Veteran actor also appeared in 'Hogan's Heroes' and two different Titanic films

By Derek Lawrence
December 15, 2016 at 12:43 AM EST
Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage

Veteran character actor Bernard Fox, known for his memorable roles on the classic TV series Hogan’s Heroes and Bewitched, died Wednesday at the age of 89.

The Welsh actor, most famous for portraying Dr. Bombay on Bewitched and its spin-off, Tabitha, died of heart failure at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, California, publicist Harlan Boll confirmed to EW.

Born in Wales in 1927, Fox was the child of two stage actors and nephew to The Long Voyage Home star Wilfrid Lawson. He joined the family business at a young age and was an assistant manager of a theater by the time he was 14, but his career was put on hold when he enlisted in the Royal Navy during World War II.

After the war, he returned to acting, getting his first television credits in 1955 on the British series Sixpenny Corner. Over the next decade, Fox made frequent appearances in British films and on television before scoring guest-starring roles on some of the most iconic American TV shows of the time, including The Dick Van Dyke Show, Perry Mason, The Andy Griffith Show, and I Dream of Jeannie.

In 1965, the WWII veteran began his eight-episode arc as the bumbling Colonel Crittendon on Hogan’s Heroes. The next year, Fox was enlisted for what was perhaps his most famous role: Dr. Bombay, the witch doctor on Bewitched. It’s a character that he would portray throughout the show’s run and then revive on the 1977 spin-off Tabitha, as well as the NBC soap opera Passions in 1999.

“Dr. Bombay was an outrageous character,” Fox told a Bewitched fan site in 1998. “If I’d just gone for an ordinary doctor, you wouldn’t have heard any more about it. But because I made him such a colorful character, that’s why they wanted him back; he was easy to write for. They came up with the idea of him coming from different parts of the world all the time, and in different costumes; that was their idea. The puns, I came up with, and in those days, they let you do that.”

Fox went on to appear on various television series such as Knight Rider and Murder, She Wrote, but his most notable projects late in his career were on the big screen, starring alongside Brendan Fraser in The Mummy and in James Cameron’s Titanic. That role came 39 years after he appeared in the 1958 British film A Night to Remember, which also recounted the ill-fated ship’s final night.

The actor is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Jacqueline, daughter Amanda, daughter-in-law Lisa Wilke, and two grandchildren.

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