Ken Swofford, a prolific actor on TV and in movies, died November 1, 2018, according to a tweet from his filmmaker grandson Brandon Swofford.
Swofford, who had been retired from show business since 2004, had come out of retirement this year to voice the titular character in his grandson's animated short Happy the Angry Polar Bear.
Born July 25, 1933, in Du Quoin, Illinois, Swofford made his TV debut on a 1962 episode of Surfside 6. He went on to appear on many classic TV series, including The Big Valley (1966), The Wild Wild West (1967), 12 appearances on Gunsmoke (1967-1975), Adam-12 (1968), The Odd Couple (1970), three appearances on The Rookies (1972-1973), Columbo (1973), The Partridge Family (1970 & 1974) and The Six Million Dollar Man (1977-1978).
My Grandpa, Ken Swofford passed away yesterday.
Actor, Jokester, Baseball & Film Aficionado, Angry Polar Bear, A Great Father, Husband & Grandfather.
Grateful for the times we spent and we will miss you terribly. Thank you for the inspiration, friendship and stories 🐻❤️ pic.twitter.com/bBiGLJe9s4
— Brandon Swofford (@bswoffs) November 2, 2018
He was a regular on Fame (1983-1985) as Vice Principal Morloch, made 11 appearances as Lt. Catalano on Murder, She Wrote (1985-1992) and made several appearances as Sheriff Burnside on Dallas (1988-1989).
His best-known feature films were The Andromeda Strain (1971) and Annie (1982).
Swofford's TV movie and miniseries credits include A Case of Rape (1974) and M.A.D.D.: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (1983), the latter of which became sadly ironic when Swofford was convicted of drunk driving in 1989, spending two years in prison. He recovered, did an anti-drunk driving PSA and continued working until semi-retiring in 1995.
After 1995, Swofford did two voice-overs until this year's Happy the Angry Polar Bear.