Toluca Lake remembers actor and navy vet Joseph Campanella

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Legendary character actor Joseph Campanella loved living in Toluca Lake, where he was a resident for 40 years. At different times he was mayor and also sheriff of Toluca Lake. He died on May 16 at age 93.

From the early 1950s through 2009, he appeared in more than 200 television and film roles. His work in television included appearances in The Fugitive, Mission: Impossible, Gunsmoke, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Rockford Files, The Golden Girls, One Day at a Time and The Bold and the Beautiful.

In 1962, he was cast in the Broadway play A Gift of Time with Henry Fonda and Olivia de Havilland, two of his favorite co-stars. For his work in that play, he received a Tony nomination. In 1968, he received an Emmy nomination for his role in the TV detective series Mannix.

The handsome Campanella gained popularity with his role as Joe Turino in the soap opera Guiding Light and as Harper Deveraux on the soap Days of Our Lives. He narrated many episodes of The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, National Geographic and the Discover science series on the Disney Channel. He also voiced the character of Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard on Spider-Man: The Animated Series. He worked as a stunt man as well.

Prior to his career in entertainment, Campanella served in World War II in the U.S. Navy. He would later tell great stories to loved ones about funny things that happened on his ship. Next, he attended Columbia University in New York City, where he studied drama. Campanella also studied acting under his older brother Frank Campanella, who also had a successful career in entertainment.

Prior to his acting career, Joseph got his start as a radio sportscaster in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. He loved sports, especially baseball.

Devoted to helping others, he was often involved in charity work, such as when he hosted charity dinners.

Campanella met his wife Jill Bartholomew, a singer and dancer, in 1963 while he was playing the leading man in the musical Hot Spot on Broadway. Both Joseph and Jill were Catholic. They were married for 54 years.

Although Campanella always prepared for every TV and film role, and enjoyed his work immensely, he would sometimes turn down roles since he preferred not to be away from his children. He had seven sons and eight grandkids.


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