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Veteran Stage, Screen Actor Walter Abel Dies at 88

March 29, 1987|Associated Press

CHESTER, Conn. — Walter Abel, a veteran actor who appeared on Broadway and in more than 80 films, is dead at 88.

Abel, who died Thursday at the Chesterfields Home, moved to Connecticut 1 1/2 years ago from New York City, where he made his professional debut in 1919 in the play "Forbidden."

He acted in Eugene O'Neill's plays when they were first performed at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York in the 1920s, and went on to Hollywood where his first major role was the lead in the 1931 version of "The Three Musketeers."

Abel went on to make about 60 movies in Hollywood. He was vice president of the Screen Actors Guild in the 1950s when Ronald Reagan was the guild's president.

"However, his great love was the stage in New York, where he returned to live full time in 1944," said his son, John Abel of Alexandria, Va.

He appeared with Helen Hayes in "The Wisteria Trees," with Cyril Ritchard in "The Pleasure of His Company," and in numerous other productions including "Saturday, Sunday, Monday" in 1974 and "Trelawny of the Wells" in 1976.

His film credits include "The Kid From Brooklyn," "Wake Island," "Island in the Sky," "13 Rue Madeleine" and "Man Without a Country."

Abel made numerous radio and television appearances, among them "The American Woman: Portraits in Courage" in 1976.

A funeral service was held in Essex, Conn., on Saturday, and a memorial service will be held later in New York.

Besides his son John, Abel is survived by another son, Michael.

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