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Saturday, June 11, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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"MacGyver" co-star's career spanned TV, films and stage

VENTURA, Calif. — Dana Elcar, the round-faced, balding actor whose real-life struggle with blindness was written into his role on the TV adventure series "MacGyver," has died. He was 77.

He died Monday of complications from pneumonia at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, his family said.

"MacGyver" ran on ABC from 1985 to 1992. Mr. Elcar played the best friend and boss of the title character, played by Richard Dean Anderson.

"At a time when I had very little business being called an actor, he made things so easy for me," Anderson said.

Mr. Elcar, who suffered from glaucoma, told producers he was going blind after four seasons with "MacGyver," so they adapted his character to match his medical condition. By the end of the show's run, he had become almost completely blind.

"The fact that you are losing your eyesight does not mean you have forgotten how to act," Mr. Elcar recalled producers saying.

Mr. Elcar's television career spanned 50 years. He played in other drama series, including "Baretta," opposite Robert Blake, and the Robert Conrad series "Black Sheep Squadron."

Mr. Elcar also appeared in at least 40 films, including "The Sting," "2010" and "All of Me."

He starred in Off-Broadway plays, including Harold Pinter's "The Dumb Waiter" and "The Caretaker," Dylan Thomas' "Under Milk Wood" and Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot."

Mr. Elcar is survived by a son, three daughters, a stepdaughter, a sister, a half sister and longtime companion Thelma M. Garcia.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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