Prolific television actor Richard Roat died Aug. 5 at the age of 89, the Los Angeles Times reported. The only detail released about his death was that it was sudden. His survivors include his 40-year-old wife Kathy.
The Connecticut native’s entertainment career spanned nearly five decades, with one of his most notable roles coming just a year after it began. From 1963 to 1964 he played Dr. Jerry Chandler in over 100 episodes of The Doctors. Roat continued to garner success with minor roles on popular series such as Hawaii Five-O, Columbo, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, establishing himself as a sought-after character actor. During the ’70s, he landed roles in The FBI, Dallas, and the Westworld movie, to name just a few of the nearly four dozen projects he worked on that decade.
During the ’80s, Roat made several appearances on “Hill Street Blues” and “Dynasty,” while audiences of the ’90s and 2000s might know him best for his sitcom work. As Deadline noted, he played a professor who discovers that Ross (David Schwimmer) was dating a student on an episode of Friends, and portrayed a doctor who Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) visited while trying to get treatment for a skin rash. According to his Los Angeles Times obituary, fans of The Golden Girls may also remember Roat for appearing alongside the late Betty White as a suitor to Rose, who died during a sleepover.
Richard Roat had a second job
Richard Roat’s long list of acting credits also includes appearances in the early ’60s Broadway productions of Come On Strong and Sunday in New York, per Playbill. According to his Los Angeles Times obituary, he had a side job as an accountant that lasted as long as his career in the entertainment industry, which ended with a role in 2009’s 24. On Facebook, some users revealed that Roat had their taxes prepared.
Roat is remembered as a sports fan who championed LA teams, particularly the Angels and Lakers. He could also play the violin and had a fondness for whiskey.
Some of those who knew the late actor paid tribute to him on Facebook. A post written by one of his friends read: “RIP Richard Roat and Lennie Hughes, two of the most generous, kind and loving people I have ever known. I will miss you both terribly as I know your families will. Well there are no words.” In another post, one of Roat’s employees revealed that his wife planned to keep his tax accounting business afloat. “My boss, Richard Roat, the most supportive friend a person in the entertainment industry could ever have, passed away suddenly,” the tribute reads. “He leaves behind a legacy of love and laughter and a business that will continue to thrive.” RIP.