Actor Tom Poston Dead at 85


Tom Poston, who played several television roles in which he seemed hopelessly befuddled by even the simplest things, died April 30 in Los Angeles. He was 85.  The cause of death wasn't disclosed. 

Poston is probably best known for his portrayal of George Utley, the kind-hearted handyman who couldn't fix anything, on the Newhart  show, starring Bob Newhart, which aired from 1982-90 on CBS. He also played Franklin Delano Bickley, a loopy drunk on Mork & Mindy  on ABC, from 1978-82. He made guest star appearances on several dramatic and comedy shows, and for ten years was a panelist on the game show, To Tell the Truth.  

Old time television viewers know him from the mid-50s, when, along with Don Knotts and Louis Nye, he was one of regular drop in "man on the street" guests on the late night Steve Allen Show. He played a character so uncomfortable about being on television that he couldn't remember his name, and won an Emmy Award for it. Prior to that, Poston had had a successful career as a Broadway actor. 

He is survived by two children and his third wife, actress Suzanne Pleshette.