in The Trouble with Harry (1955)
|Born||Royal Edward Dano
November 16, 1922
New York City, U.S.
|Died||May 15, 1994
Los Angeles, U.S.
|Cause of death||Pulmonary Fibrosis|
|Resting place||Los Angeles National Cemetery|
Royal Edward Dano Jr. (1946–1994)
|Relatives||Martha Dano Seher (sister)
Caleb Dano (brother)
Royal Edward Dano Sr. (November 16, 1922 – May 15, 1994) was an American film and television character actor.
Dano was born in New York City, the son of 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. Dano served in the United States Army during World War II where he attained the rank of Sergeant. He was a Freemason.
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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, that 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 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 was removed. It is long believed, and as early as Huston commenting in an interview in 1972, the scene has been lost ("I doubt very much, whether the scene still exists."). Dano was also cast in "Mr. Lincoln", a five-part TV episode appearing in 1952–53 on Omnibus; ironically, in keeping with a Civil War theme, 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, 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 a brutal henchman. 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 played "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 The Virginian in five separate appearances from 1962–66 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. He 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 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 attraction, 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. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln was moved to Disneyland in 1965, and Dano's vocals continued to be a part of the attraction until 2001. In 1971, his voice was also used for a revised Lincoln speech in the new "Hall Of Presidents" attraction at Magic Kingdom in Florida, which ran to 1993. In 2009, Dano's vocals were returned to Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln at Disneyland in an updated version of the show.
He had a 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 singing the airman's version of the Navy Hymn), Dano was the saddened, unnamed preacher in The Right Stuff (1983). He 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 1990's Spaced Invaders and Judge Clinton Sternwood in the TV series Twin Peaks.
At age 71 in 1994, Dano died at home of Pulmonary Fibrosis. 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. Dano is the grandfather of actor Hutch Dano.
TV and filmography
- Undercover Girl (1950) – The Moocher
- Under the Gun (1951) – Sam Nugent
- The Red Badge of Courage (1951) – The Tattered Soldier
- Flame of the Desert (1951) – Basra
- Bend of the River (1952) – Long Tom
- Carrie (1952) – Captain (uncredited)
- Johnny Guitar (1954) – Corey
- The Far Country (1954) – Luke
- Father Knows Best (1955) – Hired workman / philosopher
- The Trouble with Harry (1955) – Deputy Sheriff Calvin Wiggs
- Gunsmoke (1955) – Obie Tater
- Tribute to a Bad Man (1956) – Abe
- Moby Dick (1956) – 'Elijah'
- Gunsmoke (1956) – Seth Tandy
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1956, My Brother Richard) – Martin
- Santiago (1956) – Lobo
- Tension at Table Rock (1956) – Harry Jameson
- Crime of Passion (1957) – Police Capt. Charlie Alidos
- All Mine to Give (1957) – Howard Tyler
- Man in the Shadow (1957) – Aiken Clay
- Trooper Hook (1957) – Mr. Trude, Stage Driver
- Saddle the Wind (1958) – Clay Ellison
- Handle with Care (1958) – Al Lees
- Man of the West (1958) – Trout
- Never Steal Anything Small (1959) – Words Cannon
- These Thousand Hills (1959) – Ike Carmichael
- The Boy and the Bridge (1959) – Evangelist
- Face of Fire (1959) – Jake Winter
- Hound-Dog Man (1959) – Fiddling Tom Waller
- Wagon Train (1959) – The trapper, in the Kate Parker Story
- The Rifleman, "The Sheridan Story" (1959) – Frank Blandon
- The Rifleman, "A Matter of Faith" (1959) – Jonas Epps
- The Rebel (ABC-TV, 1959) – Amos Cooper in "Yellow Hair"
- Wanted: Dead or Alive as Charlie Wright in "The Matchmaker" – Aired 9/19/1959
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960) – Sheriff Harlan
- Cimarron (1960) – Ike Howes (photographer)
- Tales of Wells Fargo (1960) – Cole Younger
- The Rifleman, "A Case of Identity" (1960) – Aaron Wingate
- Posse from Hell (1961) – Uncle Billy
- King of Kings (1961) – Peter
- The Rifleman, "Honest Abe" (1961) – Able "Abe" Lincoln
- The Rebel (ABC-TV, 1961) – Ben Crowe in "The Proxy"
- The Rifleman, "Day of Reckoning" (1962) – Jamison
- A Pair of Boots (1962) – Actor
- Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (animated TV special) (1962) – Marley's Ghost (voice)
- The Virginian (1962) Dan Molder
- Bonanza (NBC-TV, 1962)
- Savage Sam (1963) – Pack Underwood (uncredited)
- Rawhide (1963) Episode: "Incident at Ten Trees" – Newton
- The Virginian (1963) Faraway McPhail
- 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
- Rawhide TV series, episode: "Texas Fever"(1965) – Sam Wentworth
- The Virginian (1965) Daniels
- Death Valley Days "The Traveling Trees" (1965) as Henderson Lewelling
- Lost in Space episode 127, "The Lost Civilization" (1966) – Major Domo
- Daniel Boone "Cibola" (NBC-TV, 1966) – Matty
- Gunpoint (1966) – Ode
- The Virginian (1966) Uncle Dell Benton
- The Big Valley (1966)
- Welcome to Hard Times (1967) – John Bear
- The Last Challenge (1967) – Pretty Horse
- Night Hunt (1968) – Carl Blair
- Day of the Evil Gun (1968) – Dr. Eli Prather
- Death Valley Days (1968) – Mr. Aaron Winters
- If He Hollers, Let Him Go! (1968) – Carl Blair
- Death of a Gunfighter (1969) – Arch Brandt
- The Undefeated (1969) – Maj. Sanders, CSA (one-armed major)
- Death Valley Days - "A Simple Question of Justice" (1970) - as Andrew
- The Golden Spike (1970) – Narrator
- Hawaii 5-O (1970 Paniolo) – Hody Linquist (Cowboy)
- Machismo: 40 Graves for 40 Guns (1971) – Zach
- Skin Game (1971) – John Brown (abolitionist)
- Chandler (1971) – Sal Sachese (scenes deleted)
- Slingshot (1971)
- Moon of the Wolf (1972) – Tom Sr.
- The Culpepper Cattle Co. (1972) – Cattle Rustler
- The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972) – Gustavson
- Emergency! (1972) – Accident Victim
- Kung Fu (1972) – Henry Skowrin
- Messiah of Evil (1973) – Joseph Lang
- Howzer (1973) – Nick Murack
- Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies (1973) – Jake
- Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973) – MacDonald, Hermit who sells Cahill the mule
- Electra Glide in Blue (1973) – Coroner
- Big Bad Mama (1974) – Reverend Johnson
- Planet of the Apes – First episode, Farrow
- The Wild Party (1975) – Tex
- Capone (1975) – Anton J. Cermak
- The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) – Ten Spot
- Drum (1976) – Zeke Montgomery
- The Killer Inside Me (1976) – Father
- Hughes and Harlow: Angels in Hell (1977) – Will Hays
- Bad Georgia Road (1977) – Arthur Pennyrich
- The One Man Jury (1978) – Bartender
- 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
- Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) – Tom Fury
- The Right Stuff (1983) – Minister
- Teachers (1984) – Ditto Stiles
- Cocaine Wars (1985) – Bailey
- Amazing Stories (1986) – Salvation Army Man, Elmer (from episode 'Gather Ye Acorns')
- Red Headed Stranger (1986) – Larn Claver
- House II: The Second Story (1987) – Gramps
- Date with an Angel (1987) – Treating Doctor in Hospital (uncredited)
- Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) – Farmer Gene Green
- Once Upon a Texas Train (1988) – Nitro Jones
- Ghoulies II (1988) – Uncle Ned
- Spaced Invaders (1990) – Wrenchmuller
- Twin Peaks (1990) – Judge Clinton Sternwood
- Joey Takes a Cab (1991)
- The Dark Half (1993) – Digger Holt (final film role)
- 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) memorable quotes, imdb.com; accessed December 23, 2015.
- "Justice". The Classic TV Archive. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
- "Cheyenne", The Restless Gun, DVD, Timeless Media Group
- Chmielewski, Dawn (December 18, 2009). "Voice of Disneyland's Lincoln takes criticism". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
- Names You Never Remember, With Faces You Never Forget, by Justin Humphreys. BearManor Media, Albany, 2006. ISBN 1-59393-041-0.