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Updated: November 08, 2023

Leonard Stone ( November 3, 1923 November 2, 2011 ) was an American character actor who played supporting roles in over 120 television shows and 35 films.

Stone was born Leonard Steinbock in Salem, Oregon. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Mike Steinbock, he was a graduate of Salem High School. He majored in speech and drama at Willamette University, graduating cum laude.

Stone was a midshipman in the U.S. Navy, serving as "skipper on a minesweeper in Japanese waters."

Stone started his career as a young actor studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London He performed in the West End, on Broadway, and toured the world. He traveled for eight years in Australia and New Zealand with the musical South Pacific.

He was nominated for a Tony Award in 1959 for Best Supporting Actor in Redhead, a Bob Fosse musical. He also was in the Tony Award-nominated cast of Look Homeward, Angel in 1957, which premiered at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in New York. Based on the Thomas Wolfe novel, it won a Pulitzer Prize.

In 1961 and 1962, he was twice cast in different roles on ABC's The Real McCoys in the episodes "Money from Heaven" and "You Can't Beat the Army". Also, in 1962, he appeared in "The Rifleman". Between 1962 and 1966, Stone made four guest appearances on CBS's Perry Mason, including his season 6, 1962 role as murderer Jerel Leland in "The Case of the Hateful Hero."

Stone played Farnum the Great on Lost in Space ( 1965-1968 ). In 1966, he had a supporting role as Morton on the short-lived CBS sitcom The Jean Arthur Show starring Jean Arthur and Ron Harper. He played characters on The Outer Limits and M*A*S*H. He appeared twice on ABC's The Donna Reed Show, as Mr. Trestle in "The Good Guys and the Bad Guys" ( 1961 ) and as Harlan Carmody, Jr., in "Joe College" ( 1965 ).

In the 1965-1966 season, he appeared as Doc Joslyn in Camp Runamuck on NBC. In 1967, he had the role of Judge Gilroy in Cimarron Strip on CBS.

One of his most notable roles came in 1971, when he played Sam Beauregarde, the father of Golden Ticket winner Violet Beauregarde, in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. He was the last surviving adult character who toured the factory in the movie; however, Diana Sowle, who played Mrs. Bucket, is still alive as of 2015.

In 1981, he appeared on Barney Miller in the episode "The Rainmaker".

Between 1988 and 1994, he was cast as Judge Paul Hansen in 10 episodes of the NBC legal drama L.A. Law.

Stone's final role came in 2006 at the age of 83, when he played a minor character in Surrender Dorothy.

Stone died on November 2, 2011, in Encinitas, California, after suffering a brief bout with cancer, one day short of his 88th birthday.

Stone married Carole Kleinman in 1964, and together they raised four children and had eight grandchildren. In 1983, Stone moved to San Diego from his longtime home in Los Angeles, but continued to commute for work.

In 1996, he and his wife moved to a new, gated community in Carlsbad ( 35 miles closer to LA ), located on a bluff overlooking the Four Seasons ( now Grand Hyatt ) Resort Aviara Hotel & Golf Course. In the early 2000s, he and his wife moved to Encinitas.

Stone was a contestant on an episode of Wheel of Fortune which aired September 22, 2000. He placed second, winning $4,250 in cash and a trip to Bermuda valued at $5,310.

In the early 1950s, Stone began writing a children's story about a kangaroo who never grew. In 2011, Keepy was published on Kindle and Nook.

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