Emmy Award-winning actor Larry Drake of "L.A. Law" has died at 66. A close friend of Drake said the actor was discovered dead Thursday in his Los Angeles-area home by another friend. Wochit


Emmy award-winning actor Larry Drake, best known as playing Benny on L.A. Law, has died at aged 66.

Drake's agent confirmed the news to USA Today on Thursday adding, "He was such a nice man and a great actor."

TMZ reported that Drake had been suffering health issues recently and was found dead in his Hollywood Hills home.

Drake starred as the mentally challenged Benny Stulwicz in L.A. Law from 1987 until the show's end in 1994, and  in 2002's LA Law: The Movie. He earned two Emmy Awards for the role.

In addition, he also starred in movies including Bean (with Rowan Atkinson), The Journey of August King (with Jason Patric), Darkman (with Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand), and Darkman II: The Return of Durant.

Whitney Smith, who worked in Drake's management office, said that the actor had struggled with weight issues. Drake used to joke about how it affected his lack of  roles.

"(Larry) was aware that overweight people are under-represented in Hollywood," said Smith. "He would say that people in casting calls acted as if they might catch the fat from him."

Drake was happy primarily teaching acting at the Stephen Book Acting Workshop, where he taught improvisational technique since 2006

"Larry was a terrific teacher. And his students adored him," said Book. "They would send me notes about how much they appreciated his classes."

Book said when he saw Drake last week, the actor was looking forward to getting a support boot off his foot following a recent medical procedure.

"Larry was always upbeat. He was a very optimistic guy," said Book. "And he was a great actor who did some wonderful work."

Smith said Drake was not bitter or discouraged about not finding strong parts in later years.

"Larry felt so blessed to have achieved what he had in his career and won those awards," says Smith. "And he was very much looking forward to the future. He had a very good outlook on life. He was a very positive man. I am so sorry it got cut short."

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