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Actor Richard Stahl Dies at Age 74

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Richard Stahl, an actor whose more than 40-year career stretched from New York theater to film and television comedies such as "Laverne and Shirley," has died. He was 74.

Stahl died Sunday at the Motion Picture and Television Fund's health center in Woodland Hills after a 10-year battle with Parkinson's disease, his wife, actress Kathryn Ish, said Wednesday.

"He had been declining for some time now," she said.

Born in Detroit, Stahl did magic tricks as a boy and moved to California as a performer at age 15, Ish said. He served in the Army during the Korean War, later graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

Ish and Stahl were both off Broadway theater actors when they met in 1959. They married later that year.

In the 1960s, the pair moved to San Francisco and joined improv comedy group The Committee, Ish said. They settled in Santa Barbara in 1975.

Stahl's film credits include 1979's "Five Easy Pieces," Mel Brooks' 1977 spoof "High Anxiety," 1980's "9 to 5" and 1996's "Ghosts of Mississippi."

He appeared on such TV shows as "Laverne and Shirley," "The Odd Couple," and "Barney Miller," and held a regular stint on 1980s sitcom "It's A Living."

"He was a funny guy, he worked in comedy all his life," Ish said.

Stahl is survived by Ish, their daughter Allegra and son Oliver.

Memorial services were pending.


Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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