David White (actor)

David White (April 4, 1916 – November 27, 1990) was an American stage, film and television actor best known for playing Darrin Stephens' boss Larry Tate on the 1964–72 ABC situation comedy Bewitched.

David White
Born(1916-04-04)April 4, 1916
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
DiedNovember 27, 1990(1990-11-27) (aged 74)
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
Alma materLos Angeles City College
Years active19491989
Height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Mary Welch
(m. 1952; died 1958)

Lisa Figus (m. 1959)

Early life

Born on April 4, 1916, in Denver, Colorado, his family later moved to Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. White graduated from Los Angeles City College and began acting at the Pasadena Playhouse and the Cleveland Play House. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps during World War II and, after his discharge, made his Broadway debut in 1949 in the original play Leaf and Bough.[1]


White appeared on numerous television series in the 1950s and 1960s including One Step Beyond:Delusion where he played the Police Officer. He made two guest appearances on the CBS courtroom drama Perry Mason. In 1960, he played Henry De Garmo in "The Case of the Madcap Modiste," and in 1963 he played newspaper editor and murderer Victor Kendall in "The Case of the Witless Witness." He also appeared in Sgt Bilko, Peter Gunn, Mr. Lucky, The Untouchables, The Fugitive, Mission: Impossible, Father Knows Best , Bonanza, Have Gun – Will Travel, My Favorite Martian and Dick Tracy.[2] He appeared in two episodes of The Twilight Zone: "I Sing the Body Electric" and "A World of Difference." Though primarily known for television work, White had several minor feature film roles, including Sweet Smell of Success (1957), The Apartment (1960), in which he played a philandering executive, and featured roles in Sunrise at Campobello (also 1960)[2] and The Lawbreakers (1961).

In 1964, White was cast as sycophantic advertising executive Larry Tate on Bewitched, a role he inhabited for the show's entire run (1964–1972). The character is president of the McMann & Tate advertising agency, workplace of Dick York's (and later Dick Sargent's) Darrin Stephens character. Many of the show's episodes revolved around Tate's attempts to land lucrative advertising accounts. This is the role for which he would become best-known both during his life and posthumously. Larry Tate's baby boy Jonathan was named after White's son. White also directed one Season Six episode of Bewitched, "Samantha's Double Mother Trouble".

Following the end of Bewitched, White was a popular character actor on numerous television series for the next decade, ranging from The Love Boat, Remington Steele, The Rockford Files, Columbo: Identity Crisis, What's Happening!!, Rhoda, Quincy, M.E., Cagney & Lacey and Dallas.[2] He played the role of J. Jonah Jameson in the pilot episode of the television series The Amazing Spider-Man. His final role came in 1986 on an episode of Dynasty.[2] He also appeared in the movies The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington, Disney's Snowball Express, and had a prominent role in the 1985 version of Brewster's Millions starring Richard Pryor.[2]

Personal life

White's first marriage was to stage actress Mary Welch. On May 31, 1958, Welch died of complications from her second pregnancy. Their son, Jonathan, died on December 21, 1988, at the age of 33, in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.[3]

White married actress Lisa Gorsuch in 1959, with whom he had a daughter, Alexandra. They were married until his death in 1990.


He died of a heart attack on November 27, 1990, in North Hollywood, California, aged 74.[1] He was cremated and is interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.


Year Title Role Notes
1957Sweet Smell of SuccessOtis ElwellUncredited
1958The GoddessBurt HarrisUncredited
1960The ApartmentMr. Eichelberger
1960Sunrise at CampobelloMr. Lassiter
1961The Great ImpostorDr. Hammond
1961Madison AvenueStevenson Brock
1965The Lollipop CoverRichard
1970The Red, White, and Black10th Cavalry Trooper #16
1972Snowball ExpressMr. Fowler
1977The Happy Hooker Goes to WashingtonSenator Rawlings
1985Fast ForwardMr. Sabol
1985Brewster's MillionsGeorge Granville


  1. "David White, Actor, 74". nytimes.com. December 1, 1990.
  2. David White on IMDb
  3. Hedges, Chris (2009). Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. Random House LLC. pp. 18–19. ISBN 0-307-39858-7.
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