R.I.P. Orson Bean, voice of The Hobbit and Twilight Zone star

The Dr. Quinn and Being John Malkovich star was 91 years old.

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Orson Bean first found fame as a regular on television variety and game shows. He was a favorite of Johnny Carson and appeared on The Tonight Show more than 200 times, as well as serving as a long-running panelist on To Tell The Truth.

Many know him from the iconic The Twilight Zone episode "Mr. Bevis." The episode follows Mr. Bevis, played by Bean, a warmhearted but eccentric man who loses his job, apartment and car on the same day. When his guardian angel intervenes, he has to choose between his quirks and material success. It's one of the episodes of Twilight Zone that leans more on warmth than eeriness, and Bean's portrayal of the hapless but kind Bevis does much to bring the character to life. 

Kids of the '70s and '80s might recognize Bean's voice as the titular hobbit from the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated movie The Hobbit and its follow-up, Return of the King. Bean voiced the central characters Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins.

Bean guest-starred on numerous shows, including How I Met Your Mother, The Love Boat and Modern Family. But one of his rare long-running roles was on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman as Loren Bray, the shrewd shopkeeper in the town. He would appear in nearly every episode.

Orson Bean as Loren Bray


More modern movie fans will recognize Bean from the Oscar-nominated 1999 film Being John Malkovich as LesterCorp founder, Dr. Lester. The role got Bean an additional nomination from the Screen Actors Guild Award, as part of the ensemble cast.

Bean was a mainstay in telvision, film and stage since he began acting in the 1950s. He was 91 years old when he passed away.

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jacko3 25 days ago
a memorable and talented personality .. remember him from many roles a a kid .. WOW - GOD Rest the Life of Orson Bean, Amen - Aleluia!
Brian 1 month ago
Definitely a talented actor. As a little kid in the 60's frustrated with only three TV stations (and PBS, but who wanted to watch that boring educational station when they were young?) I very-much remember watching To Tell The Truth every weekday, and wondering who Orson Bean was. But for many of us who watched that show, even though we didn't really know who he was or why he was famous, Orson was our favorite because he was funny and down-to-earth. I kinda remember something about him being on the oh-so-popular Laugh In, but I may have some synapses misfiring with that there remembery.

JeffPaul76 1 month ago
Today is June 22nd 2021, and I'm just reading now about Orson Bean passing away in Feb. 2020? Did it really take this long for MeTV to post this article/obit?
Mac2Nite 6 months ago
Besides his being such a naturally funny guy, I remember Orson Bean as being the Founder of the Fifteenth Street School in NY. He purchased a building in 1964 and started the school. It was the first democratic free school in NY and was based on the Summerhill School in England.

And he didn't just "pass away"... he was hit & run over by two cars, then dragged for 25 feet, in Venice, California. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 😥
MaryHelen 7 months ago
i know its sad when a loved actor/actress dies--but many of them are old and theier time ha come--we ll have to go sometime. really sad are those who go before the--their time and/or suddenly. can you make a story on them-- such as john ritter
ELEANOR 17 months ago
How sad. It seems that every time I click on Stories, that yet another story begins with RIP.
denny 17 months ago
He was hilarious on episodes of The Dennis Miller Podcast. Mr Bean also has his one man show on youtube called Safe at Home. He was married to the mom on Wonder Years at the time of his death.
KennethGrueschow denny 17 months ago
In fact, he was headed to a theatre to see her perform when he was hit by 2 cars
lucirush denny 14 months ago
Yeah, they were both on Dr. Quinn. Must have been where they met.
jholton30062 17 months ago
I remember him from the many game shows he appeared on (To Tell The Truth, Password etc.) and from his appearances on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson. He used to have Carson in stitches with some of his goofy stories and jokes. Like Betty White, I think I'd been watching him on TV most of my life. Rest in peace, Orson Bean!
1 time he had to disqualify himself when 3 men appeared and one was his dad. You can find the clip on YouTube.
Utzaake 17 months ago
Orson Bean's death is a reminder that there are still way too many idiot drivers out on the streets. What I remember the most from his Twilight Zone appearance as Mr. Bevis was the description of his character being an "oddball" who liked, among quite a few things, "professional football" of which Rod Serling was obviously not a fan.
dth1971 17 months ago
Orson Bean did a voice of a rabbit in the 1984 Garfield animated special "Garfield in the Rough".
CouchPotato19 17 months ago
He looks a little bit like Roddy McDowall and then like Michael Palin in the older pic.
DavidBartholomew 17 months ago
Met him in line at Magic Mountain, an amusement park in Southern California. Very real person. We talked for the entire line(seems like an hour), about everything EXCEPT Television and acting!

His daughter married a college friend of mine.
Michael 17 months ago
This was truly terrible news. Orson was an authentic favorite of mine for the past 60+ years, ever since I was a small child. He was one of the most gifted, charismatic raconteurs and wits of whom I have ever been aware. He was on the same echelon as the likes of Tony Randall, which is to say, the stratosphere. How appropriate that among Orson's many accomplishments was a memorable appearance on Rod Serling's original Twilight Zone, the greatest television show of all time.

As Christ pointed out, we are all sinners. May God forgive Orson his sins and accept him into Heaven. The world is a much sadder place without him.
teire 17 months ago
My mother introduced me to Orson Bean when he was strolling down the street eating an ice cream cone near the regional theater where we were about to see him perform as the devil in Damn Yankees. Not that she knew him, but I guess she felt like she did. It was a weird and spontaneous moment and he was very gracious (and a little puzzled I’m sure). Have enjoyed him thru all the decades, he was always so wry.
RobCertSDSCascap teire 17 months ago
Cool! Can't see him as Applegate, though.
cperrynaples 17 months ago
I'm so glad you didn't ignore Orson Bean! He was the best panelist on the original To Tell The Truth, and it was sad how he died! At least because of Grace & Frankie, he became one of the few stars to appear on TV in 8 consecutive decades!
MrsPhilHarris cperrynaples 17 months ago
Loved To Tell The Truth.
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