Edward Andrews, Veteran Character Actor, Dead at 70

Times Staff Writer

Edward Andrews, a bespectacled moon-faced character actor who appeared in more than 50 movies and 31 Broadway plays in his 58 years in the entertainment business, has died of a heart attack, it was announced Saturday.

Andrews, 70, died at Santa Monica Hospital where he was rushed Friday afternoon after suffering the attack at his home in Pacific Palisades.

As an actor, he frequently played either the malicious heavy or the amiable comedian. One of his most famous roles was that of George Babbitt, the hypocritical Midwestern businessman in the Academy-award winning movie "Elmer Gantry." His recent movie credits included the role of banker in the "Gremlins" and the grandfather in "Sixteen Candles."

While his face was well-known, his name was not often remembered, and Andrews often said in interviews that it was fine with him because it ensured professional longevity.

"What you get are people who speak to you," he said in one interview. "They know you from somewhere but they don't think of you as an actor. They stop and say, 'Harry, how's everything in Miami?' I've learned by experience not to argue with them."

The son of an Episcopal minister, he began his stage career at 12 and made his Broadway debut in 1935. During his 20 years on stage, he appeared in award-winning plays such as "Of Mice and Men," "They Knew What They Wanted" and "I Am a Camera."

In 1952, he spent a season in "I Know My Love" with the stage touring company of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontaine.

Many Film Roles

Andrews' first starring role in a movie was in 1955 when he made "The Phenix City Story." Other movie credits include "Tea and Sympathy," "The Thrill of It All," "The Glass Bottom Boat," "The Harder They Fall," "The Absent Minded Professor," "Advise and Consent," "Good Neighbor Sam" and "Tora! Tora! Tora!"

Andrews was a television series regular on the Doris Day Show and the Don Rickles Show, and made appearances on many other programs.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Pacific Palisades. He is survived by his wife, Emily Andrews, and three children, Abigail Neish of Portland, Ore., Tabitha Andrews of Pacific Palisades and Edward Andrews III of Santa Cruz.

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