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Joseph Campanella (1924 – 2018), prolific TV character actor

by Kirk Fox

Appeared in “The Bold Ones: The Lawyers” and “Mannix”…

Joseph Campanella, the prolific television character actor, died Wednesday, May 16, 2018, at his home in Sherman Oaks, California, according to multiple news sources. He was 93.

Campanella, whose career as a TV actor began in the 1950s, appeared in supporting roles on dozens of TV series, including “Route 66,” “The Fugitive,” and “Mission: Impossible.” From 1969 to 1972 he starred alongside Burl Ives in the law drama, “The Bold Ones: The Lawyers.” He also gave an Emmy-nominated performance as private investigator Joe Mannix’ boss in the first season of “Mannix.”


He was nominated for a Tony award for supporting actor in 1962 for his performance in the Broadway production of “A Gift of Time,” starring Henry Fonda and Olivia de Havilland.

The tall, handsome actor frequently appearing in both daytime and evening soaps like “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “Dallas,” and “The Colbys.” However, he also had memorable turns on sitcoms like “One Day at a Time,” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”  He was a steady presence on TV until his 80s.

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Some of his more offbeat work included playing David Hasslehoff’s dad on “Baywatch,” and the voice of Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard on “Spider-Man: The Animated Series.” His voice work also included narrating “National Geographic Specials,” “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau,” and commercial pitches for BMW and Maybelline.

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Campanella was born Nov. 21, 1924 in New York City to Sicilian parents who raised him in an Italian-speaking home. He joined the U.S. Navy and served during World War II.

He studied English literature, speech and drama in college, and began his career as a TV stuntman during the era of live TV broadcast from New York.

His older brother, Frank Campanella, who died in 2006, was also an actor.

Campanella is survived by his wife of 53 years, Kathryn Jill Bartholomew, their seven children, and many grandchildren.

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