Actor Dana Elcar, a familiar face on dozens of TV shows but best known as co-star of the action series “MacGyver,” a role he kept even after going blind, has died at age 77, his agent’s office said Friday.
The bald, round-faced performer died Monday of complications from pneumonia at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, California, said Freddie Miller of the Artists Agency in Los Angeles.
Although hardly a household name, Elcar was instantly recognizable to U.S. audiences for his roles in dozens of shows spanning more than four decades, often playing good-guy authority figures.
In addition to frequent guest appearances, he was a regular on such series as “Baretta” opposite Robert Blake, “Baa Baa, Black Sheep” with Robert Conrad, and most notably, “MacGyver,” which starred Richard Dean Anderson as a rugged, clever crime fighter.
On “MacGyver,” which debuted in 1985 on ABC, Elcar played Anderson’s supervisor and friend, Peter Thornton, the director of field operations for the fictional Phoenix Foundation.
Elcar went blind from glaucoma a few seasons into the show, but his affliction was written into his character, and he remained on the show until the end of its run in 1992.
Elcar, a native of Ferndale, Michigan, also appeared in numerous movies, including “The Learning Tree,” “All of Me” and “The Sting,” as FBI agent Polk.
In recent years, Elcar performed in local stage productions put on by a theater group he started in his Southern California community.