A veteran of the stage, TV and film, Atterbury was one of the most respected character actors in Hollywood from the early 1950s through the 80s. His height and gaunt features made him a natural for Westerns in his younger days, but he served just as well in thrillers, film noirs, horror quickies and cop movies. In his later years, his feisty yet friendly manner made Atterbury a favorite choice for colorful grandfather roles. He appeared in more than 75 features and 300 TV episodes in the course of his career. One of Atterbury's best-remembered appearances was in "North by Northwest", where he plays the weathered-looking, taciturn man who dryly observes to Cary Grant that "That plane's dusting crops where there ain't no crops," setting the stage for one of Hitchcock's most celebrated set pieces.