stage, television and radio in his native England and South Africa during the 1960s and 1970s; Jay relocated to the United States when the Royal Shakespeare Company's eight-and-a-half-hour production of "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" came to America in the 1980s. He settled into steady work as a performer in live-action projects including "Twins," "Star Trek: The Next Generation," and "Lois & Clark," and also animated features and TV.

Jay's voice acting work included "Time Bandits" (as the voice of the Supreme Being), and a slew of roles for Disney including "Beauty and the Beast," "The Lion King," and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," which provided him with his most substantive animation role as the villainous Judge Claude Frollo. Jay later narrated "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," voiced Shere Khan in "The Jungle Book 2," Lord Dregg in the original TV version of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," and numerous characters on "Rugrats," among other projects. Jay died after undergoing surgery to remove a non-cancerous tumor on his lungs on August 13, 2006.

Poltergeist psychic Zelda Rubenstein got tough on Mr. Belvedere

Like all television series, "Mr. Belvedere" had its share of implausible scenarios, and veteran actress Gloria Henry was peripherally involved in one of them. She turned up in Season 6's "Bad Marsha," which asked viewers to believe that Marsha would defend a criminal who was also her exact double. Said double later knocked out Marsha and assumed her identity at the Owens house, but Belvedere proved too clever for such a ruse.

The episode's "Bad Marsha" is first seen in a cell with an unlikely guard: the 4'3" Zelda Rubinstein, best known as the psychic Tangina Barrons in 1982's "Poltergeist" and its two sequels. Rubinstein's acting career had begun several years prior, after leaving her first line of work as a lab technician. Blessed with an unwavering gaze and an unearthly voice, Rubinstein's best showcase was horror, as appearances in the harrowing "Anguish," "Wishcraft," and "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon" showed.

Rubinstein also appeared in minor roles in non-horror titles, including "Sixteen Candles" and "Southland Tales," and handled comedy with skill in a recurring role on "Picket Fences." Declining health following a heart attack resulted in Rubinstein's death at the age of 76 on January 27, 2010.

Wrestling great H.B. Haggerty faced off against George

While at a wrestling match with Wesley and Belvedere, George gets into a verbal tussle with a burly spectator in Season 1's "Gorgeous George." The encounter leaves George with a sore backside and bruised ego, especially after Wesley showers Belvedere with praise for manhandling the goon. George retaliates by penning a scathing critique of pro wrestling in his column, which prompts an impassioned response from the spectator — who also happens to be pro wrestler Max "Meat Grinder" Maxwell.

Actor H.B. Haggerty played the Meat Grinder on "Belvedere." An immediately identifiable face in numerous features and TV series, Haggerty — born Don Stansauk — was a former pro football player who became the fearsome wrestling heel Hard Boiled Haggerty in the early 1950s. After terrorizing the ring for 35 years and capturing numerous titles — including the American Wrestling Association's heavyweight championship in 1961 — Haggerty moved into acting in the 1970s. Billed as H.B. Haggerty, he appeared in such films as "Earthquake," "The Muppet Movie," and "Battle Creek Brawl," in which he went toe-to-toe with Jackie Chan.

Haggerty essayed tough guys and wrestlers well into the 1980s, remaining a beloved figure for fans of old-school wrestling. After suffering major injuries in a 2003 car accident, Haggerty died at his home on January 27, 2004 at the age of 78.

TV mom Gloria Henry went behind bars on Belvedere

In Season 6's "Bad Marsha,", Zelda Rubinstein's prison guard oversees a cell containing the Marsha lookalike (Ilene Graf) and several actresses with long careers on television, all playing fellow inmates. Among them are Rose Marie ("The Dick Van Dyke Show") and Gloria Henry, who played Alice Mitchell, mother to Jay North's "Dennis the Menace" on television from 1959 to 1963. Henry, who began her career in radio, starred in a number of motion pictures, including Fritz Lang's "Rancho Notorious" with Marlene Dietrich. She moved into television in the 1950s, which peaked with her run on "Dennis."

Henry returned to acting in the early 1980s after almost two decades away from the screen, during which she raised her three children. Minor roles on "Dallas" and "Doogie Howser, M.D." preceded her "Belvedere" turn, and her final screen assignment came in a 2012 episode of "Parks and Recreation," though her scene was cut prior to broadcast. Henry died one day after her 98th birthday on April 3, 2021.

Baseball legend Mickey Mantle teamed up with George

In the Season 6 opener "The Field," George is coaching Wesley's baseball team while also lamenting that his own tenure on the diamond never pitted him against any great players. Belvedere solves both problems by tapping a roster of legendary players — including Reggie Jackson, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks and Hank Aaron — to play a dream game with George.

Among the crowd of all-stars in "The Field" is Mickey Mantle, an almost mythic figure in baseball history during his lengthy tenure with the New York Yankees in the 1950s and 1960s. Mantle helped lead the Yankees to seven World Series wins between 1951 and 1962, making the All-Star Team 20 times. The American League MVP, as well as a Gold Glove winner, batting champ and four-time home run champion, Mantle entered the realm of legends in 1961 when he and teammate Roger Maris attempted to break Babe Ruth's single season record of 60 home runs (Maris hit 61 on the final day of the '61 season, while health issues took Mantle out of the running).

After retiring in 1969, Mantle was a staple of Old Timers games and autograph conventions; in 1974, he was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and he also owned a hugely-popular restaurant and bar in New York during the 1980s. But years of alcohol addiction took a toll on his health: inoperable liver cancer required a liver transplant in 1994, but the disease spread quickly through his body, and Mantle died at the age of 63 on August 13, 1995.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Celebrity shrink Dr. Joyce Brothers tried to patch up George and Marsha's marriage

Work-related stress put a strain on George and Marsha's marriage in Season 3's "Separation," prompting Belvedere to send the couple to a weekend retreat. However, things got progressively worse from there: George and Marsha decided to separate, throwing the Owens' home into chaos. Belvedere realizes that this is a problem beyond even his remarkable abilities, so he calls in an all-star lineup to bring the couple together. Among the celebrities playing Cupid is football great and "Police Academy" star Bubba Smith, newscaster Edwin Newman, and psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers.

Dr. Brothers was a ubiquitous presence on TV in the 1970s and 1980s. A licensed psychologist who rose to fame after winning the popular gameshow "The $64,000 Question," Brothers parlayed her fame into newspaper advice columns, television talk shows, and countless appearances on TV and in film. Most of these turns were good-natured spoofs of her advice efforts: Brothers offered gentle counseling to Fonzie's dog on "Happy Days," advised Ponch and Jon on "C.H.iP.S.," and even offered her services to "ALF," the Munsters (on "The Munsters Today"), and the cast of "Baywatch." Her film appearances ranged from Martin Scorsese's "The King of Comedy" and "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!" to "Van Wilder."

All these efforts helped to bring psychology out of the doctor's office and into mainstream America, and in the process made Brothers one of the most recognizable women doctors of the late 20th century. On May 13, 2013, Brothers died of respiratory failure at her home in Fort Lee, New Jersey, at the age of 85.