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Doug Sheehan, ‘Knots Landing’ and ‘Clueless’ Actor, Dies at 75

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Doug Sheehan, who portrayed the reporter Ben Gibson for four seasons of Knots Landing and the father of Cher Horowitz on the ABC adaptation of Clueless for two more, has died. He was 75.

Sheehan died June 29 at his home in Big Horn, Wyoming, a local funeral home announced. The cause of death has yet to be determined.

Sheehan first came to viewers’ attention with his 1979-82 stint as Joe Kelly on the ABC daytime soap General Hospital. A member of the Baldwin & Baldwin law firm, his character had rocky romances with Heather Webber (Robin Mattson) and Bobbie Spencer (Jacklyn Zeman).

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After receiving a Daytime Emmy nomination in 1982, Sheehan departed for the CBS primetime soap Knots Landing for the start of its fifth season in 1983. Ben winds up marrying Val Ewing (Joan Van Ark) and leads everyone in town to believe that her twins are his, when in reality they were fathered by Gary Ewing (Ted Shackleford).

On ABC’s Clueless, he took over for Michael Lerner in 1997 as Mel Horowitz, the father of Rachel Blanchard’s character, and remained through the show’s demise in 1999. Dan Hedaya had played the dad in the Alicia Silverstone-starring 1995 film.

Sheehan also starred as a husband and father who opens a daycare center in his home — Julia Louis-Dreyfus was the next-door neighbor — on the 1988-89 NBC sitcom Day by Day, co-created by Gary David Goldberg (Family Ties, Spin City).

The show was something of a Family Ties spinoff, with his character, Brian Harper, a former college roommate of Michael Gross’ Steven Keaton.

Born in Santa Monica on April 27, 1949, Douglas Stuart Sheehan made his onscreen debut on a 1978 episode of Charlie’s Angels.

He went on to appear on such other shows as Cheers, Alice, MacGyver, Dear John, Columbo, Diagnosis Murder and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, where he played the father of Melissa Joan Hart’s character through 2003.

Survivors include his wife, Cate, whom he married in 1981.

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