Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dennis Patrick

Dennis Patrick was a well-known and recognizable character actor whose career began in the early 1950s. While he appeared in several feature movies, he was more prolific in tv shows, and was seen on many dozens of shows right into the 1990s.

When I first saw him in a movie, it was as the wealthy businessman character 'Bill Compton', in 1972's "Joe", which starred Peter Boyle. The movie was very controversial at the time, but by today's societal standards, it wouldn't be so.

Mr. Patrick was a New York City resident in the 1970s, and his phone number was published in the Manhattan directory. I called him shortly after seeing "Joe", to tell him I appreciated his performance. He may have been receiving crank calls about his role, because when he answered the phone and I asked, "Is this Dennis Patrick the actor?", he cautiously and slowly replied "Y-e-e-e-s-s". When I explained why I was calling, he became at ease, and after a few minutes of light conversation, I asked for an autographed photo. He took down my name and address and in a few days, I received this photo in the mail. His brief inscription: "Thanks for asking".

In 2002, Mr. Patrick died tragically, in a house fire in Los Angeles, at the age of 84.

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