David Schramm, Blustery Comic Foil in ‘Wings,’ Dies at 73


And then, in 1990, came “Wings.” Mr. Schramm was cast as Roy Biggins, whose tiny airline shared a terminal on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts with one owned by two brothers, played by Tim Daly and Steven Weber. The cast also included Thomas Haden Church, Rebecca Schull and Crystal Bernard; Tony Shalhoub and Amy Yasbeck joined the ensemble later. The show ran for 172 episodes across seven seasons, a mainstay of the NBC schedule.

Biggins was a blustery, obnoxious fellow, who often played against Mr. Weber’s laid-back character. On Twitter, Mr. Weber remembered the skill that Mr. Schramm had brought to the role.

“His timing was never less than perfect,” Mr. Weber said, “his professionalism was always on display.”

David Schramm was born on Aug. 14, 1946, in Louisville, Ky. In school he won trophies for public speaking, and at 17 he was an apprentice at the Actors Theater of Louisville.

“I got $25 a week to clean the toilets and be in a play,” he told The Times of Trenton, N.J., in 2008, when he was in a production of Conor McPherson’s “The Seafarer” at the George Street Playhouse in nearby New Brunswick. “My big line in my very first one was, ‘I’m the station master, madam,’ and on opening night I said, ‘I’m the station madam, master.’ People must have been thinking, ‘Get this kid off the stage.’”

He kept at it, though, taking acting classes at Western Kentucky University, where a speech and theater professor, Mildred Howard, read about the new drama division starting at Juilliard and urged him to try out.

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