Charles White, Character Actor on Broadway, Dead at 86

Obituaries   Charles White, Character Actor on Broadway, Dead at 86 Charles Vincent "Bud" White, Jr., a character actor who appeared on Broadway, in films and on TV, died at the Heartland Health Care Center in Sarasota, Florida, June 20, his family announced.
Charles White
Charles White

Mr. White, a native of Perth Amboy, NJ, was 86. He moved to sunny Florida in December 2004. He was a graduate of Rutgers University and served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Mr. White studied at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York City, and was a personal friend of, and studied acting under, the legendary Sanford Meisner.

According to his family, Mr. White often spoke of how a little town like Perth Amboy became a major tryout center for various plays being considered for Broadway back in the '20s and '30s, and that his forebears ran a theatrical boarding house in town in the late 19th century.

During his more than 50 years as an actor, he worked with Henry Fonda, Helen Hayes, Robert Ryan, George C. Scott, Ethel Merman, Katharine Hepburn, Myrna Loy and Sandra Bullock.

His favorite Broadway play was The Front Page, in which he played the role of Sheriff Hartman in a 1969 Broadway revival that had a limited engagement on Broadway starring Bert Convy and Robert Ryan. It returned the same year for a return run; Helen Hayes joined the company in a small role, Mrs. Grant, upon the return. In the 2004-05 season, Mr. White was a guest at the Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, where he had retired to, for a performance of The Front Page.

"The acting company enjoyed including him in a [talk back] where audience members remained after the show to ask questions and hear stories, and Mr. White had interesting ones to share," said Julia Guzman of Asolo. "The young actors were very much in awe to find that Charlie was a person friend of 'Sandy' Meisner."

In films, his character roles included The Fat Man in "Airport," Commissioner Delaney in "Serpico," and Father Griffin in "Child's Play."

Among more than 20 television shows, he appeared "Spin City," "Kojak," "Maude," "The Patty Duke Show" and "The Defenders." When he wasn't acting, he could be found at St. Mary's Catholic Church where he directed several musicals and plays for the parish.

According to Internet Broadway Database, Mr. White's Broadway credits include Kingdoms (1981), Gypsy (in the replacement cast in the original production he played Uncle Jocko), Comes a Day (1958) and Cloud 7 (1958).

Survivors include two nieces, Nancy Telesco of Sarasota, FL, and Diana Leger of East Hanover, NJ, a grand niece, Genevieve Kott of Woodbridge, NJ, and numerous family relatives.

A memorial service will be held on Aug. 6 at the Flynn Funeral Home in Perth Amboy.