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Actor Richard Crenna dead at 76

Career spanned radio, TV, big screen

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Richard Crenna

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Actor Richard Crenna, who played TV detective Frank Janek and whose credits include the TV series "The Real McCoys" and the "Rambo" film trilogy, has died at 76, his daughter confirmed Saturday.

Seana Crenna said her father, who suffered from pancreatic cancer, died of heart failure Friday at 6 p.m. in the intensive care unit of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. His family was with him at the time, she said.

"It happened suddenly," she said. "We didn't expect it. I just know he was a very respected and admired man in all professions. He treated everyone fairly and just."

In addition to Seana Crenna, the actor is survived by his wife, Penni; a son, Richard; and another daughter, Maria.

The funeral will be private, but the family plans a public memorial service for next Saturday, Seana Crenna said.

Crenna played Col. Samuel Trautman, mentor to Sylvester Stallone's character, in the "Rambo" films. He also starred as Detective Lt. Frank Janek in a series of TV movies including "The Forget-Me-Not Murders" (1994) and "Terror on Track 9" (1992).

Most recently, Crenna played the recurring role of Jared Duff on the television series "Judging Amy." He played President Reagan in the 2001 television movie "The Day Reagan Was Shot," in which Richard Dreyfuss played Alexander Haig.

An actor since the 1940s, Crenna began his career in radio, as teenager Walter Denton on "Our Miss Brooks," achieving fame when the series moved to television. In 1952, the first year "Our Miss Brooks" was on television, Crenna also appeared with Lucille Ball on one episode of "I Love Lucy."

His first notable roles as an adult were Luke McCoy in the TV series "The Real McCoys," which ran from 1957-63, and James Slattery in "Slattery's People," a political drama that aired for one season in 1964.

"The Real McCoys" also gave Crenna his first chance to direct. He went on to direct episodes of the TV series "The Rockford Files," "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Lou Grant".

Crenna has shared the silver screen with some of Hollywood's biggest names, including Steve McQueen in "The Sand Pebbles" (1966), Audrey Hepburn in "Wait Until Dark" (1967), Kathleen Turner in "Body Heat" (1981) and Matt Dillon in "The Flamingo Kid" (1984).

Crenna received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1988.


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