On 14th Decemeber 2006. Wednesday, actor Bernard Fox passed away. He was most remembered for his role as the womanising witch doctor Dr. Bombay on the ABC sitcom Bewitched. He was 89.
According to publicist Harlan Boll, the Welshman, who played the goofy Colonel Crittendon on another well-liked sitcom from the 1960s, CBS’ Hogan’s Heroes, passed away from heart failure at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, California.
Fox first featured in the Titanic catastrophe movie A Night to Remember (1958) in an uncredited role before playing Colonel Archibald Gracie IV in James Cameron’s 1997 Titanic movie. Iceberg dead ahead, sir! was the remark uttered by his character in the first movie from the ship’s crow’s nest.
In the Disney animated films The Rescuers (1977) and The Rescuers Down Under (1990), Fox voiced the Chairman; in The Mummy, he played retired Air Force pilot Winston Havelock (1999).
His filmography also includes Yellowbeard, The Private Eyes, and Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977), among others (1983). He excelled in portraying affluent people.
Fox played Dr. Bombay on 19 episodes of the Bewitched television series, which aired from 1966 to 1972 and featured Elizabeth Montgomery. Fox later returned to the role for Tabitha in 1977, Passions in 1999, and a 1989 episode of Pee-Playhouse. wee’s
Fox claimed in a 1998 interview that a man he served with in the Royal Navy during World War II served as his inspiration for the character Dr. Bombay.
He claimed that one evening when he was on duty, six Women’s Royal Naval Service arrived to be put up. “He was the officer in charge of the camp that we were in, and it was an all-male camp,” he recalled.
“So I went and asked this cop what I should do. Oh, I don’t know, give ’em a hot bran mash, some clean straw, and put ’em to bed for the night, he replied. What a fantastic approach to play [Dr. Bombay], I thought. And because I had portrayed him in that way, [the Bewitched authors] continued bringing him back.
“You wouldn’t have learned anything more about it if I had simply chosen a regular doctor. However, they wanted him back because I created such a vibrant character; he was simple to write for. They were the ones who came up with the notion that he would constantly travel the globe and wear various outfits. I invented the puns, and back then, that was OK.
In a 1972 ABC telefilm adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, Fox played Dr. Watson opposite Stewart Granger’s Sherlock Holmes. He also played English valet Malcolm Meriweather on The Andy Griffith Show. The Dick Van Dyke Show, Perry Mason, McHale’s Navy, F Troop, Columbo, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Knight Rider, M*A*S*H, and Murder, She Wrote are just a few of the shows he appeared in as a guest performer.
He was a lifelong member of the Magic Castle in Hollywood and a fan of illusion and magic.
His wife Jacqueline, daughter Amanda, grandchildren David-Mitchel and Samantha, and parents are all still alive.
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