Max Showalter, a Broadway, film and TV actor and a Renaissance man of sorts, died July 30 in Connecticut, where he lived, The New York Times reported.
Mr. Showalter was 83 and included painting and songwriting as parts of his career. He composed for musicals, including the Broadway tuner, Harrigan 'n Hart, seen on Broadway in 1985.
Mr. Showalter appeared in such films as "Niagara," "Bus Stop," "10," "It Happened to Jane," "Racing With the Moon," "With a Song in My Heart," and others, sometimes under the name Casey Adams. He was a popular Horace Vandergelder on Broadway and on tour in the musical, Hello, Dolly!
Mr. Showalter was born in Caldwell, KS, and in his youth his mother used to take him to the local theatre where she was employed as a pianist for silent movies. He studied and performed at the Pasadena Playhouse between 1935 and 1938. He made his Broadway debut in 1938 in Knights of Song, directed by Oscar Hammerstein II. He also appeared in Jerome Kern's Very Warm for May, Irving Berlin's This is the Army, Broadway's Make Mine Manhattan, and was seen in stock and regional productions.
While filming the movie "It Happened to Jane," on location in Connecticut, Mr. Showalter fell in love with the area and eventually bought an 18th century farmhouse in Chester, CT, where he retired. Over the years, he performed in a one-man show, with him at piano, in which he reminisced about his showbusiness career. His paintings were seen in exhibits, as well.
A collection of his memorabilia was viewed in the lobby of the York Theatre in Manhattan in 1999. According to The Times, he left his papers and memorabilia to The Goodspeed Opera House, which operates in East Haddam and Chester, CT.
-- By Kenneth Jones