PASSINGS: R.G. Armstrong, Norman Alden, Ted Hinshaw, Neil Reed


R.G. Armstrong

Actor a favorite of Peckinpah

R.G. Armstrong, 95, a veteran character actor who started his career in the 1950s on Broadway, segued to television, then solidified his standing as a favorite of filmmakers Sam Peckinpah and Warren Beatty, died Friday at his home in Studio City of natural causes, said his daughter Daryl Armstrong.


Robert Golden Armstrong was born April 7, 1917, in Birmingham, Ala., and graduated from the University of North Carolina. After college he studied at the Actors Studio in New York and was cast in Elia Kazan’s original 1955 Broadway staging of Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” He also acted in Broadway productions of another Williams play, “Orpheus Descending,” as well as “The Miracle Worker.”

From the mid-’50s to the late ‘90s, he was featured in a string of TV series, including the westerns “Have Gun - Will Travel,” “Rawhide,” “Bonanza,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Westerner” and the pilot of “The Rifleman,” and also “Dynasty,” “Trapper John, M.D.,” “L.A. Law” and many others. He also had a regular role in “T.H.E. Cat,” a 1966-67 adventure series that was set in San Francisco and starred Robert Loggia.

Peckinpah, a writer and director on “The Westerner” and “The Rifleman,” added Armstrong to his stock company of actors for his bloody western movies, beginning in 1962 with “Ride the High Country” and continuing with “Major Dundee,” “The Ballad of Cable Hogue” and “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.”

For Beatty, Armstrong played Pruneface in the 1990 film version of “Dick Tracy” and had small parts in “Heaven Can Wait” (1978) and “Reds” (1981).

He also had supporting movie roles in “The Fugitive Kind,” a 1959 film version of “Orpheus Descending” starring Marlon Brando; “The Great White Hope,” a 1970 boxing drama with James Earl Jones; “The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid,” a gritty 1972 bank-robbery tale; and the 1987 sci-fi thriller “Predator,” with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Norman Alden

Prolific character actor

Norman Alden, 87, a prolific character actor whose long career included a wide range of roles in film, television and commercials, died Friday of natural causes at a Los Angeles nursing home, according to his life partner Linda Thieben.

A native of Fort Worth, Alden moved to Hollywood in the mid-1950s. He began appearing in what would amount to hundreds of TV acting jobs, playing cowboys, blue-collar workers, police officers and a host of other characters. Among his highlights in the ‘60s and ‘70s were Coach Fedders in “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” Captain Horton in “Rango,” Johnny Ringo in “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp” and Frank Heflin in “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl.”

As a voice actor, he was Aquaman in the animated TV series “Super Friends” (1973) and “The All New Super Friends Hour” (1977) and Sir Kay in the 1963 Disney film “The Sword in the Stone.”

His other film roles included small parts in “The Great Bank Robbery” (1969), “Kansas City Bomber” (1972), “Back to the Future” (1985), “Ed Wood” (1994) and others. He starred in the 1965 drama about a mentally disabled man, “Andy.”

Ted Hinshaw

Investment advisor, yachtsman

Ted Hinshaw, 83, an investment advisor who served as yachting commissioner of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, died July 24 at Hoag Hospital Newport Beach of complications from Parkinson’s disease, his family announced.

Hinshaw learned to sail as an adult while living on Lido Isle in Newport Beach. He became a race volunteer and yacht club administrator before he was chosen to organize and oversee the 1984 Olympic yachting events off Long Beach.

As a longtime business executive in Los Angeles and New York with Capital Research and Management and the Capital Group Cos./American Funds, Hinshaw was a financial analyst and later a director of funds.

Ernest Theodore Hinshaw Jr. was born Aug. 26, 1928, in San Rafael, Calif. At Stanford University, he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1951 and a master’s in business administration in 1957. He also served in the Marines.

Neil Reed

Basketball player choked by Bob Knight

Neil Reed, 36, the former Indiana basketball player whom coach Bob Knight was caught on tape choking in 1997, died Thursday of heart complications after collapsing at his home in Nipomo, Calif. His death was confirmed by Shanda Herrera, principal at Pioneer Valley High School in Santa Maria, where Reed was a coach.

In March 2000, Reed accused Knight of choking him during a practice in 1997.

When video of the practice surfaced backing Reed’s claim, the Hall of Fame coach, who was known for his temper as well as his success, was put on a zero-tolerance policy by then-Indiana University President Myles Brand.

That September, Knight, who became head coach at Indiana in 1971 and won three national championships, was fired after a student accused him of grabbing his arm.

“Believe it or not, I’m not happy that Indiana fired Coach Knight,” Reed told ESPN The Magazine at the time. “I don’t have any feelings about it, mostly because I’ve had to stand alone for so long. In a way, I’ve been proven right, but that doesn’t make my life any easier.”

Reed transferred to Southern Mississippi shortly after the incident at Indiana and played there in the 1998-99 season. He received a bachelor’s degree in sports administration from Southern Mississippi and a master’s from Chapman University.

Herrera said Reed had worked at Pioneer Valley High School coaching football, basketball and golf and teaching physical education since 2007.

Reed was born Nov. 29, 1975, in Hot Springs Ark., and was a McDonald’s All-American basketball player at East Jefferson High School in Metairie, La.

Times staff and wire reports