Jan. 3rd, 1932
Austin, Texas, USA
Dabney Coleman's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
For twenty years Dabney Coleman has appeared mostly in one type of role: a smarmy selfish, nervous person mostly with money that is out for himself, mostly. The fact is he did such a good job in this type of part he has made a career of it in film. This is quite a departure for a person that once entered the Virginia Military Institute, and once studied law in Texas. The actor has a well deserved reputation as a fine character actor, and a reliable presence for almost any role in TV and movies. Dabney Coleman's early appearances in the cinema were in The Slender Thread (1965) and Downhill Racer (1969). On TV he starred in "That Girl" (1965). As the 1970s approached he became a well-known character actor in television and movies, appearing in The Towering Inferno (1974), Midway (1976), and Cinderella Liberty (1973). Television seemed Dabney Coleman's forum in the 1970s as Coleman played the role of Merle Jeeter in "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" (1976) and "Fernwood 2 Night" (1977). Coleman made appearances in the popular North Dallas Forty (1979) and the Oscar-winning Melvin and Howard (1980). Dabney Coleman also became known for some satirical movies, starring in the comedy How to Beat the High Co$t of Living (1980) and snatched a lead role for the TV movie Pray TV (1980). Coleman's part as a world class prick became cemented in 1980 as the boss to Dolly Parton , Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in Nine to Five (1980). The next year Coleman was in very good company working with legends Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn in On Golden Pond (1981). Coleman's hit streak would not end there. In 1982 Coleman landed a key role in the classic Tootsie (1982), further cementing his role as an unlikable wealthy boss in some capacity. In 1983 Coleman starred in the Cold War classic WarGames (1983). During this period he also found many parts in lesser known movies like Young Doctors in Love (1982) and Callie & Son (1981) (TV). In 1984 he starred in The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) and in 1985 he starred with Tom Hanks in The Man with One Red Shoe (1985). In 1987 the actor won an Emmy for Sworn to Silence (1987) (TV). In 1990 Coleman took two lead roles, one in the disastrous Where the Heart Is (1990), and the other in the quirky comedy Short Time (1990). In 1993 Coleman starred in the slapstick comedy Amos & Andrew (1993) (a very funny part) and in a remake of the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) as Milburn Drysdale. Coleman took an extensive line of TV movies, such films as Texan, In the Line of Duty, among others. Coleman took an unusual part in the ABC cartoon, "Recess" (1997), and then starred in a couple of big money grossers, the Tom Hanks comedy, You've Got Mail (1998), as Chief Quimby in Inspector Gadget (1999), and in Stuart Little (1999), both 1999. Coleman is still very active, and his future still seems ever brighter as he is starring in a couple of high profile movies in the near future that should do very well.
- Auditioned for the role of The Professor in _"Gilligan's Island" (1964)_ (qv).
- (2000) Diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) but took part in a clinical trial which remedied his sight from 20-400 to 20-40 in just a week.
- His daughter, Quincy, released her first CD on September 30, 2003 called "Also Known As Mary".
- Was a cadet at the Virginia Military Institute as a member of the Class of 1953...left after two years.
- Father of 'Quincy Coleman' (qv) (born 1972). He also has three other children with ex-wife 'Jean Hale' (qv) named Meghan, Randy and Kelly Johns.
- Is a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity from the Texas Beta Chapter at the University of Texas.
- Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 112-113. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
- Served 2 years in the Army's Special Services Division.