Frank Faylen, a character actor whose 70-year entertainment career ranged from a Mississippi River showboat act to a role on the "Dobie Gillis" television series, is dead.
Faylen was 79 when he died Friday at a Burbank hospital. He had suffered from a lengthy respiratory illness.
He was a veteran of more than 400 films. His movie work included parts in "The Grapes of Wrath," "Gunfight at the OK Corral" and "Funny Girl."
Born in St. Louis, he lived on a showboat with his parents, who were acrobats and singers. Faylen joined their troupe as an infant when he was rolled onto the stage in a baby buggy to be a straight man for showboat comics. A cow was carried on board to keep his baby bottle filled.
After working with his parents, Faylen became a vaudevillian song-and-dance man before turning to the screen in 1936.
Under contract to Paramount, he portrayed scores of gangsters, policemen and bartenders. His most-acclaimed role was in the 1945 film, "The Lost Weekend." In it, he played a sadistic nurse who tormented alcoholic Ray Milland.