The renowned Hollywood dialect coach who helped Forest Whitaker
hone his accent as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King Of Scotland
Character actor and language expert Robert Easton
passed away from natural causes at his home in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles last Friday at the age of 81.
Easton began his career as an actor and landed roles on TV shows such as The Munsters
, Get Smart
and The Adventures of Superman
and in films like 1961's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
But he became famed for his skills as a phoneticist and was regularly referred to as the Henry Higgins of Hollywood, in reference to the strict speech tutor in My Fair Lady
As a dialect coach, Easton taught actors including Arnold Schwarzenegger
, Liam Neeson
, Sir Ben Kingsley
and Anne Hathaway
, while his work on 2006's The Last King of Scotland
landed Whitaker the Oscar for Best Actor.
Easton continued to work right up until his death, even recording a speech tape for John Travolta
to use for an upcoming project.
His daughter Heather Woodruff
Perry tells the Los Angeles Times, "A month ago, he did an entire script on tape for John Travolta
Paying tribute to the veteran, Robert Duvall
, who worked with Easton on Gods and Generals
in 2003, says, "They (film producers) said, 'We want Virginia accents'. Bob said, 'Which one? There are 12 distinct accents, from the Piedmont to the ocean.' He knew them all.
"He was a wonderful man, a very unique personality, and a master at his craft."