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Than Wyenn (May 2, 1919 – January 30, 2015) was an American character actor. His acting career spanned more than forty years with more than 150 credits in film and television.[1] He may be best known for his role in the 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone, "Execution", as well as roles in Imitation of Life in 1959 and Splash in 1984.[1][2]

Than Wyenn
BornMay 2, 1919
New York City, New York
DiedJanuary 30, 2015 (age 95)
Woodland Hills, California
Resting placeMount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery
Spouse(s)Guy Wyenn
Children2 sons


Early lifeEdit

Wyenn was from New York City.[1] He studied acting as teenager under Michael Chekhov, Harry Coult, and Lee Strasberg.[2] He toured nationally with a Shakespearean troupe of actors.[2] Wyenn worked on a farm in Vermont during World War II as part of the U.S. war effort.[2]

Than Wyenn and his wife, Guy Wyenn, moved to Los Angeles following the end of World War II.[1][2] He was cast in a starring role in the world premiere of Baruch Lumet's stage production, Once Upon a Tailor, which debuted at The Circle Theater.[1] His role in Once Upon a Tailor earned him a talent agent, which launched his television and film career.[2]


While much of career focused on television, Wyenn appeared in several notable film roles. Wyenn portrayed Romano, an Italian film representative, who attempts to recruit Lana Turner's character, Lora Meredith, in Imitation of Life in 1959.[1] He was also cast as Mr. Ambrose in the 1984 film, Splash, opposite Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah. Other film roles included Beginning of the End in 1957, Pete Kelly's Blues in 1959, The Boy and the Pirates in 1960, and Being There in 1979.[1]


In 1960, Wyenn appeared as Paul Johnson, a villain, in Execution during The Twilight Zone's first season.[1] In the episode, Wyenn's character transported to the past straight into a hangman's gallows in the American frontier during the 1800s.[1] Execution also starred Russell Johnson and Albert Salmi.[2] He also guest starred on Combat!, in 1965 as Captain Beggs, along with guest star Frank Gorshin in the third season episode "The Hell Machine". Wyenn's numerous other television credits, spanning the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, included Leave it to Beaver, Gunsmoke, Dragnet, Barnaby Jones, Mission: Impossible, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Perry Mason, Quincy, M.E., The Six Million Dollar Man, T. J. Hooker, Hart to Hart, The Untouchables, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Burke’s Law and Zorro.[1][2]

Other activitiesEdit

Wyenn became a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1966.[2] He worked as a drama consultant Los Angeles Bureau of Jewish Education for 37-years.[1]

Wyenn and his wife were highly-active in Jewish causes. He was a co-founder of the Yiddish Kinder Theater in Los Angeles.[2] He began documenting Jewish life throughout the world during the 1980s through traveling and painting.[2]


Than Wyenn died at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, on January 30, 2015, at the age of 95.[1] He was survived by his wife of 71 years, Guy Wyenn, and their sons, Joel and Neil, and five grandchildren.[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1949 The Undercover Man Cabbie Uncredited
1953 A Slight Case of Larceny Clerk Uncredited
1954 'Tennessee Champ Usher Uncredited
1954 The Human Jungle Forger Uncredited
1954 The Adventures of Hajji Baba Auctioneer Uncredited
1954 Black Tuesday Bank Teller Uncredited
1955 Pete Kelly's Blues Rudy Shulak
1955 The Naked Street Rosalie's Doctor Uncredited
1955 Good Morning, Miss Dove Mr. Harry Levine Uncredited
1956 The Ten Commandments Slave Uncredited
1957 Hot Rod Rumble Arnie's Boss
1957 Beginning of the End Frank Johnson
1957 The Invisible Boy Prof. Zeller
1958 The Brothers Karamazov Waiter Uncredited
1958 The True Story of Lynn Stuart Nat Uncredited
1958 I Want to Live! San Francisico Hood Uncredited
1959 Imitation of Life Romano
1960 The Boy and the Pirates Hunter
1965 The Money Trap Phil Kenny Uncredited
1966 Gambit Airport Official Uncredited
1967 Rosie! Psychiatrist
1968 The Pink Jungle Customs Agent
1977 Black Sunday Israeli Ambassador
1977 The Other Side of Midnight Greek Priest
1979 Being There Ambassador Gaufridi
1984 Splash Mr. Ambrose


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Barnes, Mike (2015-02-01). "Than Wyenn, Prolific Character Actor, Dies at 95". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-02-21.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Than Wyenn, Character Actor Known For 'Twilight Zone,' 'Imitation of Life,' Dies at 95". Variety. 2015-02-01. Retrieved 2015-02-21.

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