Richard Dysart "THE THING" Star Dies from Cancer

Richard Dysart

Richard Dysart, a veteran of stage and screen best known for his role on "L.A. Law", died Sunday after a long battle with cancer. He was 86 years old. 

According to Dysart's daughter-in-law, he passed away at his home in Santa Monica. His wife tells us he'd been diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. During his five decade career in the entertainment business, Richard appeared in a number of horror and science fiction movies, most notably as Dr. Cooper in John Carpenter’s The Thing. His other credits in this field include The Terminal Man (1974), Riding with Death (1976), Prophecy (1979), Meteor (1979), Warning Sign (1985), Back to the Future Part III (1990) and Spawn 3

Dysart had a penchant for playing famous figures -- he portrayed Dwight D. Eisenhower (twice), J. Edgar Hoover (twice) and Harry Truman (twice). He also famously played the villain against Clint Eastwood in "Pale Rider."

Richard Dysart

But he became a household name as Leland McKenzie on "L.A. Law," which ran from 1986-1994. He was nominated for four Emmys, winning once in 1992.