Warren Frost, a prolific character actor who made his mark in some of the biggest television shows of the 1980s, has died. He was 91.
Frost might be best known for his recurring role as Dr. Will Hayward, a coroner who, in the original Twin Peaks, refused to perform the autopsy on murder victim Laura Palmer. And unlike many of the other people who populated Twin Peaks, Hayward didn’t seem to have any weird quirks, and just minimal secrets.
Although Frost had earned his acting credentials through a string of work that began in the 1950s, Twin Peaks came his way because it was co-created by his son, Mark Frost, who would earn Emmy nominations not just for the 1990s version of Twin Peaks, but for Hill Street Blues in 1984 as well.
The older Frost is set to appear in Showtime’s revival of the series in May. And it marks the second actor who has died in recent weeks who returned for the new series after NCIS: Los Angeles star Miguel Ferrer died in late January.
Warren Frost was born June 5, 1925, in Newburyport, Massachusetts, soon after moving to Vermont. He was a World War II veteran, serving on the USS Borum during the Normandy landings, and later studied English at Middlebury College thanks to the G.I. Bill.
He made his screen acting debut as Capt. Leonard Wood in the 1957 series The Gray Ghost, and would pick up guest spots in a number of series until the work dried up in the early 1960s.
In 1984, Frost was getting noticed again, thanks to some independent horror film called Satan’s Touch. While the film itself wasn’t memorable, it seemed to push Frost back onto the market again.
That opened the door for a number of appearances in shows like Quantum Leap, Beauty and the Beast and L.A. Law, before he was cast on Twin Peaks.
Later, Frost would have a recurring role on the Andy Griffith series Matlock as Billy Lewis, while at the same time popping up from time to time on Seinfeld as Mr. Ross, the father of George Constanza’s fiancee, Susan.
Frost retired after that, only to take one last stab at Twin Peaks for the Showtime revival.
Mark Frost shared a statement with BBC about the “passing of our dear old dad.”
“From the Normandy shores on D-Day to his 50-year career on stage and screen, he remained the same humble guy from Vermont who taught us that a life devoted to telling the right kind of truths can make a real difference in the lives of others.”
He married his wife, Virginia Calhoun, in 1949, and had three children together, including Mark.
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