Basil Hoffman, Character Actor in ‘Hillstreet Blues,’ ‘Square Pegs,’ Dies at 83

Character actor Basil Hoffman, who had more than 100 roles in television shows and movies, died Sept. 17, according to his manager Brad Lemack. He was 83.

He had recurring roles on several series, playing Ed Greenglass on “Hill Street Blues,” Joshua Friendly on “Santa Barbara,” Principal Dingleman on “Square Pegs,” and Simeon Trapp in “Courage, New Hampshire.”

Hoffman was born and raised in Houston, and started his acting career after graduating Tulane U. with a degree in economics. He trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, then began working in commercials and small roles before moving to Hollywood.

He appeared in Academy Award-winning films “Ordinary People” and “The Artist,” and had small roles in films including “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Hail Caesar!,” “All the President’s Men,” “Comes a Horseman,” “The Milagro Beanfield War” and “Down With Love.” His other film roles included “My Favorite Year,” “The Electric Horseman,” “Rio, I Love You” and “Ice Runner.”

Among the TV shows he appeared in were “Seinfeld,” “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “The Waltons,” “Sanford and Son,” “Columbo,” “Night Court,” “L.A. Law,” “Murder, She Wrote” and “The West Wing.”

Most recently, Hoffman starred in the faith-based feature comedy “Lucky Louie,” which is in post-production.

A popular coach and acting teacher, Hoffman wrote the books “Cold Reading and How to Be Good at It,” “Acting and How to Be Good at It” and “Acting and How to Be Good at It: The Second Edition.” In 2008, he travelled to Beirut, Lebanon as a U.S. State Department Cultural Envoy to teach acting and directing at the Academie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts.

 

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