Saturday, February 08, 2020


How Orson Bean found God

Today comes the sad news that Orson Bean has died as the result of being hit by a car in Venice, California. The AP has posted an adequate obituary mostly written by the late Bob Thomas here. With a little help from Orson himself, I would like to add to Thomas’s obituary from a perspective you are unlikely to find in the mainstream media.
Orson Bean’s career spanned five decades. He was an incredibly bright and interesting man. In addition to being a successful actor and award-winning director, he was an acclaimed storyteller. He starred on Broadway for twenty years and appeared regularly as a panelist on To Tell the Truth and other game shows as well as a guest and guest host on the Tonight Show.
In a long and varied show business career, Bean always remained his own man. Blacklisted in Hollywood as a Communist in the 1950’s, he survived and came around sufficiently to face the new blacklist to which Hollywood conservatives are subject. I believe he said the new blacklist is tougher than the old. Donald Lambro explored part of Bean’s experience with the blacklist in his 2008 Washington Times column “Blacklist then and now.” Orson recalled: “Aside from the inconvenience of having a career ruined, being blacklisted in the ’50s was kind of cool.”
Orson was on a long quest for personal fulfillment. In his 1972 memoir Me and the Orgone, he recounted an early version of his quest. He also drank and snorted drugs “and DID inhale.” But, he says, he was never quite happy — until he sniffed around, became a recovering alcoholic, and discovered faith. This is the story he told in his book — M@il for Mikey — aimed at those seeking faith or recovery, but suspicious.
Andrew Breitbart was Orson’s son-in-law. When I toured Israel with Andrew in the summer of 2007, I asked him to convey our invitation to Orson to write something for Power Line. In response to our standing invitation, Orson provided the following account of “why I wrote this book” for Power Line readers. Orson wrote:

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