Larry Drake, who took home two Emmys for his groundbreaking work in the popular NBC series “L.A. Law,” has died. He was 66.
Drake was reportedly found in his Los Angeles home by a friend Thursday. No cause of death was provided.
Drake played Benny Stulwicz, a mentally disabled office clerk, who seemed to be the only sane voice on a floor full of egos in the drama series that ran between 1986 and 1994.
Although he would go primarily into voice acting once “L.A. Law” went off the air, Drake would make a number of guest appearances in shows, including “Firefly” on Fox, “Stargate SG-1” on what was then the SciFi Channel, and in a 2000 episode of “Star Trek: Voyager” called “Critical Care.”
The episode — written by James Kahn based on a story from Kenneth Biller and Robert Doherty — started with the theft of Robert Picardo’s holographic doctor, taken to a medical ship where people are treated based on their class in society. Drake played Chellick, the administrator of the ship, who purchases the stolen holographic doctor program.
Larry Drake was born Feb. 21, 1950, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He would graduate from the University of Oklahoma, but had intended to become a teacher. Instead he jumped into film in 1971 with the crime drama “This Stuff’ll Kill Ya.” By the 1980s, however, he was doing character actor work in television and films, including an unnamed role in “The Karate Kid” in 1984.
Drake joined “L.A. Law” in 1987, and would appear in 140 episodes throughout its run. The Emmys would tap him with a nomination three times for playing Benny, winning twice.
His final credited work came in 2009 doing voice work for “Green Lantern: First Flight” as well as the video game “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed – Ultimate Sith Edition.” His final television appearance was in 2008 playing Bishop Luke Bernard in “Boston Legal,” which also starred William Shatner from the original “Star Trek,” and Rene Auberjonois from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
Drake was married twice in his lifetime, both ending in divorce.