Joseph Campanella, 93, char­ac­ter ac­tor whose ver­sa­til­ity led to ubiq­uity

The Republican Herald - - OBITUARIES - by riCHarD sanDOMir THE NEW YORK TIMES

Joseph Campanella, a ver­sa­tile ac­tor whose tele­vi­sion ca­reer be­gan in the 1950s on an­thol­ogy se­ries and con­tin­ued for decades on shows like “Man­nix,” “The Bold Ones” and “One Day at a Time,” died Wed­nes­day at his home in the Sher­man Oaks neigh­bor­hood of Los Angeles. He was 93.

His wife, Jill Campanella, said the cause was com­pli­ca­tions of Parkin­son’s dis­ease.

For many years, Campanella ap­peared to work to the point of ubiq­uity. Tall and lean, with wavy hair, he played doc­tors, lawyers, crim­i­nals, cops and judges, in­clud­ing one named Judge Joseph Camp on the TV show “The Prac­tice” from 1998 to 2001.

He starred in “The Bold Ones: The Lawyers,” with Burl Ives and James Far­entino, and “The Doc­tors and the Nurses,” with Michael Tolan. And he was a reg­u­lar on the first sea­son of “Man­nix,” the long-run­ning de­tec­tive se­ries star­ring Mike Con­nors, but left in 1968 when he was told that his role would be re­duced.

Campanella found his stride as a fre­quent guest star. He was a crafty crim­i­nal sus­pected of plan­ning a prison break in a 1966 episode of “The F.B.I.”; a cat­tle­man on “Gun­smoke” in 1968; and Mary Richards’ hard-to-forget ex-boyfriend on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” five years later. And in eight episodes of the sit­com “One Day at a Time,” from 1976 to 1982, he played the ex-hus­band of Ann Ro­mano, the char­ac­ter played by Bon­nie Franklin, the star.

His tele­vi­sion work­load was no­ticed in 1972 by one viewer who, ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle in TV Guide, wrote to an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer ask­ing, “Why must we see him or hear him ev­ery­where else, wher­ever we turn on our TV set?”

In re­sponse, Campanella told the TV Guide in­ter­viewer, “An ac­tor, like ev­ery­one else, must make bread for his fam­ily — and my wife and four sons eat a lot of bread.”

Joseph An­thony Campanella was born in Man­hat­tan on Nov. 21, 1924, to Si­cil­ian im­mi­grant par­ents. His fa­ther, Philip, was a pi­anist. His mother, Maria (Onofria) Campanella, was a home­maker and dress­maker. Joseph grad­u­ated from Man­hat­tan Col­lege in the Bronx with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in English lit­er­a­ture, stud­ied drama at Columbia Univer­sity and served in the Philip­pines as sec­ond in com­mand of a Land­ing Craft In­fantry ship.

A skill­ful base­ball player, Campanella was of­fered a con­tract by a low-level New York Giants mi­nor league team in Ge­or­gia, but turned it down, pre­fer­ring to pur­sue an act­ing ca­reer.

Af­ter nearly a decade of tele­vi­sion work, he had roles in three Broad­way shows in the early 1960s. For one, “A Gift of Time,” with Henry Fonda and Olivia de Hav­il­land, he was nom­i­nated for a Tony Award as best fea­tured ac­tor in a play. And while ap­pear­ing in an­other, the short-lived mu­si­cal “Hot Spot” (1963), he met Jill Bartholomew, a singer and dancer in the cho­rus of the show. They mar­ried in 1964.

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