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David Doyle; Actor on 'Charlie's Angels'

March 01, 1997|MYRNA OLIVER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

David Doyle, a popular character actor easily recognized nationwide after his long-running role as Bosley on "Charlie's Angels," has died. He was 67.

Doyle, who lived in Encino, died Wednesday night of a heart attack, his agent Ginger Lawrence said Friday.

For the past several years, Doyle had been the voice of the grandfather in the Nickelodeon cartoon series "Rug Rats." He had recently completed episodes of the television series "Lois and Clark" and "Sunset Beach."

But the versatile actor is perhaps best remembered as John Bosley, assistant to the mysterious "Charlie," who relayed the boss' messages to three beautiful "Angel" detectives. Although the detectives changed, Doyle remained with the hit series for its entire run from 1976 to 1981.

Adept at either comedy or drama, Doyle found steady work in television and motion pictures throughout his long career. But he clearly preferred working in live theater.

"It's where I began," he told The Times in 1993. "And theater is a whole other experience. It's the immediacy an actor appreciates: You don't have to wait a year for the response. You get it instantly, either in silence or laughs. And you get to show the entire spectrum of a character, do the whole story. It's a full, complete quilt--much more fulfilling than piecework."

At the time of that interview, Doyle was directing a West Coast premiere of "I Was Dancing," a six-character play he had appeared in on Broadway three decades earlier. The play was staged at the Richard Basehart Playhouse in Woodland Hills, where Doyle often performed and had received critical acclaim in A.R. Gurney's "The Perfect Party" in 1988.

Born in Omaha, Neb., Doyle began acting when he was 10 in a community theater production of "Life With Father." After prep school in Wisconsin, he attended the University of Nebraska, and then honed his craft at Virginia's Barter Theater. In 1950, he joined the Neighborhood Playhouse troupe in New York.

After four years in the Navy, Doyle returned to New York and made his Broadway debut replacing Walter Matthau in "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" He met his wife, Anne, when both were appearing in "South Pacific" at New York's Lincoln Center.

Doyle moved to Los Angeles in 1972, noting dryly: "It became obvious I had to come west in order to work."

He made his motion picture debut in 1963 in "Act One," and later added such credits as "Love or Money," "No Way to Treat a Lady," "Paper Lion," "Vigilante Force," "Capricorn One," "Coogan's Bluff" and "The Comeback."

On the small screen, he was in several television movies, including "Blood Sport," "Archie," "The Invisible Woman," "Wait Till Your Mother Gets Home" and "Ghost Writer."

He starred in the mini-series "The Blue and the Gray," and appeared in such series as "Murder, She Wrote," "Love Boat," "Fantasy Island" and "Hart to Hart."

Doyle and his wife had been active supporters of Retinitis Pigmentosa International.

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