The respected Broadway, film and TV actor David Dukes died Oct. 9 near Tacoma, WA, after collapsing on his day off from filming a TV miniseries, according to wire reports.
The Tony Award-nominated actor, remembered for turns in Broadway's Bent (which earned him a Best Featured Actor nom), Dracula, Amadeus, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me and Arthur Miller's Broken Glass, was 55 years old. Although Reuters reported he apparently suffered a heart attack on the set of a TV miniseries, Stephen King's "Rose Red," The Los Angeles Times reported he collapsed at a sports center on his day off. Efforts to revive him at a local hospital were unsuccessful.
Ed Duke of the Pierce County medical examiner's office to the L.A. Times the cause of death was an apparent heart attack. There were reportedly several days of shooting left in the miniseries, in which Mr. Dukes played an evil professor.A production statement said producers were "considering the creative options for the scenes he had yet to shoot," the L.A. Times reported.
Mr. Dukes' TV credits include "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance," and recently "Dawson's Creek," in which he played Mr. McPhee, a parent who struggled with his son's homosexuality.
Mr. Dukes appeared in 35 motion pictures, including "Gods and Monsters," Neil Simon's "Only When I Laugh," "Me and the Kid" and many TV movies, including "The Josephine Baker Story," "Cat on Hot Tin Roof" (in 1985) and "And the Band Played On." He was also a regular on the TV series "Sisters" and "The Mommies." On Broadway, he replaced John Lithgow in the provocative political drama, M. Butterfly, acted with Richard Gere in the Nazi war camp play Bent and famously replaced Ron Silver in a Broadway-bound regional staging of Miller's Broken Glass in 1994, when Silver suddenly exited the production at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT. He received a Tony nomination for his work in Bent.
A San Francisco native, Mr. Dukes made his Broadway debut in School for Wives in 1971. Broadway roles in The Play's the Thing, Don Juan, The Visit, Chemin de Fer, Holiday, Rules of the Game, Love for Love and Travesties followed.
In July and August 2000, Mr. Dukes appeared in Art, under the direction of Judd Hirsch, at Maine's Ogunquit Playhouse. He acted in a radio version of the play, A Fair Country in Los Angeles in 1998.
His wife, the writer Carol Muske-Dukes, survives him, as do two children. Muske-Dukes recently penned a New York Times article about what is was like to be married to an actor. She observed that Dukes was often remembered — unfortunately — for playing a rapist who attacked Edith Bunker on TV's "All in the Family." The piece appeared in The Times' Sunday Magazine March 19, 2000, under the headline, "I Married the Ice-Pick Killer."
— By Kenneth Jones