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|Born||Albert Paul Shenar
February 12, 1936
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Died||October 11, 1989
West Hollywood, California U.S.
Cause of death
Shenar was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Mary Rosella (née Puhek) and Eugene Joseph Shenar.
Shenar became involved in theater at an early age, partaking in the local Milwaukee playhouse productions. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the United States Air Force. Following his military career he began acting again. Shenar gained attention playing larger-than-life entertainment legends on 1970s television. He portrayed Orson Welles in the TV movie The Night That Panicked America (1975) (TV) and Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. in Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women (1978) (TV). He portrayed the character John Carrington in Part III of the miniseries Roots (1977). He also portrayed the murderous Bolivian drug lord Alejandro Sosa in Brian De Palma's 1983 version of Scarface.
A founding member, actor, director and teacher of the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco, he played more than forty roles there, including Hamlet, Oedipus Rex and Tiny Alice. Known for his unsympathetic portrayals, he voiced the evil rat Jenner in the animated feature The Secret of NIMH (1982).
Later roles and death
Shenar continued to act during the 1980s. He did a stage version of Macbeth in Los Angeles and appeared in movies like Best Seller, The Bedroom Window, The Big Blue, and Raw Deal, plus the TV movie Rage of Angels: The Story Continues. He died from complications of AIDS on October 11, 1989.
- "AIDS at 25". San Francisco Chronicle. June 8, 2006. p. E1. "Paul Shenar, died Oct. 11, 1989, at age 53. Actor. Part of the American Conservatory Theater's founding acting company, Shenar appeared in more than 40 plays with ACT in the 1970s, including appearances as Hamlet, Oedipus and in "Tiny Alice.""
- Graham, David, Casting About: A Memoir (iUniverse, 2007), page 265