Birthday: June 1, 1930
Died At Age: 76
Sun Sign: Gemini
Also Known As: Cleo Pat Corley
Born in: Dallas, Texas
Famous as: Actor
Height: 5'9" (175 cm), 5'9" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Iris Carter (m. 1957 – her death. 2005)
father: R.L. Corley
mother: Ada Lee Martin
children: Christina Pratt, Jerry Corley, Kevin Corley, Michelle Corley, Troy Corley
Died on: September 11, 2006
place of death: Los Angeles, California
Cause of Death: Heart Failure
City: Dallas, Texas
U.S. State: Texas
Who was Pat Corley?
Cleo Pat Corley was an American character actor who garnered fame for portraying the bar owner Phil in the CBS sitcom ‘Murphy Brown’ from 1988 to 1998 as well as for playing Chief Coroner Wally Nydorf in the television drama ‘Hill Street Blues’ between 1982 and 1986. A native Texan, Corley began his journey in the show business as a teenage ballet dancer for the Stockton Ballet. During the Korean War, he served in the US Army and participated in the entertainment shows for the soldiers stationed in France. Corley made his screen debut in an episode of ‘The Wide World of Mystery’ in 1973. He debuted on the big screen the following year, in the action comedy ‘The Super Cops’. Over the course of his 33-year-long career, he accumulated over 110 film and television credits. In 1995, as a member of the cast of the CBS sitcom ‘Murphy Brown’, Corley was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
Pat Corley relocated to New York after his marriage to Carter and was employed as a waiter for a while. He enrolled at the renowned American Theatre Wing and got the opportunity to be taught by Uta Hagen. He regularly attended auditions for plays. He and Carter often visited summer stock productions in Indiana and New Jersey and brought their young daughter Troy with them. He made his Broadway debut in Actors Studio’s production of James Baldwin's ‘Blues for Mr. Charlie’. He also worked in the Off-Broadway play ‘The Peace Creeps’, which also had the likes of future stars Al Pacino and James Earl Jones in its cast. In the 1970s, Corley played various roles in Broadway productions of plays like ‘Of Mice and Men’ and ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’.
In 1973, he appeared in the episode ‘And the Bones Came Together’ of ABC’s late-night program ‘The Wide World of Mystery’. In 1974, he debuted on the big screen in Gordon Parks’ ‘The Super Cops’, portraying the character Captain Bush. In 1975, he earned a nomination for the 1975 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play for ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’ at the Academy Festival Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
Corley portrayed memorable characters like Edward Koogle in the comedy ‘Night Shift’ (1982), Ed Phillips in the action-adventure ‘Against All Odds’ (1984) and Harry Burrows in the fantasy-romance ‘Mr. Destiny’ (1990). Throughout his career, he played supporting roles in a series of TV shows, including ‘Starsky and Hutch’, ‘Hart to Hart’, ‘St. Elsewhere’, ‘Murder, She Wrote’, ‘Magnum, P.I.’, ‘L.A. Law’, and ‘Hey Arnold!’
According to his son, Corley considered Chief Coroner Wally Nydorf in the NBC police drama ‘Hill Street Blues’ (1982-86) to be his most favourite role. Legendary actor Laurence Olivier once called him on the phone to say that "that's the finest television acting I have ever witnessed". In the CBS sitcom ‘Murphy Brown’ (1988-98), Corley was cast as Phil, the owner of the Phil’s Bar which is frequented by the staff of FYI. The 2018 revival of the show introduced Phil’s sister Phyllis (Tyne Daly) as the owner of the bar.
Corley’s last screen appearance was in the 2006 film ‘Come Early Morning’.
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Family & Personal Life
Born on June 1, 1930, in Dallas, Texas, USA, Corley was the son of Ada Lee (née Martin) and R.L. Corley. He began taking ballet lessons when he was a child and became part of the Stockton Ballet when he was a teenager. He was with the troupe for three seasons, and when the Korean War broke out, he enlisted in the US Army. While he was stationed in France, he regularly participated in the entertainment shows organised for the brass. Following his honourable discharge, he began attending Stockton College as a beneficiary of the G.I. Bill.
Corley was married twice. He married his first wife, Rose Louise Valentine, on May 29, 1949. After their divorce, he exchanged wedding vows with aspiring actress Iris June Carter on June 1, 1957. Carter was a young student, a champion debater, and had garnered critical acclaim as a local actress. They went on to have five children, sons Jerry and Kevin, and daughters Michelle, Troy, and Christina. Jerry Corley has followed in his father’s footsteps to become an actor and comedian. Michelle Corley passed away in 1996.
Corley and Carter were married until Carter’s death on April 7, 2005. Corley passed away from congestive heart failure a little over a year later, on September 11, 2006, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He was 76 years old at the time.