Veteran TV Grandpa, Stage Actor Hughes Dies

EntertainmentTheaterCelebritiesTelevisionMusical TheaterBob NewhartHealth

Tony- and Emmy-winning actor Barnard Hughes -- who made a name for himself on stage but gained more mainstream success playing various sassy grandfathers on TV shows like "Blossom" and on the big screen in "The Lost Boys" -- has died.

The actor died Tuesday, July 11, at New York Presbyterian Hospital after a brief illness, report news sources. He was 90.

Hughes was born in New York on July 16, 1915, and worked various odd jobs before becoming an actor. He toured with various stock companies and made his Broadway debut in "Herself Mrs. Patrick Crowley." During his stage career, he married another stage actor, Helen Stenborg, in 1950. His other theater credits include "A Majority of One," "Advise and Consent," "Hamlet" (with Richard Burton), "Abelard and Heloise," "All Over Town" and "Prelude to a Kiss."

Forty-three years after his Broadway debut, he won a best-actor Tony for portraying the titular curmudgeon "Da." He previously received a Tony nomination for portraying Dogberry in the 1973 New York Shakespeare Festival's revival of "Much Ado About Nothing."

Hughes worked on television at the same time and became series regular Dr. Bruce Banning on the soap "Guiding Light" for several years. Among the other prolific actor's roles were Bob Newhart's fisherman dad on the '70s-era "The Bob Newhart Show," the titular sorcerer-turned-grease monkey in the short-lived but much beloved '80s TV series "Mr. Merlin," outspoken clan leader "Pop" Cavanaugh on "The Cavanaughs" and Grandpa Buzz on "Blossom." He won an Emmy in 1977 for a guest-starring stint on "Lou Grant."

He's also made some minor but memorable appearances on the big screen: Jon Voight's last "John" in "Midnight Cowboy," the hawkish colonel in "Where's Poppa?," Diana Rigg's dad in "The Hospital," the judge in "Oh, God!," the High Priest in "Tron" and the wacky vampire-hunting grandfather in "The Lost Boys." His other credits include "Doc Hollywood," "The Odd Couple II," "Sister Act II" and "Cradle Will Rock."

Hughes is survived by his wife, his stage director son Doug, actress daughter Laura and a grandson.

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