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Actor James Stacy, who is remembered for his role on CBS 1968-71 western “Lancer,” died yesterday in Ventura, California. He was 80.
Born Maurice William Elias on December 23, 1936 in Los Angeles, Stacy made his film debut in “Sayonara” in 1957, and his television premiere in drama “Highway Patrol” in that same year. He had a recurring role as “Fred” in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet from 1958 to 1964 and made early guest appearances in series like “Gunsmoke,” “Hazel,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “Perry Mason,” “Have Gun Will Travel” and “Combat!” 1966 he appeared in the final episode of “Perry Mason.”
On September 27, 1973, Stacy and a female companion were struck by a drunk driver while riding a motorcycle. She died and he lost his left arm and leg.
After his recovery, Stacy appeared in roles created to accommodate his handicap. His comeback film was the 1975 Kirk Douglas Western “Posse,” which Douglas had written for him. In 1977, he starred in the TV movie “Just a Little Inconvenience,” playing a double-amputee Vietnam veteran and earning him his first Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama or Comedy Special. In 1980, Stacy starred in and produced the TV movie, “My Kidnapper, My Love.” His brother, Louie Elias, a character actor and stuntman, wrote the screenplay to accommodate Stacy’s handicap.
Other television appearances included “Hotel,” “Cagney & Lacey” (for which he was nominated for a second Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series), and “Highway to Heaven.” His last TV role was in five episodes of CBS crime drama “Wiseguy” in 1990.
In November 1995, Stacy pleaded no contest to a charge of molesting an 11-year-old girl. On December 7, 1995, he failed to appear for sentencing in Ventura County Superior Court and was arrested the next day in a Honolulu, Hawaii hospital after having fled California. He attempted suicide by jumping off a cliff. After recovering, Stacy waived extradition and returned to California. On March 5, 1996, he received a six-year prison sentence. He served his sentence at the California Institution for Men at Chino.
Stacy is survived by his partner Antigoni Tsamparlis; daughter Heather Elias; grandson Luk Maxwell; great-grandson Lester James Maxwell; brother Louie; and sister Carolyn.