Orson Bean

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Orson Bean
Orson Bean 1965.JPG
Bean in 1965
BornDallas Frederick Burrows
(1928-07-22) July 22, 1928 (age 86)
Burlington, Vermont, U.S.
Years active1952–present
Spouse(s)Jacqueline deSibour (1956–1962), 1 child
Carolyn Maxwell (1965–1981),
3 children
Alley Mills (1993-present)
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Orson Bean
Orson Bean 1965.JPG
Bean in 1965
BornDallas Frederick Burrows
(1928-07-22) July 22, 1928 (age 86)
Burlington, Vermont, U.S.
Years active1952–present
Spouse(s)Jacqueline deSibour (1956–1962), 1 child
Carolyn Maxwell (1965–1981),
3 children
Alley Mills (1993-present)

Orson Bean (born July 22, 1928) is an American film, television, and stage actor. He appeared frequently on televised game shows in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, including being a long-time panelist on the television game show To Tell the Truth.

Early life[edit]

Bean was born Dallas Frederick Burrows in Burlington, Vermont, the son of Marian Ainsworth (née Pollard) and George Frederick Burrows. His father was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a fund-raiser for the Scottsboro Boys' defense, and a 20-year member of the campus police of Harvard College.[1] Orson graduated from the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. He is a first cousin twice removed of Calvin Coolidge, who was President of the United States at the time of Bean's birth.[2] Orson Bean is a founding member of The Sons of the Desert, the international Laurel and Hardy Society. Bean served for two years in the United States Army stationed in Japan (1946-1947).

Acting career[edit]

In 1952, Bean made a guest appearance on NBC Radio's weekly hot-jazz series The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street. His vocal mannerisms were ideal for the mock-serious tone of the show, and he became the show's master of ceremonies ("Dr. Orson Bean") for its final season. Bean guested on The Tonight Show (with both Jack Paar and Johnny Carson), and appeared on game shows originating from New York.[3] He was a regular panelist on To Tell the Truth in versions from the late 1950s through 1991. During this time, his father appeared as a subject of the panel and he had to disqualify himself from participating. Apparently no one knew his real name was Burrows.[4] He appeared on Super Password and Match Game, among other game shows. He hosted a pilot for a revamped version of Concentration in 1985 which was picked up later on in 1987 as Classic Concentration with Alex Trebek.

He played the title character in the 1960 Twilight Zone episode "Mr. Bevis". In 1961, for the CBS anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson, he starred as John Monroe in "The Secret Life of James Thurber", based on the works of the American humorist James Thurber.

On Broadway, he was the star of the original cast of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1955), and was featured in Subways Are For Sleeping (1961), for which he received a Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actor in a Musical, as well as Never Too Late (1962). He also starred in Illya Darling, the 1967 musical adaptation of the film Never on Sunday. In 1964 he produced the Obie Award winning Home Movies and appeared on Broadway in I Was Dancing.[citation needed]

He was a regular on both Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and its spin-off, Fernwood 2Nite, and also played the shrewd businessman and storekeeper Loren Bray on the television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman throughout its six-year run on CBS in the 1990s. He played John Goodman's homophobic father on the sitcom Normal, Ohio. He played the main characters Bilbo and Frodo Baggins in the 1977 and 1980 Rankin/Bass animated adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, and The Return of the King. He also played Dr. Lester in Spike Jonze's 1999 film, Being John Malkovich. Bean appeared in the last two episodes of Season 7 of 2003 in 7th Heaven as a patient. In 2005, Bean appeared in the sitcom Two and a Half Men, in an episode entitled "Does This Smell Funny to You?", playing a former playboy whose conquests included actresses Tuesday Weld and Anne Francis. He appeared in the 2007 How I Met Your Mother episode "Slapsgiving" as Robin Scherbatsky's 41-year-old boyfriend, Bob. In 2009, he was cast in the recurring role of Roy Bender, a steak salesman, who is Karen McCluskey's love interest on the ABC series Desperate Housewives.

Personal life[edit]

Bean has been married three times. His first wife was actress Jacqueline de Sibour (stage name: Rain Winslow),[5] whom he married in 1956 and divorced in 1962. She was the daughter of Vicomte Jacques J. de Sibour, a French nobleman and pilot, and his wife, Violette B. Selfridge (later Mrs. Frederick T. Bedford), daughter of British department-store magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge.[6][7] Jacqueline and Bean had one child, Michele.

His second wife was fashion designer Carolyn Maxwell.[8] They married in 1965 and divorced in 1981. They had three children: Max, Susannah, and Ezekiel. Susannah was married to conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart until his death; they had four children. Bean lives in Los Angeles with his third wife, actress Alley Mills, 23 years his junior; they married in 1993.

Bean left the US and lived in Australia during the turbulent sixties.

From 2012- 2013, Bean was a guest several times on the Dennis Miller radio show, stating that he is a Christian of orthodox beliefs and very thankful for the career success that he has had.


1952Broadway Television TheatreErwin ThrowbridgeEpisodes: Three Men on a Horse, Nothing but the Truth
1952Westinghouse Studio OneHarvey B. HinesEpisode: The Square Peg
1954The Blue AngelHostI believe that the Blue Angel you list was a night club in New York City where Mr Bean performed.
1954Robert Montgomery PresentsunknownEpisode: It Happened in Paris
1954Westinghouse Studio OneJoeyEpisode: Joey
1955The Best of BroadwayMortimer BrewsterEpisode: Arsenic and Old Lace
1955The Elgin HourArthurEpisode: San Francisco Fracas
1955How to Be Very, Very PopularToby Marshall
1956Showdown at Ulcer GulchLlewelyn Throckmorton, III
1956Omnibus (U.S. TV series)Episode: The Best Year in the Whole History of the World
1956Westinghouse Studio OneCharlie DiggerEpisode: A Christmas Surprise
1957Kraft Television TheatreEpisode: A Travel from Brussels
1957Playhouse 90Jack ChesneyEpisode: Charley's Aunt
1958The Phil Silvers ShowEpisode: Bilko's Insurance Company
1958The MillionaireNewman JohnsonEpisode: The Newman Johnson Story
1959Anatomy of a MurderDr. Matthew Smith
1959Miracle on 34th StreetDr. William Sawyer
1960The Twilight ZoneJames B.W. BevisEpisode: Mr. Bevis
1960Play of the Week (TV series)Episodes 1960–1961: Two by Saroyan: 'Once Around the Block' and 'My Heart's in the Highlands', New York Scrapbook
1961The DuPont Show with June AllysonJohn MonroeEpisode: The Secret Life of James Turber
1962Naked City (TV series)Arnold PlattEpisode: To Walk Like a Lion
1963The United States Steel HourLester, Eddie West, Dennis KavanaughEpisodes 1954–1963: Good for You, The Fifth Wheel, Don't Shake the Family Tree
1964Vacation PlayhouseEpisode: The Bean Show
1966The Star WagonStephen Minch
1970A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's CourtHank/Sir Boss
1970Love, American StyleEpisode: Love and the Co-ed Dorm/Love and the Optimist/Love and the Teacher
1970NET PlayhouseMultiple RolesEpisode: Helen Hayes Remembers
1974Wide World MysteryBobEpisode: The Spy Who Returned from the Dead
1975Ellery QueenWarren WrightEpisode: The Adventure of the Chinese Dog
1977Forever FernwoodReverend Brim
1977The HobbitBilbo Baggins
1978Mary Hartman, Mary HartmanReverend BrimUnknown episodes 1977–1978
1978The Love BoatArtie D' AngeloEpisode: Heads or Tails/Little People, The/Mona of the Movies
1980The Return of the KingFrodo Baggins/Bilbo Baggins
1982Forty DeuceMr. Roper
1982One Life to LiveHarrison LoganUnknown episodes
1984Garfield in the RoughBilly Rabbit
1984The Fall GuyJason KlemerEpisode: October the 31st
1986Smart AlecArthur Fitzgerald
1987The Facts of LifeOliver ThompsonEpisodes 1986–1987: Fast Food, Cupid's Revenge, Ex Marks the Spot
1987InnerspaceLydia's Editor
1989Murder, She WroteEbeneezer McEneryEpisodes 1986–1989: Keep the Home Fries Burning, Town Father
1990MonstersDr. HubbardEpisode: The Offering
1990Instant KarmaDr. Berlin
1990Tiny Toon AdventuresGepettoEpisode: Fairy Tales for the 90's
1991Chance of a LifetimeFred
1992Final JudgementMonsignor Corelli
1992Just My ImaginationJeremy Stitcher
1997CaliforniaLoren Bray
1997One of Those NightsNeighbor
1998Diagnosis: MurderLewis SweeneyEpisode: Obsession part 1
1998Dr. Quinn, Medicine WomanLoren Bray146 episodes, 1993–1998
1999ThanksBurnaby FitzhughEpisode: Spring
1999Being John MalkovichDr. Lester
2000Manhattan, AZLew GoldbergEpisodes: The Voyage Home, Atticus Doesn't Live Here Anymore
2000Ally McBealMartyEpisode: In Search of Pygmies
2000The King of QueensCarl TepperEpisode: Surprise Artie
2000Family LawArchbishop PhillipsEpisode: Possession Is Nine Tenths of the Law
2000Will & GraceProfessor Joseph DudleyEpisode: There But for the Grace of Grace
2000Normal, OhioWilliam 'Bill' Gamble, Sr.7 episodes, 2000
2001The GristleMr. Bowen
2001Burning Down the HouseSy
2002BeckerMr. BennetEpisode: Piece Talks
2002Frank McKlusky, C.I.Mr Gafty
20037th HeavenPatientEpisodes: Life and Death, part 1 and 2
2003Knee High P.I.Macintyre
2004Myron's MovieStanley
2004Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Charlie's Angels'John Forsythe
2004Soccer Dog: European CupMayor Milton Gallagher
2004Cold CaseHarland SealeyEpisode: Red Glare
2005Yesterday's DreamsTony Vicedomini
2005Two and a Half MenNormanEpisode: Does This Smell Funny to You?
2006Alien AutopsyHomeless Man
2006Commander in ChiefBill HarrisonEpisode: The Price You Pay
2006The Lather EffectJonathan 'God Damn' Iverson
2006The NoviceFather McIlhenny
2007Mattie Fresno and the Holoflux UniverseRaff Buddemeyer
2007The CloserDonald BaxterEpisode: The Round File
2007The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie WoodmanChickEpisode: Good Times and Great Oldies
2007Women's Murder ClubHarold GrantEpisode: Grannies, Guns and Love Mints
2007How I Met Your MotherBobEpisode: Slapsgiving
2009The HolePizza Delivery ManCameo: not listed in cast
2009Safe HarborJudge
2009 – 2012Desperate HousewivesRoy BenderRecurring




  1. ^ "George Burrows, 89, an A.C.L.U. Founder". The New York Times. 1989-04-15. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  2. ^ Orson Bean at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ "Psychedelic Macho" Dialogue Talk.
  4. ^ "To Tell the Truth - Orson's Dad". 
  5. ^ Grafic Magazine, The Chicago Sunday Tribune, January 25, 1953
  6. ^ "Actress Wed to Orson Bean", The New York Times, 21 August 1956
  7. ^ "Frederick T. Bedford Is Dead; Industrialist and Yachtsman, 85", The New York Times, May 9, 1963
  8. ^ "Designer Will Create Style to Suit Wearer", The New York Times, 22 April 1964

External links[edit]