Dane Witherspoon Dies: 'Santa Barbara' Star, Robin Wright's Ex Was 56

Tuesday, 01 Apr 2014 01:51 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Dane Witherspoon, former star of the soap opera "Santa Barbara" and the first husband of actress Robin Wright, died last week. He was 56.

A Martinez, who co-starred with Witherspoon on "Santa Barbara" in 1984, announced the actor's passing on Facebook, saying that Witherspoon died on March 29, according to Soap Opera Digest.

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"People who watched Santa Barbara in its earliest days will remember him as Joe Perkins, a character to which he brought a quiet grace and deep, bittersweet sense of soul," Martinez said on Facebook. "He was a singular, standup guy, loved and admired by many. My first thought, upon meeting him in 1984: 'This is the most beautiful man I've ever seen.' That beauty went all the way to his core."

Witherspoon's cause of death has not yet been released, reported Us Weekly.

"Dane was a most compelling man, and it must have been very hard on him to drift away from the path he first imagined," Martinez said on Facebook. "We'd do well to hold his kin in our thoughts, and imagine them finding a way to make the most of the lessons of his life."

The website We Love Soaps reported that Witherspoon was part of the original "Santa Barbara" cast but was fired shortly after the show began.

"From the day the show started I worked 16 hours a day almost every day," Witherspoon said in a 1985 interview, according to We Love Soaps. "I was exhausted all the time. I went to Mexico for six months to recuperate. I had to mend myself."

He would go on to play in the CBS soap "Capitol" and make appearances on "The Waltons," "Eight is Enough," along with the television movies "Chameleon" and "Asteroid," wrote We Love Soaps.

Witherspoon and Wright were married from 1986 to 1988, and he later married actress Tracy K. Shaffer, from "Trading Places." They were divorced in 2011, according to Us Weekly.

Wright, 47, would go on to marry Oscar-winner Sean Penn 10 years later. In January, she announced in January her engagement to Ben Foster.

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