Ken Howard, who won an Emmy and a Tony Award during his career, has died. He was 71. According to the SAG-AFTRA guild (via The Hollywood Reporter) where he served as president, he died at his home near Los Angeles. The cause of death has not been announced.
Howard most recently starred as the father of the bride in 2015’s The Wedding Ringer and as a mop executive in Joy, but it was his role as Ken Reeves in the TV series The White Shadow where he rose to fame. He played an NBA player who suffers a career-ending knee injury and ends up becoming the head basketball coach of the fictional school, Carver High. The series ran from 1978 through 1981.
Howard was born on March 28th, 1944 in El Centro, CA, but was reared in Manhasset, NY. He attended Yale School of Drama and left after two years. He made his Broadway debut in 1968 during Neil Simon’s Promises, Promises. His first film was 1970’s Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie, which starred Liza Minnelli.
He assumed a variety of roles over the course of his career, from playing the funny Hank Hooper, the CEO of Kabletown, on NBC’s 30 Rock and acting in the primetime soap Dynasty, to his part as the retired police detective father of a forensic pathologist in NBC drama Crossing Jordan.
In 1970, he won a Tony Award for best featured actor in a play for his role in Child’s Play and in 2009, won a supporting actor Emmy Award for his role as Phelan Beale in HBO’s Grey Gardens.
Following his Emmy win, he became the Screen Actors Guild president.
“Ken was an inspirational leader and it is an incredible loss for SAG-AFTRA, for his family and everyone who knew him,” SAD-AFTRA acting president Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement to THR. “He was a light that never dimmed and was completely devoted to the membership. He led us through tumultuous times and set our union on a steady course of excellence. We will be forever in his debt.”
He is survived by his wife, retired stuntwoman Linda Fetters Howard, and his three stepchildren.