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Veteran Character Actor, Known for ‘Columbo,’ ‘The Natural’ and Many TV and Film Roles, Dead at 85

Aug 2, 2012  •  Post A Comment

A character actor who built an extensive resume of appearances on TV and in feature films has died, according to The Hollywood Reporter. John Finnegan, known for his appearances on TV in a dozen “Columbo” episodes and for film appearances including “The Natural,” was 85.

In "The Natural," Finnegan played Sam Simpson, the Chicago Cubs scout who was a big booster of Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford). Simpson was the person on the train who bet sportswriter Max Mercy (Robert Duvall) that Hobbs could strike out The Whammer in only three pitches.

Finnegan befriended Peter Falk and John Cassavetes while studying acting in New York, and went on to perform in five of Cassavetes’ movies along with his work with Falk in “Columbo.” He died Sunday at his home in Palm Desert, Calif., of various health complications.

Finnegan appeared in the Cassavetes movies “A Woman Under the Influence,” “Gloria” and “Big Trouble,” among others. He also provided the voice of Warren T. Rat in “An American Tail.”

Other film roles included “JFK,” “Mars Attacks!” and “Last Action Hero.” On TV, his long list of credits included the series “Maude,” “McMillan & Wife,” “McCloud” and “ER.”

John-Finnegan.jpgJohn Finnegan

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