NY Times, TVWeek

He Was on Soaps and in Movies, But We’ll Remember Him Most as the Bumbling Governor on ‘Benson’ — James Noble Dead at 94

Mar 29, 2016  •  Post A Comment

Veteran actor James Noble, best known for his role as Gov. Eugene Gatling on the comedy series “Benson,” has died. The New York Times reports that Noble died Monday at Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut. He was 94.

A spokesman for Noble’s family said the actor suffered a stroke last week.

“From 1979 to 1986, Mr. Noble played Eugene Gatling, the well-meaning but somewhat bumbling governor of an unnamed state, on the ABC series ‘Benson,'” The Times reports. “The show starred Robert Guillaume, playing the same character he had played on the sitcom ‘Soap.’ Benson was originally the governor’s ‘director of household affairs,’ but over the course of the series he rose to state budget director and then to lieutenant governor.”

Noble was known mainly as a stage actor before he became famous on TV. “He made his Broadway debut in a 1949 production of the comedy ‘The Velvet Glove’ and went on to appear in four more Broadway shows, including the musical ‘1776,’ in which he played John Hancock,” The Times reports.

He appeared in a number of soap operas, including “One Life to Live” and “Another World,” and also worked in feature films, appearing in “Being There” and “Airplane II: The Sequel,” among others.

Here’s a vintage commercial with Noble pitching Yard Master bug spray …

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