Tuesday 27 September 2016

Emmy-winning LA Law actor Larry Drake dies at 66

Published 18/03/2016 | 06:57

Larry Drake holds the Emmy he won for best supporting actor in a drama series for his role as a mentally challenged character in
Larry Drake holds the Emmy he won for best supporting actor in a drama series for his role as a mentally challenged character in "L.A. Law," at the 40th annual Emmy Awards (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)

Larry Drake, who earned back-to-back Emmy Awards for his portrayal of mentally challenged character Benny Stulwicz in LA Law, has died at the age of 66.

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Drake's body was found in his Los Angeles home by a friend, said Charles Edward Pogue, himself a long-time friend and collaborator of Drake's.

The cause of death was not immediately known. The heavyset actor had suffered health issues related to his weight, said Steven Siebert, his manager for 30 years.

Drake was proud of a career that spanned TV, film and stage, including the 1990 movie Darkman, Mr Siebert said. He earned Emmys in 1988 and 1989 for playing office worker Benny on the LA Law drama series.

In a 1989 interview, Drake said he portrayed Benny not as a stereotype but as a man with a full range of emotions.

"And that seems to surprise people - that (such) characters can feel as much as they feel, and note as much as they note," he said.

Mr Pogue recalled his friend as "one of a kind" and completely different from the roles in which he was often cast, including villains and, at least twice, characters named Bubba.

"He was very learned, well-read and intellectual," Mr Pogue said, and a great wit and storyteller who was often the last to leave a party.

Although Drake sometimes chafed at being typecast, Mr Pogue said, he appreciated the opportunities he had. Their projects included writing a mystery-comedy play, Whodunnit, Darling?

Drake, a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, had recently focused on teaching acting, Mr Siebert said.

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