R.I.P. Orson Bean, voice of The Hobbit and Twilight Zone star
Orson Bean first found fame as a regular on television variety and game shows. He was a favorite of Johnny Carson and appeared on The Tonight Show more than 200 times, as well as serving as a long-running panelist on To Tell The Truth.
Many know him from the iconic The Twilight Zone episode "Mr. Bevis." The episode follows Mr. Bevis, played by Bean, a warmhearted but eccentric man who loses his job, apartment and car on the same day. When his guardian angel intervenes, he has to choose between his quirks and material success. It's one of the episodes of Twilight Zone that leans more on warmth than eeriness, and Bean's portrayal of the hapless but kind Bevis does much to bring the character to life.
Kids of the '70s and '80s might recognize Bean's voice as the titular hobbit from the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated movie The Hobbit and its follow-up, Return of the King. Bean voiced the central characters Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins.
Bean guest-starred on numerous shows, including How I Met Your Mother, The Love Boat and Modern Family. But one of his rare long-running roles was on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman as Loren Bray, the shrewd shopkeeper in the town. He would appear in nearly every episode.
More modern movie fans will recognize Bean from the Oscar-nominated 1999 film Being John Malkovich as LesterCorp founder, Dr. Lester. The role got Bean an additional nomination from the Screen Actors Guild Award, as part of the ensemble cast.
Bean was a mainstay in telvision, film and stage since he began acting in the 1950s. He was 91 years old when he passed away.