Coleman in The Towering Inferno (1974)
Dabney Wharton Coleman
January 3, 1932
Austin, Texas, U.S.
|Residence||Brentwood, California, U.S.|
|Children||4, including Quincy|
Coleman's best known films include The Towering Inferno (1974), 9 to 5 (1980), On Golden Pond (1981), Tootsie (1982), WarGames (1983), Cloak & Dagger (1984), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), You've Got Mail (1998), Recess: School's Out (2001), Moonlight Mile (2002), and Rules Don't Apply (2016).
Coleman's television roles include the title character in Buffalo Bill (1983–1984), Burton Fallin in The Guardian (2001–2004), the voice of Principal Peter Prickly in Recess (1997–2001), and Louis "The Commodore" Kaestner in Boardwalk Empire (2010–2011). He has won one Primetime Emmy Award from six nominations and one Golden Globe Award from three nominations.
Coleman was born in Austin, Texas, the son of Melvin Randolph and Mary Wharton (née Johns) Coleman. He entered the Virginia Military Institute in 1949, then studied law at the University of Texas before turning to acting. He was drafted in 1953 to the United States Army and served in Europe.
Coleman is a character actor with roles in well over 60 films and television programs to his credit. He trained with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater in New York City from 1958-60. Early roles in his career included a US Olympic skiing team coach in the 1969 Downhill Racer, a high-ranking fire chief in The Towering Inferno (1974), and a wealthy Westerner in Bite the Bullet (1975). He portrayed an FBI agent in Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan (1975).
He landed the main antagonist part of Franklin Hart, Jr., a sexist boss on whom three female office employees get their revenge in 1980's Nine to Five. It was this film that established Coleman in the character type he is most identified with and has frequently played since - a comic relief villain. Coleman followed Nine to Five with the role of the arrogant, sexist, soap opera director in Tootsie (1982), further enforcing audiences' identification of him as a smarmy, devious foil to a film's main character. He broke from this type somewhat, however, in his portrayal of military computer scientist John McKittrick in WarGames (1983). Since then, Coleman has consistently shifted between roles in serious drama and comedies.
Coleman received his first Emmy nomination for his lead role in the critically acclaimed, though short-lived, TV series Buffalo Bill. In 1987, he received an Emmy Award for his role in the TV movie Sworn to Silence. He appeared in the feature film On Golden Pond (1981), playing the fiancé of Chelsea Thayer Wayne (Jane Fonda). Coleman played a Hugh Hefner-ish magazine mogul in the comedy Dragnet (1987), Bobcat Goldthwait's boss in the 1988 talking-horse comedy Hot to Trot, and befuddled banker Milburn Drysdale in the feature film The Beverly Hillbillies (1993). Coleman played Gerald Ellis in Clifford (1994).
From 1997 to 2001, Coleman provided the voice of Principal Prickly on the animated series Recess. He also played a philandering father in You've Got Mail (1998). Coleman appeared as a casino owner in 2005's Domino. He received acclaim as Burton Fallin in the TV series The Guardian (2001–04). For two seasons, from 2010 to 2011, Coleman was a series regular on HBO's Boardwalk Empire.
On November 6, 2014, Coleman received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Coleman resides in Brentwood, California. He has been divorced twice. He was married to Ann Courtney Harrell from 1957 to 1959 and Jean Hale from 1961 to 1984. He has four children, including three by Hale: Kelly, Randy, and singer Quincy.
In 1998, Coleman worked with fellow actor Bronson Pinchot at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina to help protect local forests and helped lead a campaign to educate others on how to care for and protect forests nationwide.
|1965||The Slender Thread||Charlie|
|1966||This Property Is Condemned||Salesman|
|1969||The Trouble with Girls||Harrison Wilby|
|1970||I Love My Wife||Frank Donnelly|
|1973||Cinderella Liberty||Executive Officer|
|1974||The Dove||Charles Huntley|
|1974||The Towering Inferno||SFFD deputy chief 1|
|1975||Bite the Bullet||Jack Parker|
|1975||The Other Side of the Mountain||Dave McCoy|
|1976||Midway||Captain Murray Arnold|
|1977||Viva Knievel!||Ralph Thompson|
|1978||The Other Side of the Mountain Part 2||Dave McCoy||Uncredited|
|1978||Go Tell the Spartans||Helicopter pilot||Uncredited|
|1979||North Dallas Forty||Emmett Hunter|
|1980||How to Beat the High Cost of Living||Jack Heintzel|
|1980||Melvin and Howard||Judge Keith Hayes|
|1980||9 to 5||Franklin M. Hart, Jr.|
|1980||Pray TV||Marvin Fleece|
|1981||On Golden Pond||Dr. Bill Ray|
|1981||Modern Problems||Mark Winslow|
|1982||Young Doctors in Love||Dr. Joseph Prang|
|1983||WarGames||Dr. John McKittrick|
|1984||The Muppets Take Manhattan||Martin Price / Murray Plotsky|
|1984||Cloak & Dagger||Jack Flack / Hal Osborne|
|1985||The Man with One Red Shoe||Burton Cooper|
|1988||Hot to Trot||Walter Sawyer|
|1990||Where the Heart Is||Stewart McBain|
|1990||Short Time||Burt Simpson|
|1990||Meet the Applegates||Aunt Bea|
|1992||There Goes the Neighborhood||Jeffrey Babitt|
|1993||Amos & Andrew||Police Chief Cecil Tolliver|
|1993||The Beverly Hillbillies||Milburn Drysdale|
|1994||Judicial Consent||Charles Mayron|
|1997||Witch Way Love||Joel|
|1998||You've Got Mail||Nelson Fox|
|1999||Giving It Up||Jonathan Gallant|
|1999||Inspector Gadget||Police Chief Quimby|
|1999||Stuart Little||Dr. Beechwood|
|2001||Recess: School's Out||Principal Peter Prickly||Voice|
|2002||Moonlight Mile||Mike Mulcahey|
|2003||Where the Red Fern Grows||Grandpa|
|2007||Hard Four||Spray Loomis|
|2016||Rules Don't Apply||Raymond Holliday|
|1961||Naked City||Resident||Episode: "Landscape with Dead Figures"|
|1964||The Outer Limits||Dr. Williams / Lt. Howard / James Custer||3 episodes|
|1964||The Alfred Hitchcock Hour||Tom Esterow||Episode: "Dear Uncle George"|
|1964-1966||The Fugitive||Steve / Officer George Graham / Floyd / Sergeant Keith||4 episodes|
|1965||The Donna Reed Show||Rallye Master||Episode: "A-Haunting We Will Go"|
|1966-1967||That Girl||Dr. Leon Bessemer||8 episodes|
|1967||The Invaders||John Carter / Capt. Mitchell Ross||2 episodes|
|1967||Dundee and the Culhane||Sheriff Wrenn||Episode: "The Jubilee Raid Brief"|
|1967||The Invaders||Captain Mitchell Ross / John Carter||2 episodes|
|1968-1969||Bonanza||Ivar Peterson / Clyde||2 episodes|
|1969||The Mod Squad||John||Episode: "The Guru"|
|1970||The Brotherhood of the Bell||Agent Shepard|
|1973||The President's Plane Is Missing||Sen. Bert Haines||TV movie|
|1973-1991||Columbo||Hugh Creighton / Detective Murray||2 episodes|
|1974||Bad Ronald||Mr. Wood||TV movie|
|1974||Kojak||Alex Linden||Episode: "Therapy in Dynamite"|
|1974-1975||McMillan & Wife||Walter Jennings / Hansen||2 episodes|
|1975||Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan||Paul Mathison||TV movie|
|1976||The Mary Tyler Moore Show||Congressman Phil Whitman||Episode: "The Seminar"|
|1976-1977||Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman||Merle Jeeter||148 episodes|
|1977||Quincy, M.E.||Officer Peter O'Neil / Dr. Burt Travers||2 episodes|
|1978||Apple Pie||"Fast Eddie" Murtaugh||8 episodes|
|1978||Maneaters Are Loose!||McCallum||TV movie|
|1979||Diff'rent Strokes||Fred Tanner||2 Episodes "Arnold's Girlfriend (Parts 1 & 2)"|
|1983-1984||Buffalo Bill||Bill Bittinger||26 episodes|
|1986||Fresno||Tyler Cane||5 episodes|
|1986||Murrow||CBS President William S. Paley||TV movie|
|1987-1988||The Slap Maxwell Story||Slap Maxwell||22 episodes|
|1991||Never Forget||William Cox||TV movie|
|1991-1992||Drexell's Class||Otis Drexell||18 episodes|
|1994-1995||Madman of the People||Jack "Madman" Buckner||16 episodes|
|1997||The Magic School Bus||Horace Scope||Voice, Episode: "Sees Stars"|
|1997-2001||Recess||Principal Peter Prickly||Main cast|
Voice, 127 episodes
|1997||Jumanji||Ashton Phillips||Voice, Episodes: "The Palace of Clues" and "An Old Story"|
|1998||My Date with the President's Daughter||President Richmond||Episode: "My Date with the President's Daughter"|
|1998||Exiled: A Law & Order Movie||Lieutenant Kevin Stolper||TV movie|
|2001-2004||The Guardian||Burton Fallin||67 Episodes|
|2006||Courting Alex||Bill Rose||12 Episodes|
|2006||Lilo & Stitch: The Series||Principal Peter Prickly||Voice, Episode: "Lax"|
|2007||Heartland||Dr. Bart Jacobs||6 episodes|
|2009||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Frank Hager||Episode: "Snatched"|
|2010-2011||Pound Puppies||Mayor Jerry||Voice, 4 episodes|
Season 1 only
|2010-2011||Boardwalk Empire||Commodore Louis Kaestner||24 episodes|
|2016||Ray Donovan||Mr. Price||Episode: "Federal Boobie Inspector"|
|2019||NCIS||Cpl. John Sidney||Episode: "The Last Link"|
|2019||For the People (2018 TV Series)||Donald Newman||Episode: "One Big Happy Family, S2 E5"|
|2019||Yellowstone||John Dutton Sr||Episode: "Sins of the Father, S2 E10"|
Awards and nominations
- "UPI Almanac for Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019". United Press International. January 3, 2019. Archived from the original on January 3, 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
actor Dabney Coleman in 1932 (age 87)
- "The New York Times".
- Dabney Coleman Biography (1932-) at filmreference.com
- Dabney Coleman Biography at Yahoo! Movies
- The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 1437. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.
- Saval, Malina (6 November 2014). "Dabney Coleman Receives a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame". Variety. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- Dabney Coleman, The Movieland Directory, 2010, archived from the original on 2013-10-12
- Wallace, David (11 July 1983), "As TV's Macho Buffalo Bill, Dabney Coleman Finds That Sexism Breeds Success", People, 20 (2)
- Scott, Vernon (17 January 1982), "Dabney Coleman Gradually Working His Way to Top", Florence Times - Tri-Cities Daily, UPI