Larry Haines, Broadway Actor, Dies at 89

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22 Jul 2008

Larry Haines, a stage and television actor who gave a Tony Award-nominated performance as the humane Dr. Dreyfuss in Promises, Promises, a 1968 musical version of the Billy Wilder film "The Apartment," died July 17 in Delray Beach, FL. He was 89.



As Dr. Dreyfuss, the neighbor of the show's main character, corporate pawn Chuck Baxter — who lends out his apartment to his superiors for romantic trysts in hope of advancing his position — Mr. Haines sang "A Young Pretty Girl Like You" with the show's star, Jerry Orbach. Clive Barnes, in The New York Times, called his performance "beautifully judged." The Burt Bacharach-Hal David show ran for more than three years. Mr. Haines was also Tony-nominated for his Broadway outing just previous to Promises, Promises, a 1965 William Goodhart comedy called Generation, which was directed by Gene Saks and starred Henry Fonda.

Larry Haines, who went by the stage name A. Larry Haines early in his career, debuted on Broadway in 1962 in Herb Gardner's A Thousand Clowns as the brother of fun-loving iconoclast Murray Burns, played by Jason Robards. In the 1970s he replaced James Coco as Barney Cushman in Neil Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers; played in the "Dorothy" section of Twigs, a collection of one-acts by George Furth; and acted opposite Jack Lemmon (who played the original Baxter in the film "The Apartment") in 1979's Tribute — Mr. Haines' last Broadway credit.

Regionally, he appeared in God's Favorite at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Florida and in Paris Is Out with Molly Picon at the Philadelphia Playhouse in the Park. He brought in a steady income for 35 years playing the part of Stu Bergman on the soap opera "Search for Tomorrow." The actor joined the show two months after it premiered in 1951. He won two Emmys as Best Actor on a Daytime Series, and had a dedicated fan in First Lady Pat Nixon, who called him her favorite soap actor.

He was born Aug. 18, 1918, in Mount Vernon, NY. He first became known in the 1930s as a radio actor on the crime series "Gangbusters." He also appeared in shows like "Suspense," the "Shadow," "Inner Sanctum Mysteries" and "X Minus One," and starred in a short-lived series of 1953, "That Hammer Guy," in which he played Mike Hammer, the character created by Mickey Spillane. He never left radio, even as the medium faded as a dramatic forum. Between 1974 and 1982, he appeared in 82 episodes of the "CBS Radio Mystery Theater."

Mr. Haines was predeceased by his former wives, Gertrude Haines and Jean Pearlman Haines as well as by his only daughter, Debora Haines. He is survived by his niece, Kathy Hecht. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Screen Actors Guild, Hollywood Headquarters, 5757 Wilshire Blvd. 7th Floor, Los Angeles, CA, 90036-3600.