Arthur Hill, who brought engrossing ciomplexity and understated intelligence to hundreds of roles on stage, screen and television, and won a Tony Award for his performance in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” died n Pacific Palisades, Calif. He was 84.
The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease, his friend Walter Seltzer said.
Mr. Hill was a well-known face on television for many years. On the television series “Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law,” which ran from 1971 to 1974, he played the title role, a lawyer whose main interest was helping people.
Arthur Edward Spence Hill was born in Melfort, Saskatchewan, on the Canadian prairie. His boyhood ambition was to be a lawyer like his father, who knew each of the town’s 2,000 residents and was eager to help them with their problems. Writers have noted that in many ways Arthur Hill’s “Owen Marshall” character resembled the actor’s father.
He stopped acting after his first wife, Peggy Hassard, died in 1990.
His television work included "Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “The Defenders,” “Ben Casey,” “The Untouchables,” “The F.B.I.,” “Mission: Impossible,” “The Fugitive” and “Marcus Welby, M.D.”, in which he made two crossovers as Owen Marshall. In the beginning of his career in television, Arthur Hill appeared on “The U.S. Steel Hour,” “Hallmark Hall of Fame,” “Studio One” and other shows that emphasized serious drama.
[adapted from the New York Times obituary]
Since the pilot movie for 'Owen Marshall, Counsellor At Law' counts as a separate entry from the series, Mr. Hill's character is deserving of entry into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.
In a book I read about Henry Fonda, Fonda found out that he was offered the role of George in "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?", but that his agent never told him about it before he rejected it.
When he went to see it on Broadway, Fonda realized that this part was something he could have scored big with. But there was Arthur Hill doing a fantastic job of it and making it indelibly his own.
When he got home, Henry Fonda fired that agent.