Daughter Alex Whitehead Gordon said her father suffered health complications after the fall.
Mr. Whitehead has built a solid career in film and television, mastering a self-styled superiority accent, using a wrinkle of an eyebrow or a subtle flinch with comedic precision. But it was here that Whitehead thoroughly explored his acting spectrum, playing dozens of roles over the course of more than 50 years.
On Broadway, Mr. Whitehead was nominated for a 1980 Tony Award. revival In the musical Camelot, he played the lovely and wayward King Pellinore opposite Richard Burton’s King Arthur. Previously, Mr. Whitehead brought a comical touch to Sherlock Holmes with his co-star Glenn Close (who hires a detective) in a Paul Giovanni film. “Blood Cross” It ran on Broadway from 1978-1979.
Whitehead made a rare foray into highly dramatic work in 1985 when he played the title role in Shakespeare’s Richard III at San Diego’s Old Globe Theater. And for Richard, too, Mr. Whitehead injects a comical touch as the opposite of the play. malice of the king. “With understated cunning,” noted the Los Angeles Times review“Whitehead and his character make us both loathe and laugh.”
The theater was well suited to Mr. Whitehead’s love of language and respect for its power. In any role, Whitehead said he first tried to capture the “rhythm and sound” of the character. So is the comedic button-down lawyer Mr. Bardolph, who contrasts legend with fact. “Lettis and Ravage” In 1990, he played both the eccentric Colonel Pickering and the arrogant Henry Higgins on Broadway and in the revival of the musical My Fair Lady.
“Theatre is words. Sound. Everything else is secondary,” he told the Vancouver state newspaper in 1971. …I am very skeptical of the tendency to distract from words. “
Mr. Whitehead was the artistic director and actor of Ontario’s annual Shaw Festival from 1967 to 1977. He began making cameo appearances in his television series in the early 1980s, including the mystery series ‘Heart to Heart’ and the detective drama ‘Magnum PI’. He then had a recurring role as an exhausted butler in the sitcom ‘Marblehead He’s Manor’ (1987-88). In eight episodes of the sitcom “Mad About You” (1992-1999), he played the strict neighbors of Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt.
In the 1998 “Friends” season, Mr. Whitehead played Rachel Greene’s (Jennifer Aniston) Bloomingdale’s super-smart boss, and in 1996’s “Frasier,” he maxed out his hawk-like appearance. Taking advantage of it, he played the principal of a difficult preparatory school. His television roles continued on popular dramas such as “The West Wing,” playing the annoyingly opinionated White House official Bernard Thatch.
“I think there are some things you can’t learn,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “As they say, comedy isn’t just about timing. It’s all about how you walk. By the way you look.”
He made his film debut in the 1986 comedy Back to School, playing Thornton Mellon, a shrewd businessman who gets into his son’s college after making a big donation. It starred Dangerfield. Mr. Whitehead is Philip Barvey, the business school principal who is trying to expel Mr. Mellon.
My first encounter with Mellon was at a groundbreaking ceremony for a Mellon-funded business school building. Wearing a tweed hat and bow tie and an exasperated face, Barvey interrupted the event and told the dean (Ned Beatty), “It is not very ethical to sell admissions to students who are clearly unqualified. But it’s not an honor,” he said.
“Listen, Sherlock” Mellon retort“While you were hiding here working on ethics, I was hitting a hump in the real world.”
After a while Melon scooped up a shovelful of dirt and threw it. It rains down on Mr. Whitehead’s character sitting in an open-top MG. Of course it’s British right hand drive.
Francis Edward Paxton Whitehead was born on October 17, 1937 in East Malling and Larkfield in rural Kent, England. His father was a lawyer and his mother was an American-born former actress and homemaker. Mr. Whitehead was called Paxton from his boyhood.
He studied at the Weber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London before finding roles in touring theater companies, including the role of Jailer Francisco in 1958’s Hamlet. “But I was the lowest of the lowest,” he told the Los Angeles Times.
A dual British-American citizen, he moved to the United States in 1960 with no clear plans. “It’s probably going to take a year to see what happens in this country,” he said. He never returned to the UK full-time and soon made his way onto Broadway, debuting in the drama The Affair in 1962 and returning to the UK two years later to star in the hit British comedy Beyond the Fringe. ” appeared.
He also appeared in dozens of other Broadway productions. He also starred in French playwright George Faydeau’s farce, and played Tim in Ron Clark’s comedy A Bench in the Sun at the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut in 1999. He has performed in venues in Canada and the United States, including playing Conway and an old friend.
In movies, Whitehead starred in Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1986) with Whoopi Goldberg and Baby Boom (1987) with Diane Keaton and Sam Shepard. In Kate & Leopold (2001) starring Hugh Jackman and Meg Ryan, Whitehead played Leopold’s (Jackman’s) time-traveling uncle.
Mr. Whitehead’s first marriage to actress Patricia Gage ended in divorce. His second wife, Katherine Robertson, died in 2009. In addition to his daughter, who lives in Arlington, Virginia, survivors include his son Charles, who lives in Lincoln, California. Stepdaughter Heather Whitehead. and four grandchildren.
in 2017 interview, Whitehead was asked to summarize his life and career in one sentence. He immediately replied, “A coincidence!”