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Douglas Fowley; Portrayed Doc Holliday in '50s TV Series

Obituary

May 28, 1998|MYRNA OLIVER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Douglas Fowley, character actor who appeared in more than 200 films and television shows but is probably best remembered as Doc Holliday in the long-running 1950s series "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp," has died. He was 86.

Fowley died May 21 at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills.

Most frequently a villain or gangster in films from the 1930s through the 1970s, Fowley was also memorable as the 1920s-era motion picture director in the Gene Kelley musical "Singin' in the Rain," released in 1952.

"My father was there in the beginning of the golden era of Hollywood," said his son, Kim Fowley of New Orleans, who has produced music for such films as "American Graffiti" and "The Butcher Boy."

During his long and varied career, the handsome Fowley appeared in many westerns and could change his appearance and persona like a chameleon. He was the dapper, alcoholic and tuberculin Doc in the Wyatt Earp series, which starred Hugh O'Brian, from 1955 through 1961. Gray-bearded and squinting behind wire-rimmed glasses, he was also the sharp-shooting patriarch Grandpa Hanks in the shorter series "Pistols 'n' Petticoats," starring Ann Sheridan, in 1966-67.

Also on the small screen, Fowley appeared in the popular series "The Streets of San Francisco," "CHiPs," "The Rockford Files" and "Perry Mason."

Born Daniel Vincent Fowley in the Bronx, N.Y., he began acting on stage and appeared in several off-Broadway shows before moving to Los Angeles. He attended Los Angeles City College and UCLA Extension and served in the Navy during World War II.

Fowley made his screen debut in "The Mad Game," starring Spencer Tracy, in 1933. Among his other films were "The Hucksters," "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," "Mighty Joe Young," "Battleground," "The Naked Jungle" and "Barabbas." Fowley's final film was the 1979 "The North Avenue Irregulars."

The actor co-wrote, produced and directed one low-budget film, "Macumba Love," in 1960.

Divorced at least six times, Fowley is survived by his wife, Jean; five children, Douglas Jr., Kim, Daniel, Gretchen and Kip; three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

The family has asked that memorial contributions be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund, 23300 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills 91364.

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