February 01, 2007

Mod Squad star Tige Andrews Dies

Emmy-nominated actor appeared in more than 70 TV shows,
motion pictures and stage productions

Tige Andrews (far right) with Mod Squad co-stars Clarence Williams III, Michael Cole and Peggy Lipton

Actor Tige Andrews, who starred as the police captain in the 1970s television series The Mod Squad, died Saturday, January 27, at his Encino home. He was 86.

Although his birth name was “Tiger,” by which he was known to his close friends, Andrews was known professionally as Tige. His stage, television and motion picture career spanned the last 65 years.

Best remembered for his starring roles as Lieutenant Johnny Russo in The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor (1959-1962), and as Captain Greer in The Mod Squad (1968-1973), he appeared in more than seventy television shows, stage plays and motion pictures.

His body of work includes guest appearances in such series as The Phil Silvers Show, Star Trek (as Kras, the second ever appearance of a Klingon), Gunsmoke, Zorro, The F.B.I., The Fugitive, Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare, Marcus Welby, M.D., Kojak and Murder, She Wrote. His performance as a Greek farmer a 1967 episode of The Big Valley earned him nominations for both a Primetime Emmy and a Golden Globe Award.

The son of immigrant parents, Andrews was born March 19, 1920, in Brooklyn, New York. During World War II he served as 2nd Lt., 45th Division in the United States Army, and was honorably discharged in 1945 after being wounded in Sicily.

After graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, he began his acting career with appearances in numerous Off Broadway and Broadway productions, including Mr. Roberts, Hidden Horizons and From Here to Eternity. He won critical acclaim for his performance as the “street singer” in the original New York production of The Threepenny Opera, in which he introduced the classic song “Mack the Knife.” He later went on to direct and act in other adaptations of the celebrated play.

Andrews’ feature film credits include roles in Imitation General, with Glenn Ford and Red Buttons; Onionhead, with Andy Griffith and Walter Matthau; and China Doll, with Victor Mature.

Andrews enjoyed a lengthy personal and professional relationship with legendary movie director John Ford, who cast Andrews in his film adaptation of Mr. Roberts after seeing the young actor in the original Broadway production. Andrews also appeared in Ford’s The Wings of Eagles, starring John Wayne, and in one of Ford’s rare television projects, the 1962 broadcast Flashing Spikes, starring James Stewart. When Ford died, Andrews was at his bedside.

In addition to his work as a performer, Andrews was a prolific artist with a gift for oil painting. His work has been displayed in Los Angeles art galleries, and some can be seen in the book Actors as Artists.

An avid singer since his days on the Broadway stage, he recorded two singles in the 1970s: "Keep America Beautiful" and "The Mod Father."

In 1950 Andrews married ballerina and actress Norma Thornton, whom he met during a publicity stunt in which the male cast of Mr. Roberts competed in a bowling tournament against the female cast of Gentleman Prefer Blondes.

He and his wife, who passed away in 1996, had six children: Barbara, John, Gina, Steve, Julianna and Tony. He is survived by his sons, daughters and eleven grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Friday, February 2, in Westlake, California.

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