JAMES MITCHELL, 89
Actor best known for 'All My Children' role
James Mitchell, a stage and film actor and dancer who became a soap opera staple in his role as Palmer Cortlandt on the long-running ABC show "All My Children," died Friday in Los Angeles of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease complicated by pneumonia, his longtime partner, Albert Wolsky, said Sunday. He was 89.
Mr. Mitchell joined "All My Children" in 1979 as the wealthy patriarch of one of the principal families living in fictional Pine Valley.
A biography on the show's Web site described Mr. Mitchell's character as "gruff on the outside" but "a self-made millionaire whose love for his family runs to his core."
His final appearance was earlier this month for the show's 40th anniversary episode.
He was nominated for seven Daytime Emmy Awards for his role.
"He really enjoyed it," Mr. Wolsky said of the soap. "The meaner he could be, the happier he was; actors love to play the villain."
Mr. Mitchell had leading roles in such Broadway musicals as "Bloomer Girl," "Billion Dollar Baby," "Brigadoon" and "Paint Your Wagon."
He also performed in touring companies of "Funny Girl" with Carol Lawrence, "The Three Penny Opera" with Chita Rivera and "The King and I" with Ann Blyth.
He appeared with the American Ballet Theatre and the Agnes de Mille Dance Theater.
Mr. Mitchell's movie roles included "The Turning Point" in 1977 with Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine, "The Band Wagon" in 1953 with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, "Oklahoma" in 1955 with Gordon MacRae and "Deep in My Heart" in 1954 with Mel Ferrer and Charisse, who dances with Mr. Mitchell.
Mr. Mitchell also taught movement for actors and theater students at Yale and Drake universities.