Mort Mills Cause of Death: How the Actor Died in a Tragic Fire

Mort Mills was a prolific American actor who appeared in over 150 movies and television episodes, mostly in westerns and thrillers. He is best known for his roles as the highway patrolman in Psycho (1960) and the spy farmer in Torn Curtain (1966), both directed by Alfred Hitchcock. He also worked with Orson Welles in Touch of Evil (1958) and co-starred with Rex Reason in the series Man Without a Gun (1957-1959). But how did Mort Mills die and what was the cause of his death?

A Heart Attack Followed by a Fire

Mort Mills died on June 6, 1993, at the age of 74, in Ventura, California. According to IMDb, it was first reported that he had been smoking in bed and died in the fire. However, after the autopsy, it was determined that he had died of a heart attack and the fire was subsequent to his death. This means that he was already dead when the fire started and that the fire was not the cause of his death.

A Successful Career in Film and Television

Mort Mills was born as Mortimer Morris Kaplan on January 11, 1919, in New York City. He served in the 3rd Marine Parachute Battalion in the Pacific during World War II. He began his acting career in the early 1950s and soon became a familiar face in many popular westerns and crime dramas. He often played the town lawman or the local bad guy, using his tall and imposing physique to his advantage. He also had a recurring role as Marshal Frank Tallman in Man Without a Gun, a syndicated western series about a newspaper editor who fights crime without using a gun.

Mort Mills also had the opportunity to work with some of the most acclaimed directors of his time, such as Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles. He portrayed supporting roles in two of Hitchcock’s classics: Psycho and Torn Curtain. In Psycho, he played the suspicious motorcycle cop who follows Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) after she steals money from her employer. In Torn Curtain, he played a spy who pretends to be a farmer in East Germany and helps Paul Newman and Julie Andrews escape from the communist regime. In Touch of Evil, he played one of the policemen who investigate a murder case involving Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh.

Mort Mills also appeared in many other films and TV shows, such as The Outlaws Is Coming (1965), a comedy film starring The Three Stooges, in which he played Trigger Mortis. He also guest starred in several episodes of Perry Mason, Maverick, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Lawman, and The Big Valley. He was a regular as police Lieutenant Bob Malone in Dante (1960-1961), a series about a nightclub owner who gets involved in various crimes and mysteries.

A Private and Family Man

Mort Mills was married three times and had three children. His first wife was Mary Loretta Grady, whom he married in 1944 and divorced in 1955. They had two sons, John and Michael. His second wife was Elizabeth (Betty) Dell Pentland, whom he married twice, first in 1956 and then in 1964, and divorced both times. They had a daughter, Susan. His cousin was Mary Treen, a film actress who appeared in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) and The Life of Riley (1953-1958).

Mort Mills was a private and family man who did not seek much publicity or fame. He preferred to focus on his work and his hobbies, such as fishing and golfing. He was also a loyal friend and a generous person who helped many of his colleagues and acquaintances in the industry. He was respected and admired by his peers and fans for his versatility and professionalism as an actor.

A Legacy of Memorable Roles

Mort Mills left behind a legacy of memorable roles in some of the most iconic films and TV shows of his era. He was a versatile and talented actor who could play both heroes and villains with equal skill and charisma. He was a part of the golden age of Hollywood and contributed to the history of cinema and television. He will always be remembered as the highway patrolman in Psycho, the spy farmer in Torn Curtain, and the marshal in Man Without a Gun. He was Mort Mills, a star of the silver screen and the small screen.

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