Orson Bean is an experienced actor and comedian and can boast a wealth of performances on stage, television and in films. He also became famous for his participation in several popular game shows. While his professional successes, spanning six decades, are well known to fans, not much is known about the former magician’s private life. Below you will find less known facts about the talented actor.
Who is Orson Bean and How Old is He?
Vermont born Dallas Frederick Burrows was welcomed to the world on July 22, 1928. There is little information about his childhood and primary education, but it is common knowledge that Bean was raised by his parents Marian Ainsworth and George Frederick Burrows. For his college degree, Orson studied at Cambridge Rindge and Latin school.
Bean Orson’s earliest professional station was his service in the U.S. Army from 1946 to 1947, during which time he discovered his creative side as a magician and performer. Immediately after his military service, Orson pursued a career in show business and began appearing on stage at local shows, first as a magician and later as a stand-up comedian.
While the comedian continued to hone his skills at HB Studio, his name Orson Bean was born. The name was accidentally given to him by a Massachusetts-based pianist during one of his stage appearances. After the positive and upbeat response Bean received that night, he decided to officially adopt the name, and it has been impossible to imagine life without it ever since.
Bean had his first breakthrough in 1952 in The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street, a weekly radio show that was broadcast on NBC. After his guest appearance, he impressed the showrunners and was offered a job as host of the show. His other media coverage includes regular guest appearances on the Tonight Show and several other game shows in New York. In particular, he was a regular panelist on, To Tell the Truth and appeared on both Match Game and Super Password. He also hosted Concentration and its spin-off Classic Concentration. Bean has been a regular guest on the Dennis Miller radio show since 2008.
Orson Bean made his acting debut on stage in 1952 and his Broadway preferences include 1955 Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? from 1955, 1961 Subways Are For Sleeping, 1962 Never Too Late, 1964 I Was Dancing, and 1967 Never on Sunday. He also has the behind-the-scenes credits for the production of the award-winning 1964 off-Broadway musical Home Movies.
Orson Bean has an extensive list of credits on the small screen. In both guest and recurring roles, he has appeared in some notable television series such as Twilight Zone (1960), The DuPont Show starring June Allyson (1961), Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1978), Murder, She Wrote (1986-1989) and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993-1998). In 2000 he performed in Normal, Ohio and Will & Grace. Others include 7th Heaven (2005), How I Met Your Mother (2007), Desperate Housewives (2009), Modern Family (2016) and more recently Superstore (2018).
On-screen, Orson Bean is popular for his starring roles in the animated versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He appeared as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit (1977) and as Frodo Baggins in The Return of the King (1980). His other notable films include Garfield in the Rough (1984), Being John Malkovich (1999), A Golden Christmas (2012) and more recently The Equalizer 2 (2018).
Orson Bean is married three times and has had two failed marriages. The first marriage attempt of the comedian/actor was with the actress Jacqueline de Sibour. The former couple, who entered into the marriage in 1956, had a child together, a daughter named Michele. After six years as man and wife, they stopped in 1962.
Bean soon found love again in the arms of fashion designer Carolyn Maxwell, whom he married in 1965. Their union produced three children, two boys (Max and Ezekiel) and a daughter named Susannah. But after 16 years together, Orson and Carolyn officially separated in 1981.
Bean’s third wife is the more than two decades younger actress Alley Mills. The Los Angeles-based couple has been married since 1993 and is still very successful.
Is Orson Bean Still Alive?
Though no longer in his prime days, the veteran actor is still very much alive and active in the entertainment industry. Besides taking up roles on both the small and big screen in recent years, he continues to make guest appearances on popular shows and does not hesitate to voice his unwavering orthodox Christian beliefs.