David White (actor)
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April 4, 1916|
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
|Died||November 27, 1990
North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Resting place||Hollywood Forever Cemetery|
|Alma mater||Los Angeles City College|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Welch (m. 1952; d. 1958)
Lisa Figus (m. 1959)
Born on April 4, 1916 in Denver, Colorado, his family later moved to Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. White graduated from Los Angeles City College and began acting at the Pasadena Playhouse and the Cleveland Play House. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps during World War II and, after his discharge, made his Broadway debut in 1949 in the original play Leaf and Bough.
White appeared on numerous television series in the 1950s and '60s. He made two guest appearances on the CBS courtroom drama Perry Mason. In 1960, he played Henry De Garmo in "The Case of the Madcap Modiste," and in 1963 he played murderer and newspaper editor Victor Kendall in "The Case of the Witless Witness." He also appeared in Sgt Bilko, Peter Gunn, Mr. Lucky, The Untouchables, The Fugitive, Mission: Impossible, Father Knows Best , Bonanza, Have Gun – Will Travel, My Favorite Martian and Dick Tracy. He appeared in two episodes of The Twilight Zone: "I Sing the Body Electric" and "A World of Difference." Though primarily known for television work, White had several minor feature film roles, including Sweet Smell of Success (1957), The Apartment (1960), in which he played a philandering executive, and featured roles in Sunrise at Campobello (also 1960) and The Lawbreakers (1961).
In 1964, White was cast as sycophantic advertising executive Larry Tate on Bewitched, a role he inhabited for the show's entire run (1964–1972). The character is president of the McMann & Tate advertising agency, workplace of Dick York's (and later Dick Sargent's) Darrin Stephens character. Many of the show's episodes revolved around Tate's attempts to land lucrative advertising accounts. This is the role for which he would become best-known both during his life and posthumously. Larry Tate's baby boy Jonathan was named after White's son.
Following the end of Bewitched, White was a popular character actor on numerous television series for the next decade, ranging from The Love Boat, Remington Steele, The Rockford Files, Columbo: Identity Crisis, What's Happening!! (portraying the owner of a hamburger company), Rhoda, Quincy, M.E., Cagney & Lacey and Dallas. He played the role of J. Jonah Jameson in the pilot episode of the television series The Amazing Spider-Man. His final role came in 1986 on an episode of Dynasty. He also appeared in the movies The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington, Disney's Snowball Express, and had a prominent role in the 1985 version of Brewster's Millions starring Richard Pryor.
White's first marriage was to stage actress Mary Welch. The couple had a son, Jonathan. On May 31, 1958, Welch died of complications from her second pregnancy. White married actress Lisa Figus in 1959, with whom he had a daughter, Alexandra. They were married until his death in 1990.
He died of a heart attack on November 27, 1990, at the age of 74. He was cremated and interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where he was placed in the same niche as his son Jonathan. Jonathan had died on December 21, 1988, at the age of 33, one of 270 murdered in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
- Sweet Smell of Success (1957) - Otis Elwell (uncredited)
- The Goddess (1958) - Burt Harris (uncredited)
- The Apartment (1960) - Mr. Eichelberger
- Sunrise at Campobello (1960) - Mr. Lassiter
- The Great Impostor (1961) - Dr. Hammond
- Madison Avenue (1961) - Stevenson Brock
- The Lollipop Cover (1965) - Richard
- The Red, White, and Black (1970) - 10th Cavalry Trooper
- Snowball Express (1972) - Mr. Fowler
- The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington (1977) - Senator Rawlings
- Fast Forward (1985) - Mr. Sabol
- Brewster's Millions (1985) - George Granville