Born in South Bend, Indiana in 1920, Harens' studied at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and in summer stock, before debuting on Broadway in The Talley Method in 1941. His first film appearance came at the age of 24, in 1944's Christmas Holiday. He appeared in seven movies throughout his career, although never in a starring role. He was a cast member on three TV series, and played a recurring character on the ABC series The F.B.I.. Among the television series in which Harens guest starred was the 1958-1959 docudrama about the Cold War, Behind Closed Doors, hosted and occasionally starring Bruce Gordon. He also made four guest appearances on Perry Mason, including the role of murderer Frank Fettridge in the 1959 episode, "The Case of the Calendar Girl," the 1959 episode of “The Case of Paul Drake’s Dilemma” as the brother-in-law of the victim, and in 1960 the role of double murderer Riley Morgan in "The Case of the Wandering Widow."
Harens's wife, actress June Dayton, who he met while acting on Broadway in 1947, died in 1994 at the age of 70. Harens died in Van Nuys, in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California, at the age of 75.
- Christmas Holiday (1944) - Lt. Charles Mason
- The Suspect (1944) - John Marshall
- Crack-Up (1946) - Reynolds
- Cold Hands, Warm Heart (September 26, 1964) with William Shatner (The Outer Limits)
- Rosie! (1967) - Willetts
- Murder One (1969) - Judge Skinner (TV movie)
- Topaz (1969) - State Department Official (uncredited)
- Double Jeopardy (1970) - Thomas Howard (TV movie)
- Paper Man (1971) - Bureaucrat (TV movie)
- "Dean Harens". BFI.
- Hill Place. "Hill Place".
- "Overview for Dean Harens". Turner Classic Movies.
- "The F.B.I". TV.com. CBS Interactive.
- "Behind Closed Doors'". ctva.biz. Retrieved September 2, 2009.
- "Dean Harens - Movies and Filmography - AllMovie". AllMovie.
- The Broadway League. "Dean Harens - IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information".
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