Sunday, February 9, 2014

Richard Bull Dead at 89

Richard Bull, a character actor best known for portraying shopkeeper and put-upon spouse Nels Oleson on LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIER, died Monday at the Motion Picture & Television Fund's hospital in Woodland Hills, fund spokeswoman Jaime Larkin said.

A resident of what was once known as the Motion Picture and TV Home, Bull died of natural causes after being hospitalized with pneumonia, Larkin said. He was 89.

Bull was among the supporting cast of the 1974-83 NBC series inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's novels about her 19th century prairie family's life. Melissa Gilbert played the author as a young girl, and Michael Landon, who died in 1991, starred as her father.

Born in Zion, Illinois, on June 26, 1924, Bull studied drama at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. He began acting on TV in the 1950s, landed a regular role as the doctor on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA from 1964 to 1968 and had guest appearances on PEYTON PLACE (Dr. Lewis Remmick), KNOTS LANDING (Glenn McMillen), PERRY MASON, THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, HILL STREET BLUES, HIGHWAY HEAVEN, ER and many more.

He also played a judge on the daytime soap opera CAPITOL in 1984-85.

Among the movies he appeared in were High Plains Drifter, The Parallax View and Sugar.

He also acted in local theater productions, sometimes opposite his wife of 65 years, actress Barbara Collentine.

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