Richard Dysart

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Richard Dysart
Richard Dysart (2092477928).jpg
Dysart at the 40th Primetime Emmy Awards, 1988
Born (1929-03-30)March 30, 1929
near Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died April 5, 2015(2015-04-05) (aged 86)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1953–2004
Known for L.A. Law
L.A. Law: The Movie
Spouse(s) Kathryn Jacobi (1987-2015)

Richard Allen Dysart (March 30, 1929 – April 5, 2015) was an American actor, perhaps best known for his role as Leland McKenzie on the NBC legal drama L.A. Law.

Early life[edit]

Dysart was born near Boston, Massachusetts on March 30, 1929.[1] He attended Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine. He served for four years in the United States Air Force during the Korean War.


In 1979, he was featured in the film Being There starring Peter Sellers and Melvyn Douglas, portraying a good-hearted physician. In 1980, he portrayed Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in the television film The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd. He voiced the kindly miner Uncle Pom in the Disney English-language version of Hayao Miyazaki's 1986 adventure classic Castle in the Sky and the character of "Cogliostro" on Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Animated Series, which aired on HBO.

His other movie credits included roles in The Hindenburg, An Enemy of the People, Prophecy, The Thing, Pale Rider, and Day One (with L.A. Law co-star Michael Tucker). Dysart created the role of Coach in the original Broadway production of Jason Miller's Pulitzer Prize winning play, That Championship Season in 1973. He appeared in an episode of the 1976 CBS television series Sara.

The scene in which his L.A. Law character, Leland McKenzie, who was the patriarchal and stiff founder of a successful law practice, was revealed to be in bed with competitor Rosalind Shays (Diana Muldaur) was ranked as the 38th greatest moment in television in an issue of Egg magazine. He earned one Emmy Award, and three more nominations, for his role on L.A. Law.[2][3]

Dysart was a founding member of the American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco. He received the Drama Desk Award in 1972 and an Emmy Award in 1992. He was a brother of the Phi Alpha Tau fraternity based out of Emerson College in Boston. In 1990, Dysart was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law.[citation needed]

Personal life and death[edit]

Dysart and his third wife, artist Kathryn Jacobi, were married from 1987 until the time of his death.

Dysart died at home in Santa Monica, California on April 5, 2015, after a long illness. He was 86.[4]

Selected filmography[edit]


External links[edit]