James Karen (born Jacob Karnofsky; November 28, 1923 – October 23, 2018) was an American character actor of Broadway, film and television. Karen was best known for his roles in Poltergeist, The Return of the Living Dead, Invaders from Mars, and in The Pursuit of Happyness.
He was married to Susan Reed (1926–2010), the actress and folk singer, with whom he had one son, Reed, whose godfather was Buster Keaton, Karen’s good friend. Karen and Reed divorced in 1967. He married Alba Francesca in 1986.
Karen died on October 23, 2018, at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 94. The cause was cardiorespiratory arrest.
The Return of the Living Dead – James Karen in blue shirt