Discussion:
Whatever happened to actor James Olson?
(too old to reply)
Mark
2007-07-26 18:22:24 UTC
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I wondered that the other day when I saw him in an old Columbo
episode. During 1960s through the 1980s he was everywhere on TV. One
of those faces that showed up on every program. Always seeming to be a
little on the shifty side. Then he seemed to disappear. I checked
imdb.com and he would be 77 years old now but seems to have done no
work since 1990. Anyone know what happened to such an ever-present
actor?
Laurie Mann
2007-07-26 18:52:33 UTC
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Post by Mark
I wondered that the other day when I saw him in an old Columbo
episode. During 1960s through the 1980s he was everywhere on TV. One
of those faces that showed up on every program. Always seeming to be a
little on the shifty side. Then he seemed to disappear. I checked
imdb.com and he would be 77 years old now but seems to have done no
work since 1990. Anyone know what happened to such an ever-present
actor?
I have no idea, but I thought he was a fine actor, especially in
The Andromeda Strain.

A&E is remaking The Andromeda Strain right now as a mini-series.
It looks like about all they took was name of the book, and basic
premise
and one of the character's names. All the other character
names are different.
Brad Ferguson
2007-07-26 20:49:27 UTC
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Post by Laurie Mann
Post by Mark
I wondered that the other day when I saw him in an old Columbo
episode. During 1960s through the 1980s he was everywhere on TV. One
of those faces that showed up on every program. Always seeming to be a
little on the shifty side. Then he seemed to disappear. I checked
imdb.com and he would be 77 years old now but seems to have done no
work since 1990. Anyone know what happened to such an ever-present
actor?
I have no idea, but I thought he was a fine actor, especially in
The Andromeda Strain.
A&E is remaking The Andromeda Strain right now as a mini-series.
It looks like about all they took was name of the book, and basic
premise
and one of the character's names. All the other character
names are different.
James Olson is in my favorite guilty pleasure, the Schwarzenegger movie
"Commando." That thing rocks.
M***@hotmail.com
2007-07-26 21:49:55 UTC
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Post by Brad Ferguson
Post by Laurie Mann
Post by Mark
I wondered that the other day when I saw him in an old Columbo
episode. During 1960s through the 1980s he was everywhere on TV. One
of those faces that showed up on every program. Always seeming to be a
little on the shifty side. Then he seemed to disappear. I checked
imdb.com and he would be 77 years old now but seems to have done no
work since 1990. Anyone know what happened to such an ever-present
actor?
I have no idea, but I thought he was a fine actor, especially in
The Andromeda Strain.
A&E is remaking The Andromeda Strain right now as a mini-series.
It looks like about all they took was name of the book, and basic
premise
and one of the character's names. All the other character
names are different.
James Olson is in my favorite guilty pleasure, the Schwarzenegger movie
"Commando." That thing rocks.
Ironic. I was wondering about Sian Barbara Allen recently, too. She
did gain her notoriety for her work on a few episodes of "The Waltons"
and yes, I believe she and Richard "John-boy" Thomas were a pair for a
few years, then broke up. Possibly that was the reason for no further
appearances on "The Waltons" after about 1974. But she had quite a
prolific career as an actress in both feature films ("Billy Two Hats")
and TV guest spots. I recently watched a "Columbo" marathon -well,
some of it- and she portrayed a murder victim in an episode of the hit
sleuth series. Her last appearance on film seems to have been a 1989
guest part on "L.A. Law", acc. to the Imdb.
Another actress I miss seeing is Eleanor Parker ("Caged", "Madam X",
"The Sound of Music"). Definately still living, but has no screen
credits since 1991.
I don't see quite as much of Cliff Robertson or Dina Merrill these
days either. But it appears good film parts for actors and actresses
who are now senior citizens, as is the case with the latter three, are
far and few between compared to the memorable character-actor type
parts that were written with more consistency in the '40s-'80s. That
could be a factor, too. Then again, many greats do semi-retire -Van
Johnson, Esther Williams, James Arness, Phyllis Thaxter, John
Forsythe, Jane Wyman, among others. But the sure gave many great
performances back in the days.
Arty McToon
2007-07-27 19:57:52 UTC
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Post by M***@hotmail.com
I don't see quite as much of Cliff Robertson or Dina Merrill these
days either.
Cliff Robertson appeared in all 3 "Spider-Man" films as the ill-fated
Uncle Ben.
Stacia
2007-07-27 00:42:44 UTC
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Post by Brad Ferguson
James Olson is in my favorite guilty pleasure, the Schwarzenegger movie
"Commando." That thing rocks.
Ah, now I know who he is. He *was* everywhere. I'm surprised he's 77
now, because in "Commando" he looked to be in his mid-40s. Gary Brumbugh,
the guy who writes half the bios on the IMDb (the other half are written
by Jim Beaver ;) doesn't mention what happened to him. That's
unfortunate, he really was a good actor, terrific in character roles.

Stacia
Brian Watson
2007-07-27 12:26:57 UTC
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Post by Stacia
Post by Brad Ferguson
James Olson is in my favorite guilty pleasure, the Schwarzenegger movie
"Commando." That thing rocks.
Ah, now I know who he is. He *was* everywhere. I'm surprised he's 77
now, because in "Commando" he looked to be in his mid-40s. Gary Brumbugh,
the guy who writes half the bios on the IMDb (the other half are written
by Jim Beaver ;) doesn't mention what happened to him. That's
unfortunate, he really was a good actor, terrific in character roles.
His distinctive comb-over hair style would not have endured this long, I'm
sure.
--
Brian
"Fight like the Devil, die like a gentleman."
The Kentucky Wizard
2007-07-29 11:41:35 UTC
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Upon receiving news that Laurie Mann had made the remarks below, and after
consultations with my Joint Chiefs of Staff, being briefed by members of my
Cabinet and many telephone conversations with various World Leaders, I have
Post by Laurie Mann
Post by Mark
I wondered that the other day when I saw him in an old Columbo
episode. During 1960s through the 1980s he was everywhere on TV. One
of those faces that showed up on every program. Always seeming to
be a little on the shifty side. Then he seemed to disappear. I
checked imdb.com and he would be 77 years old now but seems to have
done no work since 1990. Anyone know what happened to such an
ever-present actor?
I have no idea, but I thought he was a fine actor, especially in
The Andromeda Strain.
It couldn't figure out who James Olson was, until you mentioned The
Andromeda Strain, and then I knew who he was.

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beat you with experience.

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p***@gmail.com
2015-04-11 04:20:13 UTC
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Saw James Olson in a 1972 Columbo rerun tonight "Etude in Black" on Netflix. Also wondered what happened to him, seem to remember him from many shows in the '70s.
Michael OConnor
2015-04-11 04:44:57 UTC
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James Olson still stands as one of the oddest lead castings for a major feature film when he wasn't the lead actor but rather the central character in Milos Forman's Ragtime in 1981.
R H Draney
2007-07-26 18:54:10 UTC
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Post by Mark
I wondered that the other day when I saw him in an old Columbo
episode. During 1960s through the 1980s he was everywhere on TV. One
of those faces that showed up on every program. Always seeming to be a
little on the shifty side. Then he seemed to disappear. I checked
imdb.com and he would be 77 years old now but seems to have done no
work since 1990. Anyone know what happened to such an ever-present
actor?
Swapping stories with John Saxon, Monte Markham and Anthony Zerbe?...

(What the heck became of Sian Barbara Allen?)...r
--
"You got Schadenfreude on my Weltanschauung!"
"You got Weltanschauung in my Schadenfreude!"
Doc
2007-07-26 20:04:14 UTC
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Post by R H Draney
(What the heck became of Sian Barbara Allen?)...r
Wasn't she John Boy's girlfriend (both on and off-screen), and didn't
she team up once again with him recently on an episode of L&O: SVU?
--
Terry
_______________
"Those who flee temptation generally leave a forwarding address."
-Lane Olinghouse
Jim Beaver
2007-07-26 20:11:49 UTC
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Post by R H Draney
Post by Mark
I wondered that the other day when I saw him in an old Columbo
episode. During 1960s through the 1980s he was everywhere on TV. One
of those faces that showed up on every program. Always seeming to be a
little on the shifty side. Then he seemed to disappear. I checked
imdb.com and he would be 77 years old now but seems to have done no
work since 1990. Anyone know what happened to such an ever-present
actor?
Swapping stories with John Saxon, Monte Markham and Anthony Zerbe?...
I seem to recall that illness curtailed Olson's career. I asked someone who
knew him about his whereabouts once, and my faded memory suggests that the
answer was some sort of chronic illness. But I'm not positive I'm
remembering correctly.

I ran into Monte Markham (who directed me in a film twenty years ago) a year
or so ago. He was currently producing and directing shows for The History
Channel, etc. Nice man.

Jim Beaver
La N
2007-07-27 01:31:00 UTC
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Post by Jim Beaver
I ran into Monte Markham (who directed me in a film twenty years ago) a
year or so ago. He was currently producing and directing shows for The
History Channel, etc. Nice man.
I remember as a young girl remarking to no one in particular about Monte
Markham: "He's on *every* t.v. show!" Anyway, I always thought he was
handsome "in an older man kind of way"

- nilita
Chuck
2007-07-27 03:01:02 UTC
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Monte Markham! Anthony Zerbe! Jim Beaver!!! All associated with Star
Trek! w00t!!!

Wow, that was horribly off topic. My apologies...
Brad Ferguson
2007-07-27 12:53:02 UTC
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Post by La N
Post by Jim Beaver
I ran into Monte Markham (who directed me in a film twenty years ago) a
year or so ago. He was currently producing and directing shows for The
History Channel, etc. Nice man.
I remember as a young girl remarking to no one in particular about Monte
Markham: "He's on *every* t.v. show!" Anyway, I always thought he was
handsome "in an older man kind of way"
Monte Markham played a double role in a weird little sitcom on ABC in
1967, "The Second Hundred Years." Markham's character had been trapped
in an Alaskan glacier in 1907 or so, and had been found and thawed out.
He wound up living with his now elderly son (played by Arthur
O'Connell) and O'Connell's son, played by Markham. The show deserved
more notice than it got, but it was on ABC forty years ago. (The joke
back then was that if you wanted the Vietnam War to end, just put it on
ABC for thirteen weeks and it'll be over.)

In 1967, O'Connell (who usually played older than he was) was 59, which
isn't looking so elderly these days. Monte Markham turned 72 last
month.

Where's my pills?
jdunlop
2007-07-27 13:15:52 UTC
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Post by Brad Ferguson
Post by La N
Post by Jim Beaver
I ran into Monte Markham (who directed me in a film twenty years ago) a
year or so ago. He was currently producing and directing shows for The
History Channel, etc. Nice man.
I remember as a young girl remarking to no one in particular about Monte
Markham: "He's on *every* t.v. show!" Anyway, I always thought he was
handsome "in an older man kind of way"
Monte Markham played a double role in a weird little sitcom on ABC in
1967, "The Second Hundred Years." Markham's character had been trapped
in an Alaskan glacier in 1907 or so, and had been found and thawed out.
He wound up living with his now elderly son (played by Arthur
O'Connell) and O'Connell's son, played by Markham. The show deserved
more notice than it got, but it was on ABC forty years ago. (The joke
back then was that if you wanted the Vietnam War to end, just put it on
ABC for thirteen weeks and it'll be over.)
Besides being the new Perry Mason, I'll always remember Markham as
being the SEVEN Million Dollar Man.
Stacia
2007-07-27 19:45:36 UTC
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Post by Brad Ferguson
Monte Markham played a double role in a weird little sitcom on ABC in
1967, "The Second Hundred Years." Markham's character had been trapped
in an Alaskan glacier in 1907 or so, and had been found and thawed out.
He wound up living with his now elderly son (played by Arthur
O'Connell) and O'Connell's son, played by Markham. The show deserved
more notice than it got, but it was on ABC forty years ago.
That sounds like something worth finding, if it exists at all.
Markham was, I believe, once featured on an email newsletter called "The
Washed-UpDate". This was back before blogging, and I've forgotten who
wrote the update. A running joke on the update was that there was a sort
of holy trifecta of TV shows for washed-up actors: Love Boat, Fantasy
Island, and Murder She Wrote. Markham had that in spades.
He always reminded me of a cross between Jimmy Dean (sausage singer guy)
and Cliff Robertson.

Stacia
Kathi
2007-07-27 04:13:25 UTC
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On Thu, 26 Jul 2007 20:11:49 GMT, "Jim Beaver"
Post by Jim Beaver
I ran into Monte Markham (who directed me in a film twenty years ago) a year
or so ago. He was currently producing and directing shows for The History
Channel, etc. Nice man.
I've been catching up on "Dallas" reruns; Monte had a spin in the
recently aired episodes as Sue Ellen's college boyfriend who hooks up
with her again. He's definitely "one of those faces" you know you've
seen before!

Kathi

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Terry del Fuego
2007-07-27 04:26:55 UTC
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Post by Kathi
Post by R H Draney
Monte Markham
He's definitely "one of those faces" you know you've
seen before!
Not bad...for a hundred and one.
Doc
2007-07-27 07:29:10 UTC
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Post by Terry del Fuego
Post by Kathi
Post by R H Draney
Monte Markham
He's definitely "one of those faces" you know you've
seen before!
Not bad...for a hundred and one.
We are perhaps the last two people left in America who remember that
short-lived TV series. God rest Arthur O'Connell!
--
Terry
_______________
"Those who flee temptation generally leave a forwarding address."
-Lane Olinghouse
R H Draney
2007-07-27 08:27:07 UTC
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Post by Doc
Post by Terry del Fuego
Post by Kathi
Post by R H Draney
Monte Markham
He's definitely "one of those faces" you know you've
seen before!
Not bad...for a hundred and one.
We are perhaps the last two people left in America who remember that
short-lived TV series. God rest Arthur O'Connell!
I seem to remember that there was something significant either about the show it
replaced or the one that replaced it...Wikipedia says its time slot was taken
over by Peyton Place....r
--
"You got Schadenfreude on my Weltanschauung!"
"You got Weltanschauung in my Schadenfreude!"
cat
2007-07-28 03:38:13 UTC
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Post by Doc
We are perhaps the last two people left in America who remember that
short-lived TV series. God rest Arthur O'Connell!
<waving> Meee three!!!
Terry del Fuego
2007-07-27 17:19:59 UTC
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Post by Doc
We are perhaps the last two people left in America who remember that
short-lived TV series. God rest Arthur O'Connell!
I don't even remember the series. I just remember a time when the
networks didn't cut specific show promos for a series current episode,
they would just endlessly run the same generic promos all season long.
Long past the time I've forgotten how to feed myself, I will remember
Monte Markham looking in a bathroom mirror and saying "Not bad for a
hundred and one."

I'll also remember a guy in a white shirt getting shot in the generic
promo for "Judd for the Defense".
Brad Ferguson
2007-07-27 20:02:40 UTC
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Post by Terry del Fuego
Post by Doc
We are perhaps the last two people left in America who remember that
short-lived TV series. God rest Arthur O'Connell!
I don't even remember the series. I just remember a time when the
networks didn't cut specific show promos for a series current episode,
they would just endlessly run the same generic promos all season long.
Long past the time I've forgotten how to feed myself, I will remember
Monte Markham looking in a bathroom mirror and saying "Not bad for a
hundred and one."
Now that you've reminded me, yes, I remember that. I'll probably say
the same thing to the mirror tomorrow morning.

I remember exactly one joke from the entire series. Luke, the father,
falls in with a group of hippies he meets at a nearby park. He sits
with them and teaches them some old songs, and generally has a good
time. At one point, one of the hippies says he and his friends want to
go sing in Russia. "Great idea!" says Luke. "I've always wanted to
meet the Czar."
Post by Terry del Fuego
I'll also remember a guy in a white shirt getting shot in the generic
promo for "Judd for the Defense".
"One black. One white. One blonde. The Mod Squad."
Terry del Fuego
2007-07-28 02:19:29 UTC
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On Fri, 27 Jul 2007 16:02:40 -0400, Brad Ferguson
Post by Brad Ferguson
I remember exactly one joke from the entire series. Luke, the father,
falls in with a group of hippies he meets at a nearby park. He sits
with them and teaches them some old songs, and generally has a good
time. At one point, one of the hippies says he and his friends want to
go sing in Russia. "Great idea!" says Luke. "I've always wanted to
meet the Czar."
Which reminds me that the other thing the networks used to do with
their generic show promos is leave out the canned laugh track, making
it appear as though the show didn't have one.

40 years later, I've seen promos for "Scrubs" sporting a laugh track,
though the show itself doesn't have one (OK, there was that one...and
allegedly that wasn't canned).
Post by Brad Ferguson
"One black. One white. One blonde. The Mod Squad."
Or, in syndication, "Leeeeeeeencoln!"

Which in turn makes me wonder WEHT CWIII...ahh, IMDB says he's still
working. Solid.
Brad Ferguson
2007-07-28 02:41:06 UTC
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Post by Terry del Fuego
On Fri, 27 Jul 2007 16:02:40 -0400, Brad Ferguson
Post by Brad Ferguson
I remember exactly one joke from the entire series. Luke, the father,
falls in with a group of hippies he meets at a nearby park. He sits
with them and teaches them some old songs, and generally has a good
time. At one point, one of the hippies says he and his friends want to
go sing in Russia. "Great idea!" says Luke. "I've always wanted to
meet the Czar."
Which reminds me that the other thing the networks used to do with
their generic show promos is leave out the canned laugh track, making
it appear as though the show didn't have one.
40 years later, I've seen promos for "Scrubs" sporting a laugh track,
though the show itself doesn't have one (OK, there was that one...and
allegedly that wasn't canned).
I remember Tony Randall fighting successfully to get the laugh track
removed from "The Odd Couple," and it seems to me that he was the first
actor to make a real issue of it.

I understand from addicts that the DVDs of the M*A*S*H series let you
turn the canned laughter on and off. Then there was the big "Sports
Night" fracas -- but I digress, or should.
Brian Watson
2007-07-28 06:14:47 UTC
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Post by Brad Ferguson
I understand from addicts that the DVDs of the M*A*S*H series let you
turn the canned laughter on and off.
MASH ran in the UK without the laugh track on its first run.

Repeats USUALLY have the laugh track (which sounds SO false).
--
Brian
"Fight like the Devil, die like a gentleman."
Larc
2007-07-28 14:55:31 UTC
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On Sat, 28 Jul 2007 07:14:47 +0100, "Brian Watson" <***@hotmail.com>
wrote:

|
| "Brad Ferguson" <***@frXOXed.net> wrote in message
| news:270720072241065739%***@frXOXed.net...
|
| > I understand from addicts that the DVDs of the M*A*S*H series let you
| > turn the canned laughter on and off.
|
| MASH ran in the UK without the laugh track on its first run.
|
| Repeats USUALLY have the laugh track (which sounds SO false).

You'd be amazed at the number of people who need those laugh tracks so they know
when they're supposed to laugh.

Larc



§§§ - Change planet to earth to reply by email - §§§
Mark
2007-07-28 21:22:32 UTC
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Post by Larc
You'd be amazed at the number of people who need those laugh tracks so they know
when they're supposed to laugh.
Larc
Most sitcoms have laugh tracks because they aren't funny. They try to
guilt people into laughing by making them think something must be
funny.
Terry del Fuego
2007-07-29 00:43:03 UTC
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On Fri, 27 Jul 2007 22:41:06 -0400, Brad Ferguson
Post by Brad Ferguson
I remember Tony Randall fighting successfully to get the laugh track
removed from "The Odd Couple," and it seems to me that he was the first
actor to make a real issue of it.
He succeeded in getting it converted from a single camera/canned
laughter show into a three camera/live audience show. the "Happy Days"
cast pushed for the same thing...or at least I dimly remember seeing
Ron Howard somewhere or other complaining about the fake laughter.
Post by Brad Ferguson
I understand from addicts that the DVDs of the M*A*S*H series let you
turn the canned laughter on and off.
I hope that becomes the standard, though I suspect that most of the
laughless soundtracks are long gone. I remember once seeing a "Get
Smart" episode in syndication twice in the same week, once with the
fakery and once without. Not sure what that was all about.
J.D. Baldwin
2007-07-26 19:06:43 UTC
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Anyone know what happened to such an ever-present actor?
There was a fire.
--
_+_ From the catapult of |If anyone disagrees with any statement I make, I
_|70|___:)=}- J.D. Baldwin |am quite prepared not only to retract it, but also
\ / ***@panix.com|to deny under oath that I ever made it. -T. Lehrer
***~~~~-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Brian Watson
2007-07-27 12:28:22 UTC
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Post by J.D. Baldwin
Anyone know what happened to such an ever-present actor?
There was a fire.
Then when was the fire sale?

:-)
--
Brian
"Fight like the Devil, die like a gentleman."
Bob Feigel
2007-07-26 22:14:21 UTC
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Post by Mark
I wondered that the other day when I saw him in an old Columbo
episode. During 1960s through the 1980s he was everywhere on TV. One
of those faces that showed up on every program. Always seeming to be a
little on the shifty side. Then he seemed to disappear. I checked
imdb.com and he would be 77 years old now but seems to have done no
work since 1990. Anyone know what happened to such an ever-present
actor?
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t***@gmail.com
2016-08-23 18:45:38 UTC
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Post by Mark
I wondered that the other day when I saw him in an old Columbo
episode. During 1960s through the 1980s he was everywhere on TV. One
of those faces that showed up on every program. Always seeming to be a
little on the shifty side. Then he seemed to disappear. I checked
imdb.com and he would be 77 years old now but seems to have done no
work since 1990. Anyone know what happened to such an ever-present
actor?
Olson also appeared as a rather convincing-looking George Armstrong Custer, in the 1977 TV movie 'The Court Martial of George Armstrong Custer'.
s***@gmail.com
2018-04-28 18:46:02 UTC
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Yes, what happened to such a fine actor who never "wore out his welcome" among iewers.The fact that so many are asking just goes to show his long and enduring relationship with the viewing public.Unlike many, who don't know " when to get the hell off the stage", he left long before we were ready to bid him adieu - SO LONG, HAPPY RETIREMENT- to this beacon of the acting world. Wherever you are Mr.Olson, thanks for the legacy you leave behind......Robb OLSEN!
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