Everwood and The Mighty Ducks Star John Beasley Dead at 79
By Jenna Anderson,2023-05-31
John Beasley, a prolific character actor known for his work as Irv Harper on Everwood and Barton Bellentine on The Soul Man , has passed away at the age of 79. The news was confirmed via his son, Tyrone Beasley, to The Hollywood Reporter . According to the reports, Beasley passed away on Tuesday, May 30th in a hospital in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, where he had been undergoing tests on his liver.
"I lost my best friend today," Beasley's son, Mike, wrote on Facebook . "They say you shouldn't ever meet your heroes because they don't turn out to be who you thought they were. That is so wrong. My hero was my father. Thank you for everything. I hope I made you proud. Love you more."
Born in Omaha on June 26, 1943, Beasley worked as a railroad man for the Union Pacific Railroad, and moved to Philadelphia after receiving death threats over his criticism of abusive law enforcement practices. In between working odd jobs, he continued to moonlight in theatre, but did not begin acting onscreen until the 1990s. His first film credit was in 1991's V.I. Warshawski, followed soon after by an appearance as the father of Jesse and Terry Hall in the 1992 Disney classic The Mighty Ducks . Beasley's later film work included Rudy, Little Big League, The Apostle, The Sum of All Fears, Walking Tall, The Purge: Anarchy, I'll See You in My Dreams, The Turkey Bowl, Cowboys, Spell , and the 2022 remake of Firestarter.
On the television side, in addition to Everwood , Beasley had stints on Brewster Place, Early Edition, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Boston Legal, The Soul Man, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Resident, Limetown , and Your Honor. He also portrayed a bartender in the pilot episode of Star Wars: The Mandalorian.
Beasley remained a key part of the live theater scene, founding the John Beasley Theater & Workshop in Omaha in 2002. The workshop promotes and highlights works written by or featuring African-Americans. Last year, he appeared as the older version of Noah in a Chicago musical adaptation of The Notebook , and planned to workshop the musical in New York later this summer.
"To be a working artist is the highest calling, and I appreciate wherever it takes me," Beasley said in an interview last year. "If I never got to Broadway, I would still feel I've had a pretty successful career."
Beasley is survived by his wife of 58 years, Judy, his sons Tyrone and Mike, and six grandchildren, including Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Malik Beasley.
Our thoughts are with Beasley's family, friends, and fans at this time.