Wave Staff and Wire Reports
VENICE — Friends and family gathered July 22 to celebrate the life and character of a beloved Venice fixture — Orson Bean — on the occasion of the unveiling of a street renaming in his honor.
Bean was a magician, a comedian, an actor, and a director, whose career spanned more than 100 appearances on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” memorable roles in “Desperate Housewives” and “Being John Malkovich,” and live theater production from autobiographical to Russian absurdist.
The stretch of Pisani Place running from Venice Boulevard to Amoroso Court, at the Pacific Resident Theatre, where Bean had been chief creator and performed for decades, is now known as Orson Bean Way.
Bean was killed Feb. 7, 2020, when he was struck by two vehicles while crossing Venice Boulevard on his way to the theater to meet his wife, actress Alley Mills, for a performance.
Shortly after his death, City Councilman Mike Bonin introduced a motion to rename the small street known as Pisani Place between Venice Boulevard and Amoroso Court in honor of Bean. While researching the proposal, however, city staffers realized that the roadway had actually been converted into a private driveway.
But Bonin persisted in the renaming effort, and the City Council July 1 backed the honorary renaming of the drive without comment.
In his original 2020 motion, Bonin called Bean “a Venice icon, a well-loved local you could see at the Venice Farmers Market when you weren’t seeing him on TV.”
Bonin said that Bean and his wife were staunch advocates for Venice, receiving the 2016 Venice Spirit Award at the Abbot Kinney Festival. They also were members of the Venice Mar Vista Art Coalition.
“The Venice community lost a neighbor, community advocate and shining light of optimism and generosity” when Bean was killed, Bonin said. “It is fitting that we rename this portion of Pisani Place in his honor.”
Born Dallas Burrows, Bean was a Tony Award-nominated stage performer who also enjoyed success on the big and small screens and as a stand-up comedian.
His film credits included “Being John Malkovich,” “Equalizer 2” with Denzel Washington and “Anatomy of a Murder.”
On television, one of his best-known roles was as the shopkeeper Loren Bray on the 1993-98 CBS western “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”
More recently, he appeared on “Modern Family” and played Roy Bender, Karen McCluskey’s husband, on the three final seasons of “Desperate Housewives.”
Other TV credits include “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” “Forever Fernwood,” “The Bold and the Beautiful,” and as a panelist on various versions of TV’s “To Tell The Truth.”
Bean’s stage career included starring roles in the Broadway production of “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?” with Walter Matthau and Jayne Mansfield, “Subways Are for Sleeping,” “Never Too Late” and “Illya Darling.”
His final appearance on stage was starring with his wife in an extended sold-out run of the world premiere “Bad Habits,” which ran from late November 2019 through January 2020 at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica.