Character actor Sam Edwards dead at 89

Monday, August 2nd 2004, 9:17 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Sam Edwards, a Georgia native and character actor who made scores of appearances on such TV shows as ``Gunsmoke,'' ``Barnaby Jones,'' ``McCloud'' and ``Happy Days,'' as well as portraying the town banker on ``Little House on the Prairie,'' has died at age 89.

Edwards, who also appeared on radio and in films, died Wednesday after suffering a heart attack, said his stepson, William Edwards.

Born into a show business family in Macon, Edwards made his stage debut as a baby when his mother, actress Edna Park, held him in her arms during a scene for the play ``Tess of the Storm Country.''

He appeared on radio with his family in the 1930s in ``The Adventures of Sonny and Buddy,'' in which he played a boy who runs away to join a traveling medicine show, and later as himself in ``The Edwards Family,'' a program that also featured his brother, sister and parents.

After three years in the Army during World War II, he returned to radio in the mid-1940s, moving on to television in the 1950s.

He worked regularly in TV into the 1980s, appearing on such shows as ``The Streets of San Francisco,'' ``The Dukes of Hazzard,'' ``Wonder Woman,'' ``Cannon,'' ``Mannix,'' ``Dragnet'' and ``Adam-12.'' On ``Little House on the Prairie,'' he portrayed Mr. Anderson the town banker from 1978 to 1983.

His film credits included ``Twelve O'Clock,'' ``Hello Dolly!'' and ``The Postman Always Rings Twice'' and numerous TV movies.

He also supplied the voices for several children's productions and appeared on ``Winnie the Pooh'' records as Owl and Tigger.