Mr. Owens — whose qualities allowed him to play leading men and character parts, regionally and in New York City — was 64, and understudied the Tom Bosley role of retired professor Norman Thayer in On Golden Pond. His agent Paul Hilepo said he collapsed in rehearsal and was taken to the hospital, where he later died. His agent called him a passionate actor who worked constantly, and wasn't afraid to travel outside New York for good roles.
Mr. Owens was also a spiritual man — a practicing Buddhist.
Recently on Broadway, Mr. Owens played Dr. Baugh and went on as Big Daddy in the 2003 revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; was the head servant Trembinsky in Fortune's Fool (2002) — a Russian-set play in which servants are vital to the world (he was also the cover for Tony-winners Alan Bates and Frank Langella); and was in the company of Death of a Salesman (1999), understudying the role of Charley. He succeeded John Lithgow in The Changing Room in 1973, and appeared in Broadway's An Inspector Calls (and on tour), That Championship Season and Caesar and Cleopatra (1977) and Conduct Unbecoming (1970).
Off-Broadway, he appeared in Charles Grodin's play The Right Kind of People at Primary Stages (and its predecessor, The Co-Op Chronicles) and Irish Repertory Theatre's Philadelphia, Here I Come!
Regionally, Mr. Owens' credits included work at the McCarter Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville and Huntington Theatre. He also appeared in TV and film roles.
He is survived by friends, colleagues and extended family.