in The Trouble with Harry (1955)
|Born||Royal Edward Dano
November 16, 1922
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||May 15, 1994
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Heart attack after automobile accident|
|Los Angeles National Cemetery|
Royal Edward Dano, Jr. (1946–1994)
Dano was born in New York City to Mary Josephine (née O'Connor), an Irish immigrant, and Caleb Edward Dano, a printer for newspapers. He reportedly left home at the age of twelve and at various intervals, lived in Florida, Texas, and California. After reaching an agreement with his father, he agreed to continue his education, on the condition that he be allowed to travel. He was a Mason and a member of Al Malaikah Shrine in Los Angeles.
Dano is remembered for his supporting roles in a number of 1950s western and mystery films. The chance for the breakout role of a lifetime, escaped him in the theatrical release of The Red Badge of Courage. Dano, cast as The Tattered Man, delivered such a disturbing performance in his death scene, according to director John Huston, the initial test audience left the theater in droves, e.g. "I've never seen so many people, get up and leave the theater...they liked no part of it". The death scene, troubling enough in Stephen Crane's book, was lent a human touch by Dano, and in 1951, war-weary Americans, rejected it (Huston: "...[the audience rejection] was a pretty sickening event."). Red Badge was immediately recut, and the death scene removed. It is long believed, and as early as Huston commenting in an interview in 1972, the scene has been lost to us ("I doubt very much, whether the scene still exists."). Despite losing the silver screen opportunity, Dano instead stood out early in "Mr. Lincoln", a five-part TV episode appearing in 1952-53 on Omnibus; ironically, in keeping with a Civil War theme, Royal Dano portrayed Lincoln himself.
He often worked with Anthony Mann and James Stewart. He played Elijah in John Huston's film version of Moby Dick, memorably intoning to Richard Basehart as Ishmael, "At sea one day, you'll smell land where there'll be no land, and on that day, Ahab will go to his grave, but he'll rise again within the hour. He will rise and beckon! Then all - all save one - shall follow!"
In The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964), he portrayed Carey. In the black comedy The Trouble With Harry, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, he had a small but pivotal role as the officious Deputy Sheriff. Over the years, Dano made many television appearances, often in bizarre, macabre roles such as Richard Boone's Have Gun Will Travel and the NBC legal drama Justice starring Dane Clark and Gary Merrill.
On December 2, 1957, Dano appeared as Wilbur English, a fearful man who kills a fellow gang member to collect the reward in the episode "Cheyenne Express" of John Payne's NBC western series, The Restless Gun. Ultimately, his cowardice causes Wilbur's own accidental death. In the MGM Technicolor widescreen religious epic King of Kings, Dano in 1961 played the role of Simon Peter. During this time, he also played the part of "Sageman" in an episode of "Father Knows Best"
In 1960, Dano guest starred on David McLean's NBC summer western series, Tate. That same year, he portrayed Lucas Frome in the episode "Black Harvest" on Don Durant's CBS western, Johnny Ringo. In 1962, he guest starred on the CBS anthology series, The Lloyd Bridges Show. Dano also appeared on NBC's "The Virginian" in five separate appearances from 1962–1966 in a variety of character roles, one of the most memorable being "Faraway MacPhail". In the 1965–1966 season, he guest starred on ABC's western series The Legend of Jesse James. Dano also played an ex-con who became Northfork's pastor, and "Honest Abe" in 1961 episodes of The Rifleman, an ABC Western series. He appeared on the series five times. Dano was also a frequent guest star on Gunsmoke, with a total of thirteen appearances. In 1962, he played the part of Monty Fox, a prospector, in the episode "Incident at Quivira" on CBS's Rawhide.
Dano was the voice of Abraham Lincoln for Walt Disney's "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" program, first presented at the 1964 World's Fair. Disney personally selected Dano, because he felt the actor came closest to the historical descriptions of Lincoln's voice. The "Great Moments" program was moved to Disneyland in 1965, and Dano's vocals continued to be a part of the program until 2001. In 1971, Dano's voice was also used for a revised Lincoln speech in the new "Hall Of Presidents" program at Walt Disney World in Florida, which ran to 1993. In 2009, Dano's vocals were returned to "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" at Disneyland in a revised version of the show.
He had a memorable (if short) role as the coroner in Electra Glide in Blue (1973), who gets into a loud shouting match with Robert Blake's character. With no spoken dialogue (but sings the airman's version of the Navy Hymn), Dano was memorable as the saddened, unnamed preacher in The Right Stuff (1983). Dano is remembered for his comedic performance as the undead gold prospector, Gramps, in the horror/suspense/comedy/Aztec adventure House II: The Second Story, and as Uncle Ned, a carnival attraction magician, in 1988's Ghoulies II. His final roles include Wrenchmuller in 1993's Spaced Invaders and Judge Clinton Sternwood in the TV series Twin Peaks.
At age 71 in 1994, Dano died of a heart attack following a car accident. He was buried in the Los Angeles National Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, and their son, Rick Dano. Another son, Royal Edward Dano, Jr., also died in 1994. Royal Dano is the grandfather of Hutch Dano.
- Undercover Girl (1950) - The Moocher
- Flame of the Desert (1951) - Basra
- The Red Badge of Courage (1951) - The Tattered Soldier
- Under the Gun (1951) - Sam Nugent
- Carrie (1952) - Captain (uncredited)
- Bend of the River (1952) - Long Tom
- The Far Country (1954) - Luke
- Johnny Guitar (1954) - Corey
- Father Knows Best (1955) - Hired workman/philosopher
- The Trouble with Harry (1955) - Deputy Sheriff Calvin Wiggs
- Gunsmoke (1956) - Seth Tandy
- Tension at Table Rock (1956) - Harry Jameson
- Santiago (1956) - Lobo
- Moby Dick (1956) - 'Elijah'
- Tribute to a Bad Man (1956) - Abe
- All Mine to Give (1957) - Howard Tyler
- Man in the Shadow (1957) - Aiken Clay
- Trooper Hook (1957) - Mr. Trude, Stage Driver
- Crime of Passion (1957) - Police Capt. Charlie Alidos
- Man of the West (1958) - Trout
- Saddle the Wind (1958) - Clay Ellison
- Handle with Care (1958) - Al Lees
- Hound-Dog Man (1959) - Fiddling Tom Waller
- The Rifleman, "A Matter of Faith" (1959) - Jonas Epps
- Face of Fire (1959) - Jake Winter
- These Thousand Hills (1959) - Carmichael
- Never Steal Anything Small (1959) - Words Cannon
- The Boy and the Bridge (1959) - Evangelist
- The Rebel (ABC-TV, 1959) - Amos Cooper in "Yellow Hair"
- Cimarron (1960) - Ike Howes (photographer)
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960) - Sheriff Harlan
- King of Kings (1961) - Peter
- "((The Rifleman))" - Mr. Wingate
- The Rifleman (1961) - Able "Abe" Lincoln
- The Rifleman (1961) - Pastor
- The Rebel (ABC-TV, 1961) - Ben Crowe in "The Proxy"
- Posse from Hell (1961) - Uncle Billy
- A Pair of Boots (1962) - Actor
- Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (animated TV special) (1962) - Marley's Ghost (voice)
- Bonanza (NBC-TV, 1962)
- Savage Sam (1963) - Pack Underwood (uncredited)
- The Dakotas, "Terror at Heart River" (ABC, 1963) - Walter Wyman
- Mr. Novak - Mr. Metcalfe in "To Break a Camel's Back" (NBC-TV, 1963)
- 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964) - Carey
- The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, "Change of Address" (1964)
- The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, "The Day of the Haunted Trail" (ABC-TV, 1964) - James Weston
- Lost in Space episode 127, "The Lost Civilization" (1966) - Major Domo
- Daniel Boone (TV series) "Cibola" (NBC-TV, 1966) - Matty
- Gunpoint (1966) - Ode
- The Virginian 1962-1966 Faraway McPhail (1963), Uncle Dell Benton (1966), Daniels (1965), Dan Molder (1962)
- The Big Valley (1966)
- The Last Challenge (1967) - Pretty Horse
- Welcome to Hard Times (1967) - John Bear
- Night Hunt (1968) - Carl Blair
- Day of the Evil Gun (1968) - Dr. Eli Prather
- The Undefeated (1969) - Maj. Sanders, CSA (one-armed major)
- Death of a Gunfighter (1969) - Arch Brandt
- Chandler (1971) - Sal Sachese (scenes deleted)
- Skin Game (1971) - John Brown (abolitionist)
- Machismo: 40 Graves for 40 Guns (1971) - Zach
- Slingshot (1971) - Actor
- Moon of the Wolf (1972) - first Cajun
- Emergency! (1972) - Accident Victim
- The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972) - Gustavson
- The Culpepper Cattle Co. (1972) - Cattle Rustler
- Electra Glide in Blue (1973) - Coroner
- Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973) - MacDonald, Hermit who sells Cahill the mule
- Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies (1973) - Jake
- Messiah of Evil (1973) - Joseph Lang
- Howzer (1973) - Nick Murack
- Big Bad Mama (1974) - Reverend Johnson
- Planet of the Apes (TV series) - First episode, Farrow
- Capone (1975) - Anton J. Cermak
- The Wild Party (1975) - Tex
- The Killer Inside Me (1976) - Father
- Drum (1976) - Zeke Montgomery
- The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) - Ten Spot
- Bad Georgia Road (1977) - Arthur Pennyrich
- The One Man Jury (1978) - Bartender
- Hughes and Harlow: Angels in Hell (1978) - Will Hays
- In Search of Historic Jesus (1979) - Prophet
- Little House on the Prairie – 2 episodes: "Crossed Connections" (1979) – Harold; and "Sylvia" (1981) - Mr. Webb
- Take This Job and Shove It (1981) - Beeber
- Hammett (1982) - Pops
- The Right Stuff (1983) - Minister
- Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) - Tom Fury
- Teachers (1984) - Ditto Stiles
- Cocaine Wars (1985) - Bailey
- Amazing Stories (TV series) (1986) - Salvation Army Man, Elmer (from episode 'Gather Ye Acorns')
- Red Headed Stranger (1986) - Larn Claver
- House II: The Second Story (1987) - Gramps
- Ghoulies II (1987) - Uncle Ned
- Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) - Farmer Gene Green
- Once Upon a Texas Train (1988) - Nitro Jones
- Spaced Invaders (1990) - Wrenchmuller
- Twin Peaks (1990) - Judge Clinton Sternwood
- Joey Takes a Cab (1991) - Actor
- The Dark Half (1993) - Digger Holt
- Humphreys, Justin (2006). Names you never remember, with faces you never forget: interviews with the movies' character actors. BearManor Media. p. 93. ISBN 1-59393-041-0.
- The Dick Cavett Show (2/21/72)
- Moby Dick (1956) - IMDb memorable quotes
- "Justice". The Classic TV Archive. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
- "Cheyenne ", The Restless Gun, DVD, Timeless Media Group
- Names You Never Remember, With Faces You Never Forget, by Justin Humphreys. BearManor Media, Albany, 2006. ISBN 1-59393-041-0.