Dabney Coleman: Where to Stream His Best Movies and TV Shows

Dabney Coleman

Coleman's fictional figures often exhibited an unfriendly attitude that may remind one of an unpleasant manager or dissatisfied client.

Dabney Coleman - Figure 1
Photo The New York Times

On the morning of May 18, 2024 at 5:05 a.m. Eastern Time, an event occurred.

On Thursday, the experienced performer Dabney Coleman passed away at the age of 92. Coleman started his career as an actor in the 1960s when he was in his 30s. He always portrayed characters that were cranky and older than their age, making him recognizable from the get-go.

Throughout his professional life, Coleman was primarily cast in minor parts, unless he was chosen to play a starring character. His usual duty involved appearing briefly in the production and presenting an ominous, yet funny, demeanor. As an actor, he always generated the exact same negative energy that one would encounter from either an abusive supervisor or an irritated consumer.

Coleman's most acclaimed TV projects, such as the limited sitcoms "Buffalo Bill" and "The Slap Maxwell Story", as well as the soap opera satire "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman", cannot be streamed at present. Despite appearing in numerous excellent films and television series, his name often appeared low on the list of credits. However, we have compiled a list of Coleman's seven most remarkable and noteworthy performances, which display his commanding on-screen presence and brilliant comedic timing.

"9 To 5" - 1980's Workplace Comedy

Coleman became more successful in the 1980s after being in the entertainment industry for almost 20 years. He was selected for roles that allowed him to be on screen for a longer duration. His big moment came in a popular comedy movie in which Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton acted as secretaries who aimed to defeat sexism in their company by holding their boss captive. The role Coleman played was that of an unpleasant executive who disrespected women, especially the three employees in the movie. His character was so unpleasant that viewers eagerly awaited his downfall.

Stream it on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV or YouTube by renting or purchasing it.

Golden Pond: A 1981 Classic

Coleman reunited with Jane Fonda the following year to star in "On Golden Pond," a movie adaptation of Ernest Thompson's play. Fonda had a personal connection to the project because she wanted to work with her aging father, Henry Fonda. Although Coleman's role in the film was brief, he portrayed Bill, the fiancé of Jane Fonda's character Chelsea, who is the estranged daughter of Norman, played by Henry Fonda. Bill stands up to Norman's passive-aggressive attitude, but he is not portrayed as the bad guy. Instead, Bill is a good man who refuses to be pushed around and shines a positive light on Coleman's character.

You can watch it on Peacock or Tubi by streaming it, or you can opt to rent or purchase it via Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play or YouTube.

This blog talks about a popular comedy movie that addresses the issue of sexism within an American cultural institution. The movie's main character, played by Coleman, is not portrayed as the biggest misogynist in the room which is a refreshing change. Coleman plays Ron, a director for a soap opera who is trying to bring out the best in his new star, played by Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman's character, Dorothy Michaels, is actually a struggling theater actor named Michael Dorsey posing as a woman and dealing with sexual harassment from his co-star, John Van Horn, played by George Gaynes. Coleman's character adds an element of seriousness to the film with his no-nonsense attitude and sarcastic comments. Though his role is just one part of the film's intricate comedic rhythm, it is crucial. Coleman's performance is top-notch, and he brings precision and professionalism to his character.

You can either rent it or purchase it on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play or YouTube.

In some of Coleman's acting roles, he played the part of a mean character, but in others he portrayed a bossy authority figure. One of his most impressive performances was in a thriller about the Cold War. Coleman played Dr. John McKittrick, an engineer whose job it was to watch for missile attacks from the Soviet Union. When a curious teenager (played by Matthew Broderick) accidentally triggered a simulated nuclear war that threatened to become a global catastrophe, McKittrick's lack of trust in the teenager might have made things worse. Coleman's gruff demeanor perfectly captured the image of a well-meaning bureaucrat who might be too slow to make changes to prevent a disaster.

Watch it on Max or choose to rent or purchase it from Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, or YouTube.

"Columbo: Killing A Rock Star"

Coleman made his debut on “Columbo” in 1973, in the episode titled “Double Shock,” portraying a detective in Los Angeles with only a limited number of appearances. Nevertheless, by 1991, he had risen to prominence and was one of the program’s guest villains, playing the role of a deceitful lawyer who kills his unfaithful girlfriend and incriminates her lover. Coleman's character is one of the few “Columbo” killers that are easily annoyed by the tenacity of the disheveled lieutenant (Peter Falk), making his ingenious alibi being slowly exposed even more enjoyable.

Watch it on Peacock or Tubi.

Towards the end of his profession, Coleman was cast in a highly desirable part in a drama aired on CBS. He portrayed a well-regarded lawyer attempting to mend his relationship with his rebellious son, Nick (Simon Baker). Nick had to work with children as part of his community service after being convicted of a drug-related offense. Coleman's role was intricate, giving him the chance to display his compassionate side while also having numerous opportunities to issue commands and make caustic comments.

Watch it on Paramount+ and acquire it on Amazon Prime Video or Apple TV.

Coleman's appearance on the HBO crime show marked another great achievement towards the end of his career. He guest-starred in the first two seasons, playing the character Commodore Louis Kaestner, a powerful businessperson and politician in early 20th century Atlantic City. Though ageing and weak, the Commodore holds onto his control over the city even as his followers struggle for power during the Prohibition era. Coleman portrays a man who remains formidable and relies on the memory of his numerous achievements and the many people he has harmed in order to maintain his control. The viewers of "Boardwalk Empire" did not need to see the Commodore in his prime to understand why the show's antiheroes were wary of him. Even towards the end of his career, Coleman captivated his audience and made them uneasy.

Watch it on Max while you can also purchase it on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, or Google Play.

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