Richard Deacon

1921 - 1984

Richard Deacon was the bald, bespectacled character actor most famous for playing television producer Mel Cooley on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) from 1961 to 1966. In the first season of that show he also continued to appear on the series he was already appearing on, Leave It to Beaver (1957), playing Lumpy Rutherford's father Fred.Born on May 14, 1921, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the tall, bass-voiced Deacon took to the boards as a stage actor. At the beginning of his career, stage legend Helen Hayes told Deacon that he would never become a leading man but encouraged him to become a character actor. It was good advice, as Deacon's show business career lasted decades and only was terminated by his death.Because of his looks and authoritative voice, Deacon usually was typecast as a humorless or foul-tempered authority figure. He became a highly regarded supporting player in films, complimented by many of the leading actors he played opposite, including Jack Benny, Lou Costello and C

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