Three's Company

Norman Fell

Stanley Roper

This Philadelphia native served in the Air Force as a tail gunner during WWII. After returning from the war, Fell attended Temple University where he received a B.A. in Drama. During the early 1950s, he kept busy with theater roles in Philly and New York where he got involved in nascent television. Much of early television featured broadcasts of live plays, which made it easy for stage actors like Fell to make the transition. Early in his career, Fell had roles in productions featured on several of these playhouse series including, The Goodyear Playhouse (1954), Studio One (1954), and The Philco Television Playhouse (1954). His first recurring role in a TV series was as Mike on Joe & Mabel (1955). In 1958, Fell made the move to Hollywood to pursue a career in film, where he appeared in over 30 feature films including classic titles like Inherit the Wind (1960), Oceans Eleven (1960). It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World (1963), The Killers (1964), and The Graduate (1967). On the small screen, Fell made a name for himself playing heavies and tough guys, and in 1976, he won a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Smitty on ground-breaking mini-series, Rich Man, Poor Man. But it was as uptight landlord Stanley Roper on Three's Company (1977-1984), and spin-off The Ropers (1979), that Fell gained his greatest fame. Stuffy Stanley was popular with the viewers, particularly when he grinned smugly into the camera after delivering a pithy line to Jack (John Ritter), or his sex-starved wife Helen (Audra Lindley). After the Three's Company era, Fell continued to take TV and film roles, even making an appearance on an episode of Ritter's sitcom, Hooperman (1989). Twice married, Fell passed away from cancer in 1998. He was 74.

Character Bio

Owner of the Santa Monica building where the roommates live, Stanley likes his rules followed and the rent paid on time. He wears the pants in the family, and isn't interested in any new-fangled ideas, like unmarried men and women living together. He's a Lawrence Welk kind of guy, living in a K.C. and the Sunshine Band kind of world, so it's safe to say that he's not all that comfortable with the roommate situation upstairs. And he's definitely not comfortable with Jack being gay. But as long as the rent's paid and the noise and parties are kept to a minimum, he can learn to live with it. Too bad he can't seem to find a way to live in peace with his doting wife, Helen.