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Obituaries

Ralph Manza; Television, Film Character Actor

February 04, 2000

Ralph Manza, 78, veteran character actor of television and film. San Francisco-born Manza was a premed student at UC Berkeley when he was drafted into the Army during World War II. He discovered his real talent--acting--when he was assigned to a troupe of entertainers as a medic. Over the decades after the war, he appeared in 32 feature films, including "Get Shorty," "Blazing Saddles," "Dave" and the recent remake of "Godzilla." On television he played George Peppard's chauffeur-sidekick in the 1972-74 NBC detective drama "Banacek," and had an occasional role on "Newhart," the CBS sitcom starring Bob Newhart that ran through most of the 1980s. He also made regular appearances on the soap opera "General Hospital." A resident of Leucadia who leaves his wife of 52 years, Catherine, four children and three grandchildren, Manza suffered a heart attack three weeks ago while filming a Budweiser commercial. On Monday at Scripps Hospital in Encinitas, of complications related to the heart attack.

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