Orson Bean
Name Dallas Frederick Burrows
Born July 22, 1928
Place Burlington, Vermont
Occupation Game Show Host, TV personality, Actor
Spouse Jacqueline deSibour (1956–1962)
Carolyn Maxwell (1965–1981)
Alley Mills (1993-present)

Orson Bean (born July 22, 1928 as Dallas Frederick Burrows) is an American film, television and stage actor as well as a stand-up comedian, writer and producer, He appeared frequently on televised game shows from the 1960s through the 1980s and was a long-time panelist on the television game show To Tell the Truth.

Early LifeEdit

As mentioned above, Orson Bean was born Dallas Frederick Burrows in Burlington, Vermont the son of Marian Ainsworth (nee Pollard) and George Frederick Burrows. His father was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) a fund-raiser for the Scottsboro Boys' defense and a 20-year member of the campus police of Harvard College. Among his other relatives is Calvin Coolidge, who was president of the United States at the time of his birth and was his first cousin twice removed. Dallas graduated from the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and between 1946 and the end of 1947, he served 18 months in the United States Army. While stationed in post-war Japan, he developed and refined a magic act during his off-duty hours.

Following his military service, Dallas began working in small venues as a stage magician before transitioning in the early 1950s to stand-up comedy. It was during that time when he stopped using his birth name professionally and adopted the stage name Orson Bean. In an interview on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1974, Bean recounted the source of his new name. He credited its origin to a piano player named Val at "Hurley's Log Cabin", a restaurant and nightclub in Boston, Massachusetts, where he had once performed according to Bean, every evening before he went on stage at the nightclub, Val would suggest to him a silly name to use when introducing himself to the audience. One night, for example, the piano player suggest "Roger Duck" but the young comedian got very few laughs after using that name in his performance. On another night, however, the musician suggested "Orson Bean" and the comedian received a great response from the audience, a reaction so favorable that it resulted in a job offer that same evening from a local theatrical booking agent. Given his success on that occasion, Bean decided to keep using the odd-sounding but memorable name.

Acting CareerEdit

In 1952, Bean made a guest appearance on NBC Radio's weekly hot-jazz series The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street. His vocal mannerisms were ideal for the mock-serious tone of the show and he became the show's master of ceremonies ("Dr. Orson Bean") for its final season. Bean was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show (with both Jack Paar and Johnny Carson) and appeared on game shows originating in New York. He was a regular panelists on To Tell the Truth in versions from the late 1950s through 1991. On July 5, 1965 his father appeared as a subject of the panel he had to disqualify himself from participating. Apparently no one knew his real name was Burrows as Kitty Carlisle humorously admitted in her questioning. Bean appeared on Super Password and Match Game among other game shows. He hosted a pilot for a revival of Concentration in 1985 which was picked up later on as Classic Concentration with Alex Trebek in 1987.

He played the title character in the 1960 Twilight Zone episode "Mr. Bevis" in 1961 for the CBS anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson, he starred John Monroe in "The Secret Life of James Thurber" based on the works of American humorist James Thurber.

On Broadway in 1955, he starred in the original cast of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Then in 1961 he was featured in Subways Are For Sleeping, for which he received a Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actor in a Musical as well as performing in Never Too Late the following year. In 1964, he produced the Off-Off-Broadway musical Home Movies (not to be confused with the animated UPN/Adult Swim animated TV series of the same name) which win an Obie Award and he appeared that same year in the Broadway production I Was Dancing he also starred lllya Darling, the 1967 musical adaptation of the film Never on Sunday.

Bean was a regular on both Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and its spin-off Fernwood 2Nite. He also portrayed the shrewd businessman and storekeeper. Loren Bray on the television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman throughout its six-year run on CBS in the 1990s. He played John Goodman's homophobic father on the sitcom Normal, Ohio. He played the main character Bilbo and Frodo Baggins in the 1977 and 1980 Rankin/Bass animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Return of the King. He also played Dr. Lester in Spike Jonze's 1999 film, Being John Malkovich. Bean appeared in the last two episodes of 2003 in 7th Heaven as a patient. In 2005, Bean appeared in the sitcom Two and a Half Men in an episode entitled "Does This Smell Funny to You?" playing a former playboy whose conquests included Tuesday Weld and Anne Francis. He appeared in the 2007 How I Met Your Mother episode "Slapsgiving" as Robin Scherbatsky's 41-year-old boyfriend Bob. In 2009, he was cast in the recurring role of Roy Bender, a steak salesman, who is Karen McCluskey's love interest on the ABC series Desperate Housewives. At the age of 87, Bean in 2016 appeared in "Playdates" an episode of the TV sitcom Modern Family.

Personal LifeEdit

An admirer of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, Orson Bean in 1964 served as a founding member of The Sons of the Desert, The International organization devoted to sharing information about the lives of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy and studying and enjoying their films.

Bean wrote an autobiographical account about his life-changing experience with the orgone therapy developed by Austrian-born psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. Published in 1971, the account is titled Me and the Orgone: The True Story of One Man's Sexual Awakening.

Bean has been married three times. His first marriage was in 1956 to actress Jacqueline de Sibour, whose stage name was Rain Wilson and who was the daughter of the French nobleman and pilot Vicomte Jacques de Sibour and his wife Violette B. Selfridge (the daughter of British department-store magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge) Before their divorce in 1962, Bean and Jacqueline had one child, Michele. Then in 1965, he married fashion designer Carolyn Maxwell with whom he had three children: Max, Susannah and Ezekiel. The couple divorced in 1981. Their daughter Susannah married conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart in 1997. Bean's third (and current) wife is actress Alley Mills, who is 23 years his junior. The married in 1993 and live in Los Angeles.

Bean lived in Australia during the 1960s and after returning to the United States, he became a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson since 2008, Bean has been a regular guest on the Dennis Miller radio show, stating that he is a Christian of Orthodox beliefs and very thankful for the career success he has had.

Goodson-Todman Shows He appearedEdit

Get the Message (1964)
Password All-Stars (1962-1964)
I've Got a Secret (1952, 1965-1966)
What's My Line? (1965-1967)
To Tell the Truth
The Match Game (1963-1969)
He Said, She Said (1970)
Match Game
Body Language (1985)
Super Password (1984-1986)

Goodson-Todman Show HostedEdit

Concentration (1985 pilot)