A stage and screen actor of stern voice and buttoned-up appearance, Philip Ober was often cast to embody authority and stringency -- sometimes in chaotic surroundings. After giving up an early career in magazine advertising, Ober became a regular on the Broadway stage of the 30s and 40s, before transferring to film and television in the 1950s. He appeared in some of America's best-loved television comedies, including "I Love Lucy" -- in which his second wife, Vivian Vance, had a recurring role -- and "I Dream of Jeannie". Film buffs, however, will likely recall Ober best for small but key roles in a couple of classics. In Hitchcock's "North by Northwest", he appears as the ill-fated Lester Townsend, while in Fred Zinnemann's "From Here to Eternity", he played the nasty army captain whose wife falls so stormily for Burt Lancaster's burly sergeant. Ober appeared with Lancaster again in "Elmer Gantry", in 1960. After divorcing Vivian Vance -- to whom he had a turbulent and reputedly violent marriage -- Ober wed Jane Westover. Upon retiring from acting, he entered the US diplomatic service. He was working at the US consulate in Mexico City at the time of his death from a heart attack in 1982.