Character actor Jack Manning dies in Rancho Palos Verdes at 93
By Larry Altman Staff Writer Daily Breeze
Character actor Jack Manning, who appeared with Helen Hayes on Broadway, Robert Duvall in the movies, Peter Falk on television, and directed actors in South Bay theater productions, has died at his Rancho Palos Verdes home. He was 93.
Manning died of natural causes on Aug. 31. Family members and friends are planning a private celebration of his life.
"He used to say he never did an honest day's work in his life," said his wife of 42 years, Francie. "He just did what he enjoyed. He loved it. It was a very good life."
Born June 3, 1916, in Cincinnati, Manning began his acting career at the University of Cincinnati. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics, but spent his time appearing on WLW radio and in student plays and musicals.
"He started acting really young," Manning's wife said. "His parents would take him to these clubs and he would dance at various things and the band started paying him to dance. That got the bug in him to be in front of people and receive applause."
Manning moved to New York in 1941, getting a job on radio as Henry Aldrich's friend on "The Aldrich Family."
He appeared in numerous plays for the Theatre Guild on the Air, and voiced parts on classic radio shows such as "The Green Hornet," "The Shadow," "The Goldbergs," and "One Man's Family."
Manning played parts in more than 20 plays and musicals on Broadway, including the role of Rodrigo in "Othello," starring Paul Robeson from 1943-45.
Manning also appeared in "Man and Superman" with Maurice Evans, "Harriet" with Helen Hayes, and other shows, including "Junior Miss," "Billy Budd," "Alice in Wonderland," "Say Darling," "The Boyfriend," and "Do I Hear a Waltz?"
In 1953, he performed a one-man Hamlet on television's Dumont Network. The shows took place in daily 15-minute segments over two weeks.
He appeared in television shows "Robert Montgomery Presents" The "Philco Television Playhouse" and "Armstrong Circle Theatre."
After playing two characters - both of whom were killed by Jesse James - in "The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid" with Cliff Robertson and Robert Duvall, Manning and his wife moved to the South Bay in 1970.
They lived in Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach before settling in Rancho Palos Verdes in 1980.
Manning spent years appearing on television, movies and on stage in Los Angeles in the 1970s and '80s.
He appeared in movies including, "The Great Waldo Pepper," "The Owl and the Pussycat," "Where's Poppa?" "The Thief Who Came to Dinner," and several Disney movies including, "Superdad" and "Herbie Rides Again."
He played roles on numerous television dramas and comedies, including "Bonanza," "Cannon," "Columbo, "McMillan and Wife," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Marcus Welby M.D.," "Sanford and Son," "Adam-12," "Kojak," "Emergency," "Ironside," "The Six Million Man," "The Waltons," "The
Jeffersons," "Quincy M.E.," "Maude," and "Silver Spoons."
He played Dean Rutherford on five episodes of "The Paper Chase."
Manning also appeared in stage productions at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson Theatre, and the Shubert Theater in Los Angeles.
Manning taught acting in New York and in Los Angeles, and directed Shakespeare productions for the Helen Hayes' Repertory Company.
In the South Bay, Manning directed the Norris Theatre for the Performing Art's production of "Twelfth Night" at the South Coast Botanic Garden. Hundreds of people attended the shows.
Also in 1988, Manning directed the South Bay Light Opera's production of "H.M.S. Pinafore" at El Camino College's Marsee Auditorium.
In addition to his wife, Manning is survived by a son, Colin of Silver Lake; two daughters, Brook, of Rancho Palos Verdes and Gale Nichols of Savannah, Ga.; three grandchildren; and one great-grandson.
Born: 6/3/1916, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Died: 8/31/2009, Rancho Palos Verdes, California, U.S.A.
Jack Manning's westerns - actor:
Bonanza (TV) - 1971 (Henry Clagger)
Alias Smith and Jones (TV) - 1971 (Bart Lewis), 1972 (Dr. O'Connell)
The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid - 1972 (Heywood)