R.I.P. David Schramm, airline owner Roy Biggins on 'Wings'

The Julliard graduate and prolific stage actor was 73.

CBS Television Distribution

David Schramm was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. While taking acting classes at Western Kentucky University, his teacher, Dr. Mildred Howard, encouraged him to apply to the newly created drama department at Julliard. At first, he refused.

In an interview with NJ.com, Schramm told the story of how he got in. "She told me, 'You are going to go to school in New York' — to which I said in my Southern twang, 'Doctor, they ain't gonna take me in no school in New York.' She worked on two audition pieces with me, arranged for the flight, packed a lunch and said, 'Go!' I did and got accepted on the spot."

After Julliard, Schramm joined The Acting Company, now one of the foremost theatrical repertory groups in the country. Started in 1972, his fellow company members included Patti LuPone, Kevin Kline and David Ogden Stiers (M*A*S*H).

Schramm debuted on Broadway in Three Sisters in 1973. He continued to act on stage through the 1970s. In 1983, he played Robert McNamara in the TV mini-series Kennedy. Seven years later, he won his most well-known role on the show Wings.

Right from the beginning, he knew Wings was special. He recalled in that 2008 interview: "I knew when we started it was going to be a success. Not just because the writers had been involved with Cheers, Taxi and Mary Tyler Moore. But when we sat around the table reading the first script, and I saw this buffoon they created for me, this pompous guy who said garish things to women, and all the other rich characters, I turned to Rebecca [Schull, who played Fay Cochran] and said, 'I think we've landed in a tub of butter.'"

Schramm played airline owner Roy Biggins in all 172 episodes of the shows eight-season run. He was the rival to the main characters Joe and Brian Hackett (played by Tim Daly and Steven Weber, respectively). His Aeromass airline was the local Nantucket competitor to Sandpiper.

David Schramm passed away in New York at the age of 73.

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11 Comments

FloridaTopCat 12 months ago
Was an important cog to the Tim Daly/Steve Weber/Crystal Bernard chemistry on Wings, for the full 8 years. Loved the episode where he pretended to be Oliver Hardy!
Mac2Nite 40 months ago
LOVE LOVE LOVED him in Wings! Played the "bad" foil to the Hackett brothers to perfection! The guy you loved to hate [just like Ken Osmond as Eddie Haskell in Leave it to Beaver]. RIP big guy!
Jester11 49 months ago
With all these wonderful actors and actresses who have recently passed , not to mention the musicians and athletes who have also recently passed, Heaven must. have one HELL (no pun intended) of a show planned out!! Kinda makes me wish I was there for the filming of the pilot episode. Kinda.
Robert1959 49 months ago
R.I.P. Curly Neal saw you many times with my dad had a good time watching you guys win big all the time we will miss you.thank you for the good times Robertmeininger
MrsPhilHarris 50 months ago
There's a show Me should air.
Wiseguy MrsPhilHarris 49 months ago
Antenna TV has the rights.
MrsPhilHarris Wiseguy 49 months ago
Thanks for that.
PortelaJ 50 months ago
R.I.P. Mr. Schramm....but did I miss something in the title that brought me here “Another M*A*S*H story” ??
I don’t recall ever seeing him in the 4077th.

Stay safe everyone.
Wiseguy PortelaJ 49 months ago
David Ogden Stiers and M*A*S*H are referenced.
tenevoyprizrak 50 months ago
Wings...how appropriate.
Yes, you used to be able to stream it here but now it's on "another network"!
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