July 5, 2005 by

Dana Elcar


Categories: Actors

delcar.jpgIbson Dana Elcar, the veteran actor best known for his work on the TV show “MacGyver,” died on June 6 of complications from pneumonia. He was 77.
The Ferndale, Mich., native had drama in his soul. He used to recreate radio plays with his siblings, and decided to become an actor after spending all night in a movie theatre watching numerous showings of the Orson Welles classic, “Citizen Kane.” Elcar enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 18 and served a tour of duty in Newfoundland, then attended the University of Michigan, where he founded the Ann Arbor Theater. He would later form the L.A. Actors’ Theater and the Santa Paula Theater Center in California.
Elcar moved to New York in the 1950s to become a professional thespian. He studied drama at the Neighborhood Playhouse and landed roles in several off-Broadway plays, such as “The Dumb Waiter,” “The Caretaker,” “Under Milk Wood” and “Waiting for Godot.” Elcar appeared opposite George C. Scott in “Richard III,” and served as an understudy to both Alec Guinness and Jason Robards. Although he acted in six Broadway productions, none of them lasted very long on the Great White Way.
Elcar had better luck on the small and silver screen. The character actor appeared in more than 40 films, including “Fail-Safe,” “The Sting,” “2010” and “All of Me.” He was also a regular on the TV shows “Baretta” and “Dark Shadows.”
Elcar found his niche on the ABC series “MacGyver,” which aired from 1985 to 1992. He played Peter Thornton, the best friend and boss of the title character. When Elcar’s glaucoma began to affect his eyesight, he told the producers of “MacGyver” about his impending blindness. Instead of replacing him with another actor or killing off the character, the writers adapted his illness into the show. Elcar’s blindness was also written into stirring guest appearances on “Law & Order” and “ER.”

4 Responses to Dana Elcar

  1. Eduardo

    A great actor passed away. It wasn’t a time for him. I can get watch “Macgyver” episodes today and believe that Mr. Elcar goes away from us.
    I hope see him one day, in someplace.

  2. Matt

    Mr. Elcar was one of the actors that, to this daym has inspired me to get into voiceovers and maybe acting. He and actors such as Michael Landon and Bill Bixby show us that you don’t have to swear your head off to act. I will have the shows to watch until I see him again.

  3. Keith R. Wood

    I remember Elcar best from his days as Colonel Lard on “Baa Baa Black Sheep.” How fitting that the series should start appearing on DVD now.

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