Dana Elcar on October 10, 1927 in Ferndale, Michigan, USA, Dana grew up on the family farm
aspiring to become an actor by mimicking radio shows like Fibber McGee and Molly with his
siblings in the barn.
While supporting himself as an ambulance and cab driver, Dana studied drama at the
Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. Some of his early stage stints included Moon in
Capricorn, The Knight of Burning Pestle, Project Immortality and Saint Joan.
In 1954, Dana's debut on daytime television came as Dr. Clay in A Time to Live. Besides
playing original Sheriff George Patterson on Dark Shadows, his other roles in daytime
included the role of Clinton Wheeler on The Edge of Night and D.A. Andrew Murray on The
Dana's many theatrical credits include Galileo, Twelfth Night, Inherit the Wind, The
Cherry Orchard, That Championship Season, Who Wants to Be the Lone Ranger?, Crystal Fox,
Eh?, The Skin of Our Teeth, Murder Among Us, The Dumbwaiter, Plays from Bleecker Street:
Childhood, Androcles and the Lion, Under Milkwood Glass, Drums Under the Windows,
Semi-Detached, The Three Sisters, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, Our Town, The Power and
the Glory, Augustus Does His Bit, As You Like It, Richard III, Good as Gold, Venice
Preserv'd and The Honeys.
His break on the big screen came in the 1964 classic Fail-Safe with Henry Fonda. A brusque
character actor Dana Elcar was usually assigned roles calling for blunt imperiousness..
Dana's other film credits include Blue Skies Again, Buddy Buddy, There Were Times Dear,
Inside Out, 2010, All of Me, Condorman, The Nude Bomb, A Star is Born, Foul Play, The
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The Champ, The Bravos, W.C. Fields and Me, Jaws II, The
Sting, A Gunfight, Zigzag, Adam at 6 A.M., Baby Blue Marine,Solider Blue,
The Fool Killer, The Learning Tree, The Maltese Bippy, Pendulum, Mrs.
Pollifax-Spy, Report to Commissioner,
Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff and The Boston Strangler.
1927 - 2005
The below comments are from the fans of Dana's work,
Dana's television films include Murder in Three Parts, Toughlove, I Want to Live,
Quarterback Princess, Teachers Only, Help Wanted: Male, Forbidden Love, The Day the Bubble
Burst, Death Penalty, Wendy Hooper-U.S. Army, Crisis in Mid-Air, Samurai, Waiting for
Godot, Law of the Land, Senior Year, Heat Wave!, Panic on the 5:22, Hawkins on Murder,
Dying Room Only, Fireball Forward, Sarge, The Death of Me Yet, San Francisco International
Airport, The D.A.: Murder One, The Whole World Is Watching, Deadlock, The Sound of Anger,
The Borgia Stick, Hallmark Hall of Fame: Patriots, Of Mice and Men, Our Town, and also the
two miniseries Centennial and The Missiles of October.
Dana appeared as a guest in a huge number of popular primetime small screen series such as
Hill Street Blues, ER, The Fall Guy, Flamingo Road, Riptide, Trapper John M.D., The
Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Cannon, The Rockford Files, Falcon Crest, Family, The Incredible
Hulk, The Partridge Family, Hawaii 5-0, Bonanza, Get Smart, Matlock, Mission: Impossible,
Naked City, Marcus Welby M.D., Mannix, Kung Fu, Law and Order, The Waltons and The A-Team.
In addition, he also directed episodes of MacGyver, The Rockford Files, Salvage 1 and
Black Sheep Squadron.
In 1985, Dana Elcar was cast as Peter Thornton, boss of troubleshooting Richard Dean
Anderson, on the TV series MacGyver; Elcar continued playing the role into the 1990s, at
which time the actor's real-life blindness (from Glaucoma circa) required him to
incorporate dark glasses and a cane into his characterization.
Dana married and divorced three times.
He is survived by his son, Dane Elcar; three daughters, Nora Elcar Verdon, Chandra Elcar
and Marin Elcar; a stepdaughter, Emily Prager; a sister, Marie E. Hewitt; a half-sister,
Janet K. Melville; longtime companion Thelma M. Garcia and a granddaughter.