SAN CLEMENTE — H. Wynn Pearce, a professor of theater arts at Saddleback College for 16 years and a former Broadway and television actor, died Tuesday after a lengthy illness. He was 62.
Pearce, a longtime resident of San Clemente, first became known as an actor as an understudy for Andy Griffith in the Broadway hit "No Time for Sergeants." He eventually assumed the role of Will Stockdale toward the end of the play's New York run and took it on a national tour.
In the 1960s, Pearce had recurring leading roles in television hits such as "Perry Mason," "Gunsmoke," "Maverick," "Bonanza" and "77 Sunset Strip."
Pearce received his master's degree in play writing from USC and taught theater history, acting and directing at the University of Arizona and United States International University before coming to Saddleback in 1974.
Pearce "was one of the most creative personalities I've ever met," said Constance Carroll, president of Saddleback College. "He was an elegant, marvelous man and an extraordinary teacher. He will be profoundly missed."
A scholarship in Pearce's name is being established and will be awarded annually to theater arts students at Saddleback.
According to his wishes, Pearce's body was cremated and his ashes scattered at sea.