David Birney, megastar of TV’s “Bridget Loves Bernie” and “St. Elsewhere” and Broadway’s “Amadeus,” died Friday at his house in Santa Monica, Calif. after a five-year fight with Alzheimer’s illness. He used to be 83.
The veteran actor’s passing used to be showed by way of “life partner” Michele Roberge, the New York Instances reported.
Birney first won mainstream repute in 1972 reverse his long run spouse Meredith Baxter within the CBS sitcom “Bridget Loves Bernie.” The display used to be in style — slotted between rankings juggernauts “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “All in the Family — but short-lived thanks to controversial protests by Jewish groups who disagreed with the “intermarriage” of Birney’s Jewish cabbie personality, Bernie Steinberg, and Baxter’s Bridget Fitzgerald, a Catholic grade faculty trainer from a rich circle of relatives.
Each divorced on the time, Birney and the futxure “Family Ties” matriarch, who had two kids from her first marriage, were given hitched for actual in 1974. The pair had 3 children of their very own ahead of getting divorced in 1989.
Baxter later claimed that Birney used to be emotionally and bodily abusive in her bombshell 2011 ebook “Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering.” He vehemently denied her claims, deeming them an “appalling abuse of the truth.”
The son of an FBI agent, Birney used to be born on April 23, 1939, and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from Dartmouth Faculty with some extent in English literature in 1961, then earned his grasp’s in theater from UCLA, Selection reported. After a excursion in the United States Military and a yr with the Barter Theatre in Virginia, Birney made his New York theater debut in 1967’s “The Comedy of Errors,” “King John” and “Titus Andronicus” on the Shakespeare Pageant for Joseph Papp.
“I only took the TV series because the options for actors get fewer and fewer,” he informed the Instances on the top of his new TV repute in 1972. “I came in in the mid-’60s when British actors dominated the American theater, and for an actor wanting to do Shakespeare you had to steal those parts around the country by hook or by crook. I’m very fortunate to have been almost steadily employed, but I haven’t always done what I’ve wanted to do … I’ll go anywhere at any time to do Romeo — you can print that.”
After the aborted good fortune of “Bridget Loves Bernie,” Birney earned acclaim for taking part in John Quincy Adams within the 1976 PBS manufacturing of “The Adams Chronicles.” The similar yr, he assumed the position of NYC detective Frank Serpico in an NBC collection tailored from Sidney Lumet’s 1973 movie “Serpico” (1973), which earned Al Pacino an Oscar nod for perfect actor because the identify personality.
Within the resulting a long time, he used to be a well-known face on tv and the level, with a standout position as Antonio Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s Tony-winning “Amadeus” on Broadway. He used to be additionally within the unique forged of NBC’s vintage scientific comedy-drama, “St. Elsewhere,” in 1982 and 1983, however left the hit display to pursue his phase in “Amadeus.”
He additionally provided the voice of Anakin Skywalker within the NPR radio dramatization of “Return of the Jedi” in 1996. His ultimate credited position used to be a visitor spot at the CBS police procedural drama “Without a Trace” in 2007.
Along with his occupation accomplishments, Birney chaired the American Diabetes Affiliation for 5 years and served at the Dartmouth Faculty Board of Overseers for the Hopkins Heart for the Acting Arts, in line with his reputable IMDB bio.
Birney is survived by way of his kids with Baxter — daughters Kate and Mollie Birney and a son, Peter Baxter — in addition to a stepdaughter, Eva Bush, and a stepson, Ted Bush, Baxter’s kids from a prior marriage. He additionally had two grandchildren and his brothers, Glenn and Gregory.