Jack Kehler, a prolific character actor known for performances in The Big Lebowski, Men in Black II, and Fever Pitch, has passed away at the age of 75. The news was first broken on Monday night, after confirmation from his son, Eddie Kehler. Kehler reportedly died on Saturday, May 7th at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, due to complications from leukemia.
Born on May 22, 1946 in Philadelphia, PA, Kehler began to work in theater at the age of 24. Kehler then became a lifelong member of the Actors Studio in 1982, after crossing paths with actor and acting teacher Sanford Meisner and artistic director Wynn Handman. Just a year later, Kehler would make his onscreen debut in the 1983 film Strange Invaders, in which he played a gas station attendant.
Kehler became somewhat of a staple of television in the 1980s, with appearances in Fresno, Hunter, Cagney & Lacey, St. Elsewhere, Hooperman, Newhart, Doctor Doctor, and L.A. Law. The 1990s saw Kehler continuing to work in television, but also earn film roles that included Halsey in Point Break, Bob Hatch in Wyatt Earp, Johnny Mack in Lost Highway, a banker in Waterworld, a state department official in Lethal Weapon 4, and a circus barker in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. He also portrayed Jaheel in a 1993 episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Among Kehler’s biggest roles was the landlord in The Big Lebowski, the 1998 cult classic from Joel and Ethan Coen.
In the new century, Kehler’s onscreen appearances included playing Ben in Men in Black II, an accountant in Pineapple Express, a reporter in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and stints on 24, ER, Joan of Arcadia, The Mentalist, Cold Case, Bones, and Mad Men. Some of his more recent roles included a six-episode stint in The Man in the High Castle, as well as appearances on The Magicians and Lethal Weapon. His last onscreen role was as a landlord in Season 2 of the Hulu series Love, Victor, as well as a posthumous appearance in the movie The Platinum Loop.
Kehler is survived by his wife, Shawn Casey; his son, Eddie Kehler; his daughter-in-law, Mari-Anne; and his grandson, Liam.
Our thoughts are with Kehler’s family, friends, and fans at this time.