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In Memoriam: Chad Everett

Chad Everett, Dashing Dr. Gannon of ‘Medical Center’, Dies at 75
Reposted from the NY Times


Published: July 25, 2012


Chad Everett, the lean, handsome actor who mended broken hearts as well as broken bones as Dr. Joe Gannon on the television drama “Medical Center” in the 1970s, died on Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 75.


The cause was lung cancer, his daughter Kate Thorp said.

Tall and chisel-cheeked with crystal-blue eyes, Mr. Everett acted in more than three dozen television series and films, including having leading roles in two other prime-time series in the 1980s and ’90s, “The Rousters” and “McKenna.”

But he was best known as the soft-spoken surgeon who soothes the worries of his patients, their families and his colleagues in “Medical Center,” set in a fictitious teaching hospital in Los Angeles. It was broadcast on CBS from 1969 to 1976.

“Understatement is apparently a highly salable commodity on TV,” The Washington Post wrote in a 1975 article about male stars. “Chad Everett, a big-city type, seldom stoops to histrionics as he lethargically makes his rounds on ‘Medical Center.’ ”

In a 1969 episode, O. J. Simpson played a bedeviled college football star who Dr. Gannon suspects suffers from serious mental problems. The doctor persists in his efforts to determine the cause of the player’s erratic behavior.

“Mr. Everett was effective as the surgeon, neither drooling in excessive compassion nor being argumentatively tough,” the critic Jack Gould wrote of the episode in The New York Times.

Mr. Everett was far less reserved in other roles. In the 1983 NBC series “The Rousters,” set in a carnival that travels around the West, he played a rough-and-tumble bouncer and peacekeeper. His character had a difficult time convincing strangers that he was called Wyatt Earp (named for his great-grandfather, the famous gunfighter). That year Mr. Everett also appeared in the ABC mini-series “Malibu,” as a fading tennis professional.

In “McKenna,” on ABC in the 1994-95 season, he played Jack McKenna, who runs an outdoor tour business for often troublesome customers.

“He did his own stunts — horseback riding, river rafting ” Mr. Everett’s daughter said. “At one point they were rafting with a live bobcat on the raft.”

In 2006, Mr. Everett portrayed a closeted gay police officer in an episode of “Cold Case” on CBS.

His movie career included small roles in the 1998 remake of “Psycho” and David Lynch’s “Mulholland Dr.” (2001). He had a leading role in “Airplane II: The Sequel” (1982), playing a dotty engineer who builds the first commercial space shuttle to the moon, a spacecraft so flimsy its terrified passengers are doomed.

Raymon Lee Cramton was born in South Bend, Ind., on June 11, 1937, to Ted and Virdeen Hopper Cramton. (He changed his professional name, his sister said, because he was tired of explaining, “Raymon, no ‘D’, Cramton, no ‘P’.”) The family later moved to Dearborn, Mich., where his father worked as an auto parts salesman.

After graduating from high school, Mr. Everett attended Wayne State University, where he began acting in stage productions. He then went to Hollywood, where, after securing several small roles, he signed a contract with MGM.

Mr. Everett married Shelby Grant, an actress, in 1966; she died last year. Besides his daughter Kate, he is survived by another daughter, Shannon Everett; his sister, Deannie Elliott; and six grandchildren.

In 1982, six years after his run on “Medical Center,” Mr. Everett told United Press International that he was glad to have moved on to new roles. “As I travel around the country,” he said, “people are beginning to think of me as an actor rather than as Gannon.”


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