Robert Mandan, the womanizing Chester Tate from the 70's sitcom ‘Soap’, dies at 86

Robert Mandan, well known for his role as Chester Tate passed away on April 29 at the age of 86 after prolonged suffering from an undisclosed illness.


                            Robert Mandan, the womanizing Chester Tate from the 70's sitcom ‘Soap’, dies at 86

The veteran TV actor, Robert Mandan who played the role of Chester Tate on the ABC serial spoof 'Soap' died at the age of 86. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mandan passed away in Los Angeles on April 29 after suffering from prolonged, undisclosed illness. He was survived by his wife, Sherry Dixon.

Mandan was a native of Clever, Missouri. He grew up in Southern California and graduated from Pomona College with a major in theatre. He got his break in theater when veteran actor Edward Arnold insisted him to star alongside him in All My Sons in Palm Springs.

Mandan made his debut on Broadway in 1956 in Speaking of Murder, directed by Delbert Mann. He also worked with Lauran Bacall in the 1970 production of the Betty Comden Adolph Green musical Applause.

The premiere of 'Jay Johnson: The Two And Only' - After Party
The premiere of 'Jay Johnson: The Two And Only' - After Party

Mandan was known for playing white-collared characters during his career. The veteran TV actor started off with soap operas like From These Roots (1959-1961), The Edge of Night (1963), The Doctors (1963) and Search for Tomorrow (1966-1970). He also played the role of a wealthy investment banker James Bradford at the end of ABC’s Three’s Company and on its spin-off Three’s a Crowd in 1984-85.

In the 70's sitcom called Soap, he was a philandering husband to Katherine Helmond’s Jessica from 1977-1981. The series aired for a total of four seasons and even spawned a spinoff called Benson starring the late Robert Guillaume. It was one of his most popular roles.

After working together in Soap, Mandan and Helmond teamed up for two episodes of Who’s the Boss? And for a 2002 production of A Twilight Romance staged at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. He then returned to the world of soap opera with Santa Barbara, Days of our Lives and General Hospital.

He also played the role of the bombastic Col. Lawrence Fielding in Private Benjamin, which was a CBS adaption from 1981-83 after Soap. In 1986, he was in The Facts of Life as Dr. Bruce Gaines in which he was a member of the Peace Corps.

His other noteworthy works include playing a smarmy attorney in All in the Family and Bea Arthur’s homosexual friend on Maude. He was also seen in Sanford and Son, Barney Miller, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Married…With Children.

He entered the big screen playing roles like a senator in the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) and featured in other movies like Hickey & Boggs (1972), MacArthur (1977) and as a principal in Zapped! (1982).