Gimme A Break Actors You Might Not Know Passed Away

Season 3 of “Gimme a Break” introduced Joey Donovan, a small-time con artist who became Nell’s foster son. In Season 4, the couple traveled to Crescent City for the two-part episode “New Orleans”; There Joey met his father, a merchant seaman named Tim Donovan. Joey appeared to be heading to Nome, Alaska, with his father, but after a change of heart, he reunited with Nell at the end of New Orleans Part 2.

Loveable character actor Fred McCarren played Tim Donovan in New Orleans, although another actor, Patrick Collins, reprized the role for his return in Season 6. A Pennsylvania native who once studied at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, he appeared in television commercials and episodic television series in the 1970s; Occasional roles in feature films such as Xanadu, The Star Chamber and the cult-horror favorite The Boogens followed in the 1980s.

McCarren moved to Pennsylvania in the late 1980s to raise his six children with his wife Lisa. There he worked extensively in national and regional television and radio commercials. He was diagnosed with cancer in the mid-2000s and decided against treatment until he underwent surgery in 2006. McCarren eventually died of colon cancer on July 2, 2006 at the age of 55.

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