Jeff Smith noon, March 8
Hooterville wholesaler -- and a character actor responsible for providing audiences with many a hoot -- has died. Frank Cady, who played Sam Drucker, the bald-headed general store proprietor who served the townsfolk in The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and Petticoat Junction was 96.
Frank Cady was born in Susanville, California on September 8, 1915 and his family later took up residence in Wilsonville, Oregon. He studied journalism and drama at Stanford University where, according to The Wrap, Cady served "an apprenticeship at London's Westminster Theater, where he appeared in four plays. It was in England that Cady made an early television appearance, on the BBC in 1938."
He returned to university for graduate work and met his future wife while teaching acting. Frank and Shirley Cady were married in 1940 and the couple remained together until her death in 2008.
Frank Cady never objected to being typecast. He told the Portland Oregonian in 1995, "You get typecast. I'm remembered for those shows and not for some pretty good acting jobs I did other times. I suppose I ought to be grateful for that. Because otherwise I wouldn't be remembered at all. I've got to be one of the luckiest guys in the world."
Long before setting up shop in Hooterville, Cady had amassed quite an impressive string of character parts. Generally portraying doctors, clerks, and janitors, Cady had stand-out appearances in several classic productions. He played a pair of reluctant witnesses in Anthony Mann's He Walked by Night and John Huston's The Asphalt Jungle. Cady kept "bartender" Spencer Tracy busy by ordering numerous mint juleps in Father of the Bride.
Cady's best remembered big screen role was without dialog and filmed almost entirely in long shot. Cady played the henpecked husband who lived opposite Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window. In order to avoid running stairs to the top floor of their apartment, he and his wife (Sara Berner) rigged a rope-and-basket that substituted as a dog-walker. Cady's pooch was one of Lars Thorwald's victims.
His last television appearance was, fittingly enough, as Mr. Drucker in the TV movie Return to Green Acres (1990). Soon after the Cadys retired to Wilsonville, Oregon in the '90's where he died on Friday. No cause of death was given.
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