OMAHA, Neb. -- John Beasley, the veteran character actor who played a kindly school bus driver on the TV drama “Everwood” and appeared in dozens of films dating back to the 1980s, has died. He was 79.
Beasley died Tuesday after a “brief and unexpected illness” at a hospital in his hometown of Omaha, his manager, Don Spradlin, said.
Beasley played an assistant coach in the 1993 football film “Rudy” and a retired preacher in 1997's “The Apostle,” co-starring and directed by Robert Duvall.
On TV, Beasley was the father of Cedric the Entertainer in the TV Land comedy “The Soul Man” and later starred for four seasons alongside Treat Williams in The WB's “Everwood.”
Most recently, Beasley had small parts in the Showtime drama “Your Honor,” with Bryan Cranston, and “The Mandalorian,” a Star Wars offshoot on Disney+.
For more than a dozen years, he ran the John Beasley Theater and Workshop in Omaha, where he was born in 1943.
“To be a working artist is the highest calling, and I appreciate wherever it takes me,” Beasley told the publication American Theatre last year.
He is survived by Judy, his wife of 58 years; two sons, Michael and Tyrone; and six grandchildren, including Malik Beasley, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The NBA veteran paid tribute to his grandfather on Instagram.
“To the man who put the Beasleys on the map,” he wrote.