Actor and voice coach Robert Easton dies
Robert Easton, an actor who had a flourishing second career as a dialect coach for Hollywood stars, died Friday at age 81.
Easton was often called the Henry Higgins of Hollywood, in reference to the speech tutor played by Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (1964).
His daughter, Heather Woodruff Perry, said that he died of natural causes at his home in Toluca Lake.
Easton coached such stars as Forest Whitaker for his Oscar-winning work as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland (2006).
When he was cast as Robert E. Lee in Gods and Generals (2003), actor Robert Duvall requested Easton’s services to help him sound Virginian.
"They said, 'We want Virginia accents,'" Duvall said. "Bob said, 'Which one? There are 12 distinct accents, from the Piedmont to the ocean.' He knew them all.
"He was a wonderful man, a very unique personality, and a master at his craft."Easton recently suffered health problems, but continued to coach actors over the telephone.
He began his career on the radio program Quiz Kids at age 14. He later appeared on TV series such as Father Knows Best, Rawhide and Gunsmoke.
Due to fears of typecasting, however, Easton decided to work on voicing different accents to broaden his acting chances. His talent for this increased during his travels abroad.
Easton’s film appearances include Paint Your Wagon (1969), Working Girl (1988), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) and Primary Colors (1998).