Summary

Birth:
30 Nov 1926 1
Los Angeles, CA 2
Death:
17 Jan 2003 1
Los Angeles, CA 2
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Full Name:
Richard Donald Crenna 2
Full Name:
Richard D Crenna 1
Birth:
30 Nov 1926 1
Los Angeles, CA 2
Death:
17 Jan 2003 1
Los Angeles, CA 2
Residence:
Last Residence: Encino, CA 1
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Social Security:
Card Issued: Unknown Code (PE) 1
Social Security Number: ***-**-8482 1

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Stories

Actor Richard Crenna dead at 76 Career spanned radio, TV, big screen

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) --Actor Richard Crenna, who played TV detective Frank Janek and whose credits include the TV series "The Real McCoys" and the "Rambo" film trilogy, has died at 76, his daughter confirmed Saturday.

Seana Crenna said her father, who suffered from pancreatic cancer, died of heart failure Friday at 6 p.m. in the intensive care unit of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. His family was with him at the time, she said.

"It happened suddenly," she said. "We didn't expect it. I just know he was a very respected and admired man in all professions. He treated everyone fairly and just."

In addition to Seana Crenna, the actor is survived by his wife, Penni; a son, Richard; and another daughter, Maria.

The funeral will be private, but the family plans a public memorial service for next Saturday, Seana Crenna said.

Crenna played Col. Samuel Trautman, mentor to Sylvester Stallone's character, in the "Rambo" films. He also starred as Detective Lt. Frank Janek in a series of TV movies including "The Forget-Me-Not Murders" (1994) and "Terror on Track 9" (1992).

Most recently, Crenna played the recurring role of Jared Duff on the television series "Judging Amy." He played President Reagan in the 2001 television movie "The Day Reagan Was Shot," in which Richard Dreyfuss played Alexander Haig.

An actor since the 1940s, Crenna began his career in radio, as teenager Walter Denton on "Our Miss Brooks," achieving fame when the series moved to television. In 1952, the first year "Our Miss Brooks" was on television, Crenna also appeared with Lucille Ball on one episode of "I Love Lucy."

His first notable roles as an adult were Luke McCoy in the TV series "The Real McCoys," which ran from 1957-63, and James Slattery in "Slattery's People," a political drama that aired for one season in 1964.

"The Real McCoys" also gave Crenna his first chance to direct. He went on to direct episodes of the TV series "The Rockford Files," "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Lou Grant".

Crenna has shared the silver screen with some of Hollywood's biggest names, including Steve McQueen in "The Sand Pebbles" (1966), Audrey Hepburn in "Wait Until Dark" (1967), Kathleen Turner in "Body Heat" (1981) and Matt Dillon in "The Flamingo Kid" (1984).

Crenna received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1988.

 

TV, Movie Actor Richard Crenna Dies

Veteran actor Richard Crenna, 76, who graduated from playing gawky teenagers on TV in the '50s to leading men roles in '60s movies -- and who really never stopped working in either medium -- died of heart failure Friday at Los Angeles's Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, say reports. 

The actor had been suffering from pancreatic cancer, which apparently struck around last Thanksgiving, his daughter, Seana Crenna, told The New York Times. 

Crenna, a Los Angeles native, actually began his career in the late '40s, doing squeaky-voiced youngster roles. Baby boomers remember him as the slack-jawed, gum-chewing student with the raging hormones, Walter Denton, on the popular 1952-56 sitcom "Our Miss Brooks," starring Eve Arden as his schoolteacher, Constance Brooks. 

The CBS show was produced by Desilu, which was owned by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who also cast the young actor as a lovesick teen with a crush on Lucy Ricardo for an episode that ran during the very first season of "I Love Lucy." 

From 1957 through 1963 Crenna played hunky rural husband Luke McCoy on the ABC sitcom "The Real McCoys," which also starred Walter Brennan as the cantankerous Amos McCoy. 

Yet by the late '60s, Crenna made the leap from small screen to big, playing a vicious bully (to Audrey Hepburn) in 1967's "Wait Until Dark," and an astronaut in "Marooned," about a doomed space mission. 

Perhaps his most widely seen effort was when he played Colonel Samuel Trautman in the 1980s "Rambo" movie series, with Sylvester Stallone, a cartoon of a role that nonetheless left him laughing all the way to the bank. 

Crenna's most recent role was back on TV, as Tyne Daly's love interest on CBS's "Judging Amy." 

"He had such a full career," said his daughter, "because he lived for his work." 

Besides Seana, Crenna is survived by his wife (since 1959) Penni; son Richard, daughter Maria and three granddaughters.

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