Fritz Weaver, a Tony Award-winning character actor who played Sherlock Holmes and Shakespearean kings on Broadway while also creating memorable roles in TV shows and films such as “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Marathon Man,” died Nov. 26 at his home in New York City. He was 90.
His daughter, Lydia Weaver, and son-in-law, Bruce Ostler, confirmed the death. No cause was given.
A tall man — he stood 6-foot-3 — with a deep, resonant voice, Mr. Weaver found parts in every medium, often as an upper-crust villain.
He won a Tony Award in 1970 playing a private-school disciplinarian in the play “Child’s Play” and earned an Emmy Award nomination in 1978 as the patriarch of a Jewish family in the TV miniseries “Holocaust.”
His many other TV credits include guest parts on “Murder, She Wrote,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “Matlock,” “Gunsmoke,” “Falcon Crest” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
His film work included playing a college professor in “Marathon Man” (1976) opposite Dustin Hoffman and an FBI agent in “Black Sunday” (1977). His other movies included the Adam Sandler film “The Cobbler” (2015) and “The Congressman” (2016), starring Treat Williams. In 2013, he played U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black in HBO’s “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight.”
But his first love was the stage. He earned a Tony nomination for his Broadway debut in Enid Bagnold’s “The Chalk Garden” and he went on to play King Henry IV, Peer Gynt, a singing Holmes in the musical “Baker Street” and a town official in a 1991 Broadway revival of “The Crucible,” among others.
“The stage is where I began,” Mr. Weaver said in 1986. “That’s where I have the most accumulated experience. Movies and television have always been a means of earning a living. And I’m growing more and more familiar with the vocabularies of both those things.”
Fritz William Weaver was born in Pittsburgh on Jan. 19, 1926. He was attending the University of Chicago, where he received a physics degree in the early 1950s, when he was cast in the part of Archbishop Thomas Becket in T.S. Eliot’s tragedy “Murder in the Cathedral.”
He later told the Christian Science Monitor that playing that role changed his life: “When you play the great roles, you get spoiled and think you’ll have a whole career playing nothing but great roles, and of course you can’t.”
Nor did his Tony help his career in the way that he expected it might.
“What I remember is a vast silence from the phone,” he quipped to the Monitor, “because people said, ‘We won’t offer it [a role] now, because we can’t offer him enough money.’ ”
Mr. Weaver’s marriage to Sylvia Short ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife, the actress Rochelle Oliver, whom he married in 1997; and two children from his first marriage, Lydia Weaver and Anthony Weaver.
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