John Ericson, the German-born actor who made his mark on Broadway, in the movies, and on TV, died of pneumonia on Monday at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, THR reports.
He was 93.
Growing up in Detroit, Chicago, and then NYC, Ericson was intrigued by acting, but feared bullying if word got out in his neighborhood. He thought he would be a dentist, but was inspired to study acting seriously at the Academy of Dramatic Arts with such classmates as Grace Kelly after one of the macho boys in his senior class confessed he planned to act.
He made a series of MGM films, including "Rhapsody" (1954) with Elizabeth Taylor and the classic "Bad Day at Black Rock" (1955), in which he played the brother of Anne Francis. He would go on to play Sam Bolt opposite Francis on the beloved TV series "Honey West" (1965-1966), one of his best-remembered roles.
By the '70s, his career cooling, he chose to pose fully nude in "Playgirl" (1974). "My kids were appalled," he admitted in a 1989 TV interview. Disenchanted that the spread did not kickstart his mid-career, and upset when the images were reused but not on the cover, he sued the magazine — and won a small amount in damages.
Ericson continued working as an actor through the end of the '80s, mostly on TV, then largely retired. He returned to the big screen in "The Far Side of Jericho" (2006) and to TV for an episode of "Crash" (2008), his final performances.
In his later years, he turned to painting.