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James Noble, 1776 Vet and Benson Favorite, Dies at 94

Noble played Governor Eugene Gatling on the popular television series.

James Noble (right) with Robert Guillaume on TV's Benson.
(© YouTube)

James Noble, a stage and screen vet perhaps best known for his performance as the scatterbrained governor Eugene Gatling on TV's Benson, died March 28 at the age of 94. He had suffered a stroke days prior to his death.

Born in Dallas on March 5, 1922, Noble's theatrical career took off when he served as the assistant stage manager of Clifford Odets' The Big Knife in 1949. He would go on to make his acting debut later that year in The Velvet Glove, with further Broadway appearances including A Far Country, Strange Interlude, and The Runner Stumbles. He served as a replacement John Hancock and understudy John Dickinson in the original production of the musical 1776. In the film version of 1776, he played Rev. John Witherspoon.

His many off-Broadway credits include Thornton Wilder's The Long Christmas Dinner, as well as productions of A Scent of Flowers, Night of the Dunce, and many others.

On-screen, Noble costarred with Robert Guillaume on TV's Benson, and also acted in the soap operas One Life to Live and As the World Turns.

He is survived by his daughter, Jessica Katherine Noble Cowan.