Orson Bean, ‘Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman’ Actor, Hit by a Car and Killed at 91

The veteran character actor was walking in Venice neighborhood of L.A. when accident occurred

orson bean
Getty Images

Veteran character actor Orson Bean, a regular on shows like “To Tell the Truth” and “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” and star of “Being John Malkovich,” died Friday night at age 91 after he was struck and killed by a car in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles coroner’s office confirmed Bean’s death in a “traffic-related” accident to the Associated Press. L.A. Police Capt. Brian Wendling told ABC that a man had been walking in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles when he was clipped by a vehicle, causing him to fall. Then a second driver struck him again.

According to ABC, Bean’s wife of 27 years, actress Alley Mills, was at the scene at the time of the accident.

Born in Vermont, Dallas Frederick Burrows (Orson Bean was a stage name) was the son of George Burrows, one of the founders of the American Civil Liberties Union. He began his career in radio in the 1950s and from the late 1950s until 1991, he became a regular panelist on the TV show “To Tell the Truth” and a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show” for both Jack Paar and Johnny Carson — appearing more than 200 times.

His film roles include Otto Preminger’s 1959 classic “Anatomy of a Murder” and “Miracle on 34th Street” as well as 1999’s “Being John Malkovich,” in which he played the mastermind behind the bizarre portal into the mind of the actor John Malkovich.

On TV, he was a regular on the 1970s sitcom “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” and played a crotchety storekeeper on the ’90s drama “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” He also had a recurring role on “Desperate Housewives” as the Korean War veteran husband of Kathryn Joosten’s trouble-making Karen Bender.

In the last decade, he has had steady guest roles on shows like “Hot in Cleveland,” “Modern Family,” “Superstore” and “Grace and Frankie.”