John Beasley, the veteran actor who played a mild-mannered school bus driver on the TV series Everwood and appeared in dozens of films since the 1980s, has died at age 79.

Beasley died Tuesday after a "brief and unexpected illness" at a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, his hometown, according to his manager, Don Spradlin. The actor played an assistant coach in the 1993 football film Rudy and a retired preacher in 1997's The Apostle, co-starring and directed by Robert Duvall.

On television, Beasley was the father of Cedric the Entertainer on the TV sitcom Land The Soul Man and later starred for four seasons alongside Treat Williams in The WB's Everwood. Most recently, Beasley had small roles in the Showtime drama Your Honor, with Bryan Cranston, and in The Mandalorian, a spin-off of Star Wars on Disney+.

For more than 12 years he directed the John Beasley Theater and Workshop in Omaha, where he was born in 1943. "Being a working artist is the highest calling," Beasley told American Theatre last year.

Beasly had been married for 58 years to his wife Judy. He had two sons, Michael and Tyrone; and six grandchildren, including Malik Beasley, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. "To the man who put the Beasleys on the map," the NBA player wrote on Instagram.

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