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RIP James Karen

LOS ANGELES — James Karen, the instantly recognizable character actor perhaps best remembered as the shady developer in “Poltergeist,” died Oct. 23 at his home here. He was 94.
He was also noteworthy in such films as “The China Syndrome” (1979) and “The Return of the Living Dead” (1985) and on the finale of NBC’s “Little House on the Prairie.” But MSTies will remember his role as corrupt university president Dr. Wendell Rossmore in the movie in episode 405- BEING FROM ANOTHER PLANET.

The Hollywood Reporter has the story.

12 Replies to “RIP James Karen”

  1. MonkeyPretzel says:

    Also famous in the Northeast US as the spokesman in commercials for the Pathmark chain of grocery stores.


  2. IR5 says:

    One of the good ones. RIP


  3. ProjectedPaul says:

    Wow. I just went to the Poltergeist scare house maze at the Universal Studios Orlando theme park during Halloween Horror Nights this past weekend. Eerie.


  4. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    Servo: “James Karen”? Boy, he must have an identity problem…

    Anyway RIP, too bad his character in Time Walker was an unlikable bureaucrat


  5. Ray Dunakin says:

    I remember him well. An excellent actor who was often cast as shady or unlikeable corporate types, politicians, etc.


  6. Mr. Krasker says:

    Ray Dunakin:
    I remember him well. An excellent actor who was often cast as shady or unlikeable corporate types, politicians, etc.

    Yet he always seemed like a likeable guy.


  7. I recognized the face from “Return of the Living Dead”, but needed the prompt about “China Syndrome”….One of the good dead character-ones.


  8. thequietman says:

    I remember James Karen most as a talking head on the Universal Horror documentaries, and he also was a good friend of Buster Keaton.

    I own a TCM collection of Keaton’s first three films made at MGM and it includes a documentary hosted by Karen where he describes how badly Keaton’s talent was mismanaged by that studio. It’s fascinating and you can see the affection Karen had for Keaton.


  9. TorgosPizzaNJ says:

    He also starred in “Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster”, a movie that inexplicably missed the Riffing of MST3K, Film Crew, Cinematic Titanic, Rifftrax and The Mads… R.I.P.


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