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Cagney & Lacey actor John Karlen dies aged 86

Karlen played Harvey Lacey, husband of Tyne Daly’s Mary Beth Lacey.

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John Karlen, centre, after winning an Emmy for best supporting actor (Douglas C. Pizac/AP)

John Karlen, centre, after winning an Emmy for best supporting actor (Douglas C. Pizac/AP)

John Karlen, centre, after winning an Emmy for best supporting actor (Douglas C. Pizac/AP)

Emmy-winning character actor John Karlen, known for his roles on the television series Dark Shadows and Cagney & Lacey, has died aged 86.

Karlen died Wednesday of congestive heart failure at a hospice in California, friend and family spokesman Jim Pierson said.

Karlen played conman and scoundrel Willie Loomis, and later several other roles, on Dark Shadows, the cult favourite horror soap that aired on ABC in the US from 1966 to 1971.

He played Harvey Lacey, husband of Tyne Daly’s Mary Beth Lacey, on the acclaimed CBS police drama Cagney & Lacey from 1982 to 1988.

Karlen won an Emmy as best supporting actor in a drama for the role in 1986.

Born John Adam Karlewicz in Brooklyn, New York, Karlen studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and began his career on stage, appearing in the 1959 Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird Of Youth.

From the late 1950s until the mid-1990s, Karlen worked almost constantly in television, amassing well over 100 acting credits.

In addition to his two long-running parts, he had guest stints or recurring roles on shows including The Streets Of San Francisco, Charlie’s Angels, Hill Street Blues, Murder, She Wrote and Quincy, M.E.

He also had a handful of appearances in film, including 1970’s House Of Dark Shadows, a cinematic spin-off of the TV series.

His final major role was a reprise of his Harvey Lacey character for the 1996 television movie Cagney & Lacey: True Convictions.

PA