Character actor Ned Wertimer died January 2 in Los Angeles at the age of 89. Wertimer was in the Sherman Village Health Care Center after a fall last November at his home.
The longtime actor was best known for his role of Ralph the Doorman first in an episode of “All in the Family” and later in 51 episodes over eleven seasons on “The Jeffersons”.
Born Edward Wertimer on October 27, 1923 in Buffalo, New York, he served as a Navy pilot during World War II and earned a degree in Business Administration from the University of Pennsylvania before making his career as an actor. While at the University, Wertimer was a member of the Mask and Wig Club – an all male musical troupe.
Wertimer began his professional career as an assistant stage manager on Broadway before landing roles of his own first on stage and later in movies and television. Wertimer’s stage productions include “Brigadoon”, “Hatful of Rain”, “Witness for the Prosecution”, “A Man for All Seasons”, “Cyrano de Bergerac”, “Annie Get Your Gun”, “Bells are Ringing”, and “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?”.
While best known for his role as Ralph the Doorman, Wertimer first made his television debut coming in 1950 as Officer Thompson on “Rocky King, Detective”. From there he went on to appear in numerous roles including “Car 54, Where are You?”, “Get Smart”, “That Girl”, as Field Marshal Kesselring on “Hogan’s Heroes”, “Gunsmoke”, “I Dream of Jeanie”, “Mayberry R.F.D.”, “Ironside”, “The Jimmy Stewart Show”, “The New Dick Van Dyke Show”, “Love, American Style”, “Mary Tyler Moore”, “McMillan and Wife”, “Sanford and Son”, “Lucas Tanner”, “Happy Days”, “Starsky and Hutch”, “How the West was Won”, “Welcome Back Kotter”, “WKRP in Cincinnati”, “Mork & Mindy”, “Simon & Simon”, “227”, “The Practice”, and his last role as a singing gallows pirate in “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”.
Wertimer was actively involved in politics and social issues. He was a long time member of the Screen Actor’s Guild and a voting member for the Emmy Awards. A sportsman, Wertimer snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef and frequently participated in celebrity golf tournaments.
Wertimer is survived by his wife Dr. Skyne Uku, one niece, three nephews, and sister in law Eleanor.