'Yellowstone' and 'Tootsie' star Dabney Coleman dead at 92

Dabney Coleman, who starred in the hit series “Yellowstone” and the classic 1980s movies “9 to 5” and “Tootsie,” has died. He was 92.

Coleman’s daughter, Quincy Coleman, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter the actor died Thursday at his Santa Monica, California, home.

“My Father, Dabney Wharton Coleman, took his last earthly breath peacefully and exquisitely in his home on Thursday, May 16th, 2024, at 1:50 p.m.,” Quincy told the outlet.


c (Shutterstock)

“My father crafted his time here on Earth with a curious mind, a generous heart and a soul on fire with passion, desire and humor thattickled the funny bone of humanity.

“As he lived, hemoved through this final act of his life with elegance, excellence and mastery.

“A teacher, a hero and a king, Dabney Coleman is a gift and blessing in life and in death as his spirit will shine through his work, his loved ones and his legacy … eternally.”

No cause of death was immediately released.

Coleman won two SAG Awards for his role in “Boardwalk Empire.” (Nick Valinote/Getty Images for HBO)

After news of Coleman’s death broke, Ben Stiller paid tribute to the late actor with a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“The great Dabney Coleman literally created, or defined, really — in a uniquely singular way — an archetype as a character actor. He was so good at what he did it’s hard to imagine movies and television of the last 40 years without him. Xxx,” Stiller wrote.

James Woods recalled regularly spotting Coleman at the landmark Hollywood restaurant Dan Tana’s and striking up a friendship with the late star.

“I’ve gone to Dan Tana’s restaurant regularly all my adult life. Dabney Coleman was always there, sitting in booth number one (appropriately), having his trademark steak. I had always loved him as an actor, and loved him more as we became friends. ##RIPDabneyColeman,” Woods wrote on X.

Coleman is pictured at the “9 to 5” premiere with Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. (Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

An Army veteran, Coleman launched his acting career in theater, making his Broadway debut in the play “A Call on Kuprin” in 1961.

Early credits included such TV shows as “Ben Casey,” “Dr Kildare,” “The Outer Limits,” “Bonanza,” “The Mod Squad” and the film “The Towering Inferno.”

Coleman worked steadily in television and film as a talented but largely unnoticed performer until landing his breakthrough role in “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” the satirical soap opera produced by Norman Lear that starred Louise Lasser in the titular role.

The actor starred as Mayor Merle Jeeter in the cult favorite for 148 episodes, from 1976 to 1977. Coleman’s character was especially popular, and his masterful, comic deadpan delivery did not go overlooked by film and network executives.

In the groundbreaking 1980 hit “9 to 5,” he played the sexist boss who tormented his three female employees — Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton — until they turned the tables on him. After the film, Coleman was later cast in a number of similar roles as the sexist, obnoxious villain.

Coleman starred alongside Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange in the film “Tootsie.” (Columbia Pictures/Getty Images)

In 1981, Coleman starred opposite Jane Fonda and her real-life father, Henry Fonda, in “On Golden Pond,” which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning three.

Coleman played the arrogant, sexist soap opera director Ron Carlisle in the 1982 comedy “Tootsie,” which starred Dustin Hoffman as a struggling actor who pretends to be a woman to join the cast of Carlisle’s show.

The actor went on to make his mark in numerous popular films, including as a stressed out computer scientist in “War Games,” and Tom Hanks’ father in “You’ve Got Mail,” and he reunited with Hoffman as a land developer in Brad Silberling’s “Moonlight Mile” with Jake Gyllenhaal.

From 1983 to 1984, Coleman starred as the smarmy talk show host “Buffalo Bill” Bittinger in the sitcom “Buffalo Bill.” Though the show only ran for two seasons, Coleman received two Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe nod for his performance.

He won a Golden Globe in 1988 for his lead role in the sitcom “The Slap Maxwell Story” and an Emmy Award for best supporting actor in Peter Levin’s 1987 small screen legal drama “Sworn to Silence.” Over his career, Coleman was nominated for six Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes.

Coleman was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014. (Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

Coleman was also known for co-starring as Burton Fallin in the TV drama “The Guardian” from 2001-2004, voicing the character of Principal Prickly on the Disney animated series “Recess” from 1997-2003 and a recurring role on “Boardwalk Empire,” for which he won two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Over the past few years, Coleman appeared on the TV shows “Ray Donavan,” “NCIS” and “For the People.”


His final role was playing Kevin Costner’s father, John Duttonn Sr. in the Western TV series “Yellowstone.”

Coleman won a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)


Coleman’s other film work included roles in “North Dallas Forty,” “Cloak and Dagger,” “Dragnet,” “Meet the Applegates,” “Inspector Gadget,” “Stuart Little,” “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” “The Beverly Hillbillies” “Recess: School’s Out” and “Rules Don’t Apply.”

Though his many characters were known for their bravado, Coleman insisted he was naturally shy.

“I’ve been shy all my life. Maybe it stems from being the last of four children, all of them very handsome, including a brother who was Tyrone Power-handsome. Maybe it’s because my father died when I was 4,” he told The Associated Press in 1984.

“I was extremely small, just a little guy who was there, the kid who created no trouble. I was attracted to fantasy, and I created games for myself.”

Twice divorced, Coleman is survived by four children — Meghan, Kelly, Randy and Quincy and grandchildren Hale and Gabe Torrance, Luie Freundl and Kai and Coleman Biancaniello.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ashley Hume is an entertainment writer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @ashleyhume

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