Daniel Von Bargen 1950-2015

Gruff character actor dies aged 64


by James White |
Published on

He could be terrifying in horror movies and terrifyingly stern in his numerous turns as an authority figure, but prolific, talented character actor Daniel Von Bargen turned his hand to many different roles. It has now been confirmed that he has died at the age of 64.

Von Bargen, born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1950, and studied at Purdue University in Indiana. Theatre was one of his driving passions; he enjoyed a long residency at the Trinity Repertory Company in Rhode Island and appeared in productions for the American Repertory Theatre in Massachusetts, which saw him head for New York, appearing both on and off Broadway.

Film-wise, he became known as a reliable character actor, able to be threatening and commanding and picking up a variety of roles as police officers and military men in films such as Silence Of The Lambs, Basic Instinct, Rising Sun, Six Degrees Of Separation, Philadelphia, Crimson Tide and O Brother Where Art Thou. He also embodied scary types, including the sorcerer Nix in Lord Of Illusions.

On TV, he paid his dues with guest star appearances and smaller roles, but had a big impact on the likes of Seinfeld, playing George Costanza’s inept boss during the show’s final season and on Malcolm On The Middle as Commandant Edwin Spangler. His talent for authority shone on the small screen too, and he appeared in series as varied as The West Wing, Judging Amy and The X-Files, where he undercut his usual role playing a terrorist. In his personal life, he struggled with diabetes and had lost a leg to the condition. Shortly before he was due to be admitted to hospital to have toes on his other leg removed in 2012, he attempted suicide with a firearm, but survived.

"I feel a huge wave of sorrow and relief at the passing of this remarkable man, Dan Von Bargen, says friend and fellow actor Bob Colonna on the Trip Down Memory Lane website. “I treasure the years when I worked with him at Trinity Rep and in a couple of TV films. I admire his excellent body of work in the movies. And I mourn for the darkness and pain that were his final years. God bless him. He was a hell of a guy." And he will be missed.

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