Dane Witherspoon was an actor from America who garnered popularity for playing Joe Perkins in the NBC soap opera ‘Santa Barbara’ and Tyler McCandless in the CBS soap opera ‘Capitol’. A native of Texas, Witherspoon was always interested in acting. When he was 19 years old, he became the youngest student ever to gain admission to the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco, California. He subsequently was part of several productions from William Shakespeare’s works to Tennessee Williams’. For one season, he appeared at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. After he obtained his acting degree, he relocated to Hollywood to pursue a career as a screen actor. In 1981, he made his debut on the small screen in an episode of ‘The Waltons’. Later that year, he guest-starred in another TV show, ‘Eight Is Enough’. In 1984, he appeared in 60 episodes of ‘Santa Barbara’. Between 1985 and 1986, he made appearances in three episodes of ‘Capitol’. In 1992, he played one of the main roles in the first and only film of his career, the sci-fi horror ‘Seedpeople’. Witherspoon ultimately quit acting and started residing in Colorado. He passed away in 2014 at the age of 56.
After graduating from ACT, Witherspoon came to Hollywood to be an actor. In 1981, he was cast as Clint in the season-nine episode, ‘The Pursuit’, of the CBS family drama TV series ‘The Waltons’. Created by Earl Hamner Jr. and based on his book ‘Spencer's Mountain’ and a 1963 film of the same name, the show revolves around a family living in rural Virginia during the Great Depression and World War II. The show’s main cast includes Richard Thomas, Ralph Waite, Michael Learned, Ellen Corby, Will Geer, and Judy Norton.
In 1981, he played a character named Rick in the fifth-season episode, ‘Starting Over’, of the ABC comedy-drama TV series ‘Eight Is Enough’. Developed by William Blinn, the show was a television adaptation of the memoir of the same name by Tom Braden.
In 1984, he was part of the original cast of the NBC soap opera ‘Santa Barbara’, which was created by Bridget Dobson and Jerome Dobson and tells the story of the highly-active lives of the wealthy Capwell family of Santa Barbara, California. Other families that are part of the storyline are the rival Lockridge family, and the more modest Andrade and Perkins families. Witherspoon’s character, Joseph Evan "Joe" Perkins, made his first appearance on the pilot episode. He is introduced in the show as a wrongfully convicted young man who has returned home after serving a five-year sentence. He works as a handyman to support himself and attempts to win back his old flame, whose testimony had resulted in his incarceration. While he eventually does get her back, his happiness is short-lived, as he gets killed not long after. Witherspoon was fired from the show after he had a disagreement with the producers. He made his last appearance on ‘Santa Barbara’ on October 30, 1984. Initially, it was decided that his character would be killed off, but was ultimately recast with Mark Arnold.
Witherspoon appeared in three episodes of the CBS soap opera ‘Capitol’ between 1985 and 1986, portraying Captain Tyler McCandless. Before him, the character was played by David Mason Daniels from 1982 to 1985. As the title of the show indicates, the show centres around the political intrigues of people whose lives are interconnected in Washington, D.C.
In 1989, he essayed the role of Dr. Pritzker in the telefilm ‘’Chameleons’. In 1992, he made a guest appearance in the short-lived CBS crime-drama series ‘P.S. I Luv U’. That year, he had his cinematic debut in Peter Manoogian’s directorial venture ‘Seedpeople’. Cast as Brad Yates, he shared the screen space with Sam Hennings and Andrea Roth in the film. His last on-screen outing was in the 1997 telefilm ‘Asteroid’. Witherspoon subsequently left the industry.
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Family & Personal Life
Dane Witherspoon was born on December 27, 1957, in Denton, Texas, to William Don Witherspoon and Dorris Singleton Witherspoon. He had an elder brother, William Doak Witherspoon.
Dane started harbouring acting aspirations when he was quite young. He was 19 years old when he enrolled at the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) in San Francisco, California, effectively becoming the youngest person ever to do so. He spent the next few years by portraying a variety of roles on stage. He also spent one season at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, performing in various productions.
He and actress Robin Wright met during the audition for ‘Santa Barbara’. The couple tied the knot in 1986 and divorced two years later. Witherspoon subsequently married actress Tracy K. Shaffer in 1989 and had two sons with her. Their divorce was finalised on March 31, 2011.
After retiring from acting, Witherspoon resided in Denver, Colorado. On March 29, 2014, he died after a battle with cancer.