Obituary: Lionel Stander

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In his otherwise admirable obituary of Lionel Stander [3 December], David Shipman made an all too common error, writes Dick Vosburgh.

He referred to "the McCarthy committee on Un-American Activities". The ignoble Senator Joseph McCarthy was chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and had nothing to do with the House Un-American Activities Committee, before which Stander testified, at his own request, on 3 March 1953.

Although Stander was a gifted actor, he never gave a more impressive performance; commanded to give information on Americans involved in subversive activities, he pointed at his inquisitors themselves, calling them a "group of fanatics who are trying to undermine the Constitution of the United States by depriving artists of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without due process of law".

It is also worth mentioning that, despite picketing threats from the American Legion, Lionel Stander played the crooked agent Ludlow Lowell in the 1952 revival of Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey, which ran for 542 performances on Broadway.

Stander's last film was Bob Balaban's The Last Good Time (1994), in which he played an irascibly witty dying man of 89.