A family spokesman says that Bernard Fox, known to TV viewers as Dr. Bombay on “Bewitched” and Col. Crittendon on “Hogan’s Heroes,” has died. He was 89.
Spokesman Harlan Boll said the actor died Wednesday of heart failure at a Los Angeles-area hospital.
Bernard Fox was a fifth-generation performer; born Bernard Lawson in Port Talbot, Glamorgan, the son of Queenie (née Barrett) and Gerald Lawson, both stage actors. He had an older sister, Mavis, and his uncle was actor Wilfrid Lawson.
Fox began his film career at the age of 18 months and by the age of 14 he was an assistant manager of a theatre. After his naval services in the Royal Navy during World War II he resumed his career and soon was in 30 film credits from 1956 to 2004 include two films revolving around the sinking of RMS Titanic, separated by 39 years. Fox was in both Titanic (1997) (as Colonel Archibald Gracie IV) and the earlier version of the tragedy A Night to Remember (1958) (uncredited as Frederick Fleet). In the latter, he delivered the line “Iceberg dead ahead, sir!” while playing the part of a sailor in the ship’s crow’s nest.
His other screen roles ranged from supporting parts in broad comedies (Yellowbeard, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, and The Private Eyes, playing a homicidal butler in the last) to supplying the voice of the Chairmouse in the Disney animated features The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under. He played the role of Winston Havelock, a retired Air Force pilot, in the 1999 adventure film The Mummy. In 2004, Fox made his final appearance before retirement in Surge of Power: The Stuff of Heroes.
On television, Fox portrayed the warlock physician (or “witch doctor”) Dr. Bombay on Bewitched and the inept “Colonel” Crittendon (actually an RAF Group Captain, though always referred to as a Colonel) on Hogan’s Heroes. However, his first appearance in Bewitched was not as Dr. Bombay, but as a professional witch debunker. He repeated the role of Dr. Bombay on the 1977 sequel Tabitha, and again in 1999 on the soap opera Passions, and spoofed it as a genie doctor (“wish doctor”) in a 1989 episode of Pee-wee’s Playhouse.
He appeared in two episodes in the mystery series Columbo, “Dagger of the Mind” and “Troubled Waters”.
Fox was the penultimate surviving adult recurring cast member of the sitcom Bewitched, leaving Nancy Kovack as the only remaining one. Fox also appeared as English valet Malcolm Meriweather on The Andy Griffith Show, and in Knight Rider as Commander Smiths in season 2, episode 8.
Fox appeared as a British Major in “The Phantom Major,” episode 3 of F Troop, and in “Tea and Empathy,” episode 17 of season 6 of M*A*S*H. In 1964, Fox appeared in episode 117 of The Dick Van Dyke Show, titled “Girls Will Be Boys.” Fox plays the father of a little girl who keeps beating up Richie Petrie. He also appeared in episode 95, “Teacher’s Petrie,” where he played a night school creative writing teacher, and in “Never Bathe on Saturday” as the house detective.
In 1965 Fox made a guest appearance on Perry Mason as murderer Peter Stange in “The Case of the Laughing Lady.”
Fox also appeared in McHale’s Navy, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. “The Thor Affair” As munitions magnate Brutus Thor, intent on assassinating a “Gandhi-like” figure who is trying to bring world peace (1966). And a two-part episode “The Bridge of Lion’s Affair” in 1966, as THRUSH agent Jordin, whose constant response to each additional assignment is “I’ll look into it”; and in the Murder, She Wrote episode “One White Rose for Death” in 1986. He co-starred with Michael Evans as Dr. Watson in “Sherlock & Me” in the early 1980s.
Fox married his wife, Jacqueline, in 1961. Their only child, a daughter named Amanda, has a son named David-Mitchel and a daughter named Samantha.