Orson Bean, 91, died on Feb. 7 after sadly being stuck and killed by a vehicle in Venice, CA, authorities confirmed to ABC7. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office said the actor’s death is being investigated as a “traffic-related” fatality. The Los Angeles Police also confirmed that a pedestrian was walking in the area of Venice Boulevard and Shell Avenue when he was “clipped” by a vehicle and fell, the outlet further reported. Shortly after, onlookers tried to warn a second vehicle about the incident, but that vehicle also stuck him. The second time proved to be fatal, police confirmed and both drivers stayed at the scene.
“The car coming westbound did not see him and clipped him and he went down,” Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Brian Wendling said. “A second vehicle was coming up, was distracted by people trying to slow him down and then looked up and then a second traffic collision occurred and that one was fatal.”
Although police didn’t initially confirm it was Orson who was struck, a friend of his, who was a witness at the time of the tragedy, confirmed it was him.
Here are five things you should know about Orson, a longtime actor who made his mark in the film and television industry.
1.) He appeared in many films, television series, and stage productions. His acting career began in the early 1950s and he had many steady years of solid work, including playing roles in popular movies such as Being John Malkovich and Miracle on 34th Street. He also appeared in television shows like The Love Boat and Modern Family. He also did long stints on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman from 1993 until 1998 and Desperate Housewives from 2009 until 2012.
2.) Before he acted, he served in the U.S. military. Between 1946 and the end of 1947 he served for 18 months in the U.S. Army and showed off his creativity when he was stationed in Japan by creating his own magic act.
3.) He was married to actress Alley Mills. Alley, who Orson married in 1993, is best known for her role as Norma Arnold in The Wonder Years. At the time of his death, the devoted husband was reportedly trying to cross the street to go to the Pacific Resident Theatre, where Alley was working, ABC7 reported. The lovebirds performed together at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica, CA in a play called Bad Habits, which ended its run last week.
4.) He founded an organization and school. In 1964, he was a founding member of The Sons of the Desert, an international organization that was focused on sharing information about comic actors Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, who Orson was a big fan of. In 1966, he helped found the 15th Street School in New York City. The school modeled itself after the radical democratic free boarding school in the U.K, Summerhill.
5.) In addition to acting, he appeared on game shows from the 1960s until the 1980s. One of his most memorable game show appearances was as a panelist on To Tell The Truth, which he appeared on multiple times.
Our healing thoughts go out to all those affected by Orson’s death.