August 06, 2012

John Finnegan, Prolific Character Actor

In addition to dozens of television credits, including numerous appearance on Columbo, Finnegan had roles in feature films, including several directed by John Cassavetes.

John Finnegan, an actor known for memorable supporting roles in both feature films and television, including 12 episodes of the detective drama Columbo, died July 29, 2012, in Palm Desert, California. He was 85.

According to news reports, he had various health ailments.

Among the most prolific character actors in the business for three decades, Finnegan had a memorable role in the 1984 film The Natural as a baseball scout. His other movie credits included JFK, Mars Attacks! and Come See the Paradise, and was the voice of villainous Warren T. Rat, in the animated feature An American Tail.

In addition he appeared in several films directed by John Cassavetes — A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Big Trouble, Opening Night, Love Streams and Gloria — whom he befriended while the men were studying in New York.

At the same time, Finnegan also befriended Peter Falk, who went on to become the star of Columbo. Finnegan had roles in in episodes of Banacek, Ellery Queen, Switch, Police Woman, McMillan and Wife, McCloud, All in the Family, Maude, One Day at a Time, Hill Street Blues, Matlock, Cagney & Lacey, 227, ER and many other series.

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