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Orson Bean

Orson Bean, a sage on the Geffen stage

Orson Bean, a sage on the Geffen stage

Orson Bean never met a leading lady quite like Jayne Mansfield.

The voluptuous blond sex symbol was the toast of Broadway in the comedy "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" in 1955 and 1956.

"It was interesting," recalled Bean, breaking into a wide grin remembering "Rock Hunter," which also featured Walter Matthau and Martin Gabel, who were not happy that newcomer Mansfield was getting the lion's share of attention for the comedy.

"She liked me," Bean said. "She would hear me going by her dressing room and she'd said 'Orsie.'"

Bean would walk into the dressing room where, invariably, she would be sitting stark naked,...