Dabney Coleman, villainous “9 to 5” boss, dies at 92

The revered character actor's credits also included "WarGames," "Tootsie," "Boardwalk Empire," and "Yellowstone."

Dabney Coleman, the Emmy-winning character actor best known for his role as the villainous boss in the 1980 film 9 to 5, died Thursday at his home in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 92.

His daughter Quincy Coleman confirmed the news in a statement provided to Entertainment Weekly on Friday. "My father crafted his time here on earth with a curious mind, a generous heart, and a soul on fire with passion, desire and humor that tickled the funny bone of humanity," she said. "As he lived, he moved through this final act of his life with elegance, excellence and mastery. A teacher, a hero, and a king, Dabney Coleman is a gift and blessing in life and in death as his spirit will shine through his work, his loved ones and his legacy… eternally."

<p>20th Century Fox Film Corp./Courtesy of Everett</p> Dabney Coleman as Franklin Hart Jr. in '9 to 5'

20th Century Fox Film Corp./Courtesy of Everett

Dabney Coleman as Franklin Hart Jr. in '9 to 5'

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Coleman's acting career spanned nearly seven decades, starting with appearances on TV shows like The Outer Limits, The Fugitive, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in the '60s. By the time he took on the role of sexist boss Franklin Hart Jr. in 9 to 5 — managing to stand out despite starring opposite iconic actresses Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, and Jane Fonda — he had amassed a resume that included dozens of shows and films.

Coleman would go on to become a key piece in timeless movies and shows in the wake of 9 to 5's success. This included a leading role on the short-lived, Emmy-nominated series Buffalo Bill, and prominent roles in films like On Golden Pond, Tootsie, WarGames, The Muppets Take Manhattan, You've Got Mail, and The Beverly Hillbillies, on which he reunited with 9 to 5 costars Tomlin and Parton.

<p>20th Century Fox Film Corp./Courtesy of Everett</p> Dolly Parton, Marian Mercer, and Dabney Coleman in '9 to 5'

20th Century Fox Film Corp./Courtesy of Everett

Dolly Parton, Marian Mercer, and Dabney Coleman in '9 to 5'

Coleman won an Emmy for his supporting role in the TV film Sworn to Silence. He was nominated another five times, including twice as a lead actor in Buffalo Bill and once for portraying the title character in The Slap Maxwell Story, a role that earned him a Golden Globe.

Coleman, who continued acting until 2019, shifted effortlessly between serious and comedic roles. He could be the sleazy boss of Charles Grodin in the absurd Clifford, while taking on a commanding presence as Boardwalk Empire's Commodore Louis Kaestner.

The Texas native received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014 and made his final acting appearance in a 2019 episode of Yellowstone, where he played the dying father of Kevin Costner's John Dutton.

"I had worked with Dabney many, many years ago, almost 20 years ago, as one of the young pups," Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan said of casting Dabney. "He's a Texas guy and was such a gifted, giving actor, and I was really struck by how good he was, and how kind he was, to this kid who was guest starring on his deal."

Following the news of Coleman's passing, multiple actors have taken to social media to pay tribute, including his Recess: School's Out costar James Woods. He wrote on X, "I've gone to Dan Tana's restaurant regularly all my adult life. Dabney Coleman was always there, sitting in booth number one (appropriately), having his trademark steak. I had always loved him as an actor, and loved him more as we became friends. #RIPDabneyColeman."

In a joint statement, his 9 to 5 costar Lily Tomlin and her wife, Jane Wagner, posted an image from the film on X, writing, "We just loved him."

And Ben Stiller recalled Coleman as the ultimate character actor. "The great Dabney Coleman literally created, or defined, really — in a uniquely singular way — an archetype as a character actor," he wrote on X. "He was so good at what he did it’s hard to imagine movies and television of the last 40 years without him. Xxx"

Coleman is survived by his children, Meghan, Kelly, Randy, and Quincy Coleman, and his grandchildren, Hale and Gabe Torrance, Luie Freundl, and Kai and Coleman Biancaniello.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.