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Jason Robards Sr. Is Dead

Apr. 5, 1963 - Jason Robards Sr. (right with Jason Robards Jr. and Lauren Bacall), who returned to acting in 1957 after 8 years of blindness and later appeared on Broadway with his son, Jason Robards Jr., died late yesterday at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was 70 years old. Mr. Robards was stricken with a heart attack while working in his garden. His widow, the former Agnes Lynch, a one-time film actress, said he had suffered from a heart ailment in recent years but had not sought medical attention because of his religious convictions. Mr. Robards had leading roles in dozens of films in the 1920s and early ‘30s, including “Hills of Kentucky” and “Tracked by the Police,” with Rin Tin Tin, the wonder dog. By the 1940s, Mr. Robards had slipped down the ladder into minor roles. Jason Robards Jr. said recently, “When I was little, my father was one of the biggest names in Hollywood. Suddenly — and how it happened was always a great mystery — he was on the fringe. From the time I was 14, I was conscious of a sense of worry, of terrific insecurity — agents, phony talk, waiting for the phone to ring. It’s not what I consider living.” His final film was “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House,” starring Cary Grant, in 1948. The following year, he went blind and did not recover his sight until undergoing surgery in 1957. He said later that he learned many lessons during those eight dark years. “I learned that you do not have to have sight to have vision,” he said. “A blind man may have wonderful vision, and a man with 20-20 sight may have none at all.” Mr. Robards resumed his career as a member of the supporting cast of “Sugarfoot,” a television series. “I’ve heard a lot of television since 1949,” he said during his first day on the set.

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