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Bill Daily, Major Roger Healey on I Dream of Jeannie, passes away at 91

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Sep 8, 2018

Actor Bill Daily, known for his roles as Major Roger Healey on I Dream of Jeannie and Dr. Larry Dykstra on ALF, has passed away at the age of 91, Variety has reported. He died on Sep. 4 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, according to his son J. Patrick Daily.

“He loved every sunset, he loved every meal — he just decided to be happy about everything,” said his son in an official statement to Variety

I Dream of Jeannie was Daily's most iconic show, where he had a starring role during the show's original run on NBC between 1965 and 1970. He played the best friend of the main character, Tony Nelson (Larry Hagman), an astronaut who discovers a genie in a bottle (Barbara Eden) after landing on a desert island in the South Pacific. 

Roger Healey started out as Captain Healey, a woman-obssessed man with a negative penchant for greed. In the first season, he learns of Jeannie's true nature and steals her, wishing for untold riches. When his luck at the casino starts arousing suspicion from the authorities, he returns the genie to Tony and has his wishes reversed. For the rest of the series, Healey was the only character to know of Jeannie's true identity. 

Barbara Eden is currently the last surviving main cast member of the show at age 87. Upon hearing of his Daily's death, she tweeted the following:

Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Bill Daily (born William Edward Daily Jr.) originally wanted to be a musician, playing bass with jazz musicians and often performing stand-up routines. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, going from the military's artillery unit, to its entertainment unit. 

Daily got his first major role in 1964 as the guest on a show that was very similar to I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched. He portrayed Mr. Johnson on the Season 1 episode entitled "A Vision of Sugar Plums."

After Jeannie, however, his acting career really took off with notable parts on Mary Tyler MooreLove, American Style, and, most prominently, The Bob Newhart Show.

Like Eden, Newhart also tweeted a tribute to Daily:

In 1985, Daily reprised his role of Major Healey in the made-for-TV movie I Dream of Jeannie... Fifteen Years Later. Directed by television veteran William Asher (The Twilight Zone, Bewitched), the movie centered around Jeannie fighting against her evil sister, Jeannie II. Daily would return to the role one more time in 1991 for yet another reunion film, I Still Dream of Jeannie. That same year, he played Mayer Anderson in the B-grade horror movie Alligator II: The Mutation

Daily starred in four episodes of the sci-fi comedy Alf, as Dr. Larry Dykstra, a discreet psychologist, who is brought in to solve disupites between Alf (Paul Fusco) and the main human character, Willie Tanner (Max Wright). 

Other shows that featured Daily were The Munsters Today, Bob, George & LeoThe Naked Truth, and Caroline in the City. His final role came in 2011 for the animated project Horroween, which also starred William Shatner and Donald Trump. 

After settling down in New Mexico, Daily became director of the New Mexico Film Commission in the late '80s and served as a weekly guest host on Albuquerque's  KBQI, 107.9.

He is survived by his son J. Patrick and daughter Kimberly.