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Jack Bannon (1940 – 2017), starred on the TV series “Lou Grant”

Getty Images / Photo by John M. Heller

Jack Bannon (1940 – 2017), starred on the TV series “Lou Grant”

Jack Bannon, actor who starred on the TV series “Lou Grant”, has died at the age of 77, according to The Spokesman-Review

Bannon played assistant city editor Art Donovan on the Emmy-winning TV series “Lou Grant” from 1977 – 1982. “Lou Grant” was a spinoff series of the popular sitcom “Mary Tyler Moore.” The TV drama featured Ed Asner as the grumpy newspaper editor who relocates from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. 

Jack Bannon’s parents were both actors. His father Jim Bannon starred as the Red Ryder in the last four “Red Ryder” movies. His mother Bea Benaderet was a fixture on television sitcoms in the 1950s and 1960s. She was a regular on “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show,” starred as Kate Bradley on “Petticoat Junction,” and was the voice of Betty Rubble on “The Flintstones.” 

Jack Bannon appeared with his mother on two episodes of “Petticoat Junction.” He would also make appearances on “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Barney Miller,” and “Charlie’s Angels.” 

On the big screen, Bannon appeared in “Little Big Man” and “Death Warrant.” 


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In 1983, Bannon married his second wife, actress Ellen Travolta. She is the older sister of movie star John Travolta. The couple moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in the 1990s. Bannon was active in the local theater community. 

Actor Cheyenne Jackson, star of “American Horror Story” and “United 93,” released a statement on his experience working with Bannon in Summer theater. 

“I have such fond memories of working with Jack on a few different occasions,” Jackson said in a statement. “He had a wonderful ease and confidence about him. He made you feel comfortable in the world and was the epitome of a gentleman.” 

Bannon died in Coeur d’Alene surrounded by family, according to The Spokesman-Review. He is survived by his wife, Ellen Travolta Bannon; stepchildren Molly Allen and Tom Fridley; sister Maggie Fuller and her husband, Clark Fuller; and two nieces and a nephew. 

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