Richard Moll, best known as the towering bailiff “Bull Shannon” on the long-running NBC sitcom Night Court, died Oct. 26 at his home in Big Bear Lake, Calif. He was 80 and no cause was given by his family.
Standing 6’8″, Moll was a character actor, but worked steadily during his career. Night Court ran from 1984 to 1992, and his commanding presence, deep voice, and endearing manner drew the frequent attention of casting directors.
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After Night Court, Moll landed a recurring role on the sitcom Getting By (NBC, 1992-94), starring Cindy Williams, before appearing in an episode of the cult sci-fi hit Babylon 5 (TNT, 1993-99). He also voiced the bodyguard to the title character of the animated Mighty Max (syndicated, 1993-94).
His Night Court stint also enabled him to branch out into larger films and voiceover work on animated series, where he often relished the chance to play the bad guy. Moll was the voice of Harvey Dent/Two-Face on The Adventures of Batman & Robin (Fox, 1992-95) and Scorpion on Spider-Man: The Animated Series (Fox, 1994-98).
During that, he also had small parts in big studio movies like The Flintsones (1994), the Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy Jingle All the Way (1996), the direct-to-video sequel, Caspar Meets Wendy (1998) and Scary Movie 2 (2002).
His feature films resume included parts in The Dungeonmaster (1986) and House (1986), as well as with small screen flicks such as If It’s Tuesday, It Still Must Be Belgium (NBC, 1987) and Class Cruise (NBC, 1989). Additional credits include Wicked Stepmother (1989), Think Big (1990) and Driving Me Crazy (1991).
Richard Charles Moll was born in Pasadena, Calif., to Harry and Violet Moll on January 13, 1943, the youngest of three children. In his early years he spent time in California and Jackson Hole Wyoming, where he developed a love for the outdoors. Tall for his age, others often assumed he would pursue sports, but he was much more academically inclined.
A graduate of UC Berkeley as a history major, he found his love for acting through the Will Geer Theatre, performing in works of Shakespeare.
In 1999, Moll was cast against type for the satirical romantic comedy, But I’m a Cheerleader, which starred Natasha Lyonne. He continued to make appearances on television.
Following character parts in the movies Evolution (2001) and Scary Movie 2 (2002), Moll landed more significant parts in made-for-television films like No Place Like Home (2003) and The Headless Horseman (Syfy, 2007).
An avid bird watcher and nature lover, Moll spent his retirement in the mountain community of Big Bear Lake.
Moll is pre-deceased by parents Violet and Harry Moll and stepfather Milton Berle. He is survived by his children Chloe and Mason Moll and ex-wife and dear friend Susan Moll, and stepchildren Cassandra Card and Morgan Ostling.
No memorial plans have been revealed.
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