The Delirious Movie Wikia
Advertisement

Dana Elcar was an American television and film character actor who starred in over forty films in his lifetime, but he is possibly best known for his role as administrator Pete Thornton in the iconic 1980s series, "MacGyver."
Elcar was born Ibsen Dana Elcar on October 20, 1927 in Ferndale, Michigan, the son of James Elcar, a carpenter and butcher, and Hedwig Elcar. He was an alumnus of the University of Michigan where he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and he also served a tour of duty in the United States Navy. After World War Two, he moved to New York in the 1950s to become a professional actor, studying under legendary acting coach Sanford Meisner.
Elcar received in first television in 1962 on the long running CBS daytime drama, "The Guiding Light," later receiving roles in "Car 54, Where Are You?," "Naked City," "The Patty Duke Show," "The Edge of Night," "The Defenders" and "The Doctors and the Nurses" before landing the recurring role of Sheriff George Patterson on the iconic soap opera "Dark Shadows" with Nancy Barrett and Lara Parker. His film roles included appearances in "A Christmas Masque," "The Borgia Stick," "The Crucible" and "St. Joan."
Through the Sixties, Elcar mostly played heavies and authority figures in appearances on "Get Smart," "Mission: Impossible," "Ironside," "The Waltons," "Kung Fu." He also appeared in disaster movies, such as "Heatwave!" and "Crisis in Mid-Air," but he also remained a mainstay on network TV, going on to appearances on "Marcus Welby, M.D." "Bonanza," and "The Partridge Family" before landing the role of Inspector Shiller in the crime drama, "Baretta," with Robert Blake. He followed up with roles in "The Rockford Files," "Cannon," "Gemini Man," "The Six Million Dollar Man," "Police Story," "The Incredible Hulk," "One Day At A Time" and "BJ and the Bear" before landing a recurring role in the 1970s television military drama, "Baa Baa Black Sheep." He also replaced actor Edward Platt as the Chief in the "Get Smart" movie, "The Nude Bomb." In the 80s, he went on to make appearances in "The A-Team," "Matlock," "Newhart," "Voyagers," "Knight Rider," "The Fall Guy" and "Hardcastle and McCormick." In 1985, he received his most popular starring role to date, that of Phoenix Foundation administrator Pete Thornton on "MacGyver," a role he played for six years.
With character actor William Lucking, he formed the Santa Paula Theater Center in 1986 while sitting as artistic director for six years. However, in 1991, Elcar began to develop glaucoma, a condition that was written into his role on "MacGyver" for the remainder of the season and the last season. After "MacGyver" ended, he portrayed other blind characters on "Law & Order," "The Magic School Bus" and "ER." He also took on the challenge of playing Vladimir in "Waiting for Godot," complete with white cane, which was his theatrical swan song. He retired in 2002.
Elcar passed away at the age of seventy-seven on June 6, 2005 at the Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, California from complications from pneumonia. Having married three times, he left behind three children, his son, Dane Elcar and his three daughters, Nora, Chandra and Marin. He also had a stepdaughter, former soap opera actress and current writer Emily Prager, a sister, a half-sister, and his long-time partner, Thelma Garcia.

Advertisement