Actor Hindman, ‘Home Improvement’ Neighbor, Dies
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Actor Earl Hindman, best known for his role as the never-seen next-door neighbor who imparts advice as he peers over Tim Allen’s backyard fence in the hit television series “Home Improvement,” has died, his wife said on Tuesday. He was 61.
Hindman died of lung cancer at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut early on Monday, said his wife, the Rev. Molly McGreevy, a priest at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Stamford.
A character actor, Hindman launched his 30-year career on stage before appearing in numerous films, television series and specials. He played Detective Bob Reid on the ABC soap opera “Ryan’s Hope” for over a decade
Among his best known films were “Three Men and a Baby” in 1987, “Greased Lightning” in 1977 and “The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3” in 1974.
McGreevy said “The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3,” filmed in an abandoned subway station in New York, was one of Hindman’s favorite roles. He played Mr. Brown, a stuttering criminal and one of a band that hijacks a subway train.
Hindman also had guest appearances on hit television series like “Law & Order,” “L.A. Law,” and “Spenser: For Hire.”
Born in Arizona, Hindman studied theater at the University of Arizona in Tucson. His first acting roles were in regional theater and on and off Broadway.
McGreevy said Hindman enjoyed co-starring with Tim Allen as Wilson from next door in “Home Improvement” and the fact that he could be appearing in such a popular hit show while still not being recognized when he went out to buy a newspaper.
“He loved Tim Allen. They got along like two peas in a pod … It was just a wonderful role for him. He was a very private person. He would say, ‘Well, I don’t have to worry about how I look because you can’t see my face anyway,”‘ McGreevy said.
Hindman is survived by McGreevy, his mother, a sister and brother.