Modesto native Harve Presnell, a stage and screen actor whose booming baritone graced such Broadway musicals as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” and “Annie,” died Tuesday of pancreatic cancer at the age of 75.
Presnell’s agent Gregg Klein said the actor, also well-known for his role as William H. Macy’s father-in-law in the hit movie “Fargo,” died at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.
On Broadway, the Modesto High Class of 1950 graduate played Johnny "Leadville" Brown in "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" in the early '60s and Daddy Warbucks in "Annie" in the early '80s. In the 1964 film version of “Molly Brown,” Presnell played opposite Debbie Reynolds, who had the title role.
According to the Internet Movie Database, he was a 1965 Golden Globe winner -- along with George Segal and Topol – for most promising male newcomer.
In 1969, Presnell co-starred with Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin in the film musical “Paint Your Wagon." As Rotten Luck Willie, Presnell's songs included the beautiful “They Call the Wind Maria.”
Published in the Modesto Bee from July 1 to Aug. 1, 2009