Actor David Dukes dies during break in Spanaway filming

Associated Press

SPANAWAY, Wash. — Veteran actor David Dukes collapsed and died during a day off from filming the Stephen King miniseries "Rose Red" in the suburbs south of Tacoma. He was 55.

Dukes collapsed Monday evening in this town near Fort Lewis and was pronounced dead at St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood, a hospital spokeswoman said.

It appeared the cause of death was cardiovascular disease — "a heart attack, a natural death," said spokesman Ed Duke at the Pierce County Merical Examiner’s Office in Tacoma, which performed an autopsy Tuesday morning.

Dukes had suffered a head injury, possibly when he collapsed, but that was not a factor in the death, Duke said.

The actor was in Lakewood for the shooting of "Rose Red," which had been expected to last through the month. ABC and the Walt Disney Co. spent $500,000 to remodel Thornewood Castle for the miniseries, scheduled to be aired in the spring of 2002.

Dukes was born June 6, 1945, in San Francisco, the son of a California Highway Patrol officer, and attended American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, according to information on the E online Web site.

His TV credits include the miniseries "The Winds of War" in which he played low-level career diplomat Leslie Slote in 1983, and "War and Remembrance" in 1989.

He was better known to younger viewers as Mr. McPhee on the WB TV show "Dawson’s Creek." Other TV credits include appearances on the "The Practice" and "Law &amp Order."

He was nominated for an Emmy award for best supporting actor in a miniseries or special for his role in "The Josephine Baker Story" on HBO in 1991.

He also played a role in the critically acclaimed 1998 movie "Gods and Monsters" about horror director James Whale.

In 1994 Dukes attracted favorable notices on Broadway as a womanizing physician who epitomized Nazi-blind complacency in "Broken Glass" by Arthur Miller, a play set at the time of Kristallnacht, when Jewish businesses and institutions throughout Germany were vandalized.

In 1988 he replaced John Lithgow in the starring role of a French diplomat who falls in love with a male Chinese opera star in the hit Broadway play "M. Butterfly."

Dukes had a son, Shawn, from his first marriage, which lasted from 1965 to 1975, and a daughter, Annie, from his marriage to Carol Muske-Dukes, a poet, writer and professor to whom he was married at the time of his death.

There was no immediate word from Dukes’ father or wife on funeral arrangements.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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