Tony Award-winning character actor Fritz Weaver, who played Sherlock Holmes and Shakespearean kings on Broadway while also creating memorable roles on TV and film from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to Marathon Man, has died. He was 90.
Weaver died at his New York City home on Saturday night, according to his daughter, Lydia Weaver, and son-in-law, Bruce Ostler. No cause was given.
A tall man — he stood 6-foot-3 — who was blessed with a deep, resonant voice, Weaver found parts in every medium, often cast as the aristocratic villain.
Weaver won a Tony in 1970 playing a private-school disciplinarian in the play Child’s Play and earned an Emmy Award nomination in 1978 as the patriarch of a Jewish family in the TV miniseries Holocaust.
His many other TV credits include guest parts on Murder, She Wrote, The Twilight Zone, Magnum, P.I., Matlock, Gunsmoke, Falcon Crest and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
His film work included playing a college professor in Marathon Man opposite Dustin Hoffman, an FBI agent in Black Sunday, the 2015 Adam Sandler film The Cobbler and the 2016 film The Congressman, starring Treat Williams. In 2013, he played Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black in HBO’s Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight.
But his first love was the stage. He earned a Tony nomination for his Broadway debut in The Chalk Garden and he went on to play King Henry IV, Peer Gynt, a singing Holmes in the musical Baker Street and a town official in a 1991 Broadway revival of The Crucible, among others.
“The stage is where I began,” Weaver said in 1986. “That’s where I have the most accumulated experience. Movies and television have always been a means of earning a living. And I’m growing more and more familiar with the vocabularies of both those things.”
Born in Pittsburgh, he attended the University of Chicago intending to major in physics when he was cast in the part of Archbishop Thomas Becket in T.S. Eliot’s tragedy Murder in the Cathedral.
He later told the Christian Science Monitor that playing that role changed his life: “When you play the great roles, you get spoiled and think you’ll have a whole career playing nothing but great roles, and of course you can’t.”
Weaver’s first marriage to Sylvia Short ended in divorce. He married the actress Rochelle Oliver in 1997. She survives him, as do his daughter, Lydia, and his son, Anthony.