Typecasting may have been his fate, but Ted Bessell enjoyed a second career as a successful television director whose life was prematurely cut short by health issues. Bessell was a classical music prodigy who played a recital at Carnegie Hall when he was only 12. He made his first televised appearance on a 1955 episode of the CBS police drama "The Man Behind the Badge." By the early 1960s, Bessell was landing small feature film roles in two 1961 movies, "The Outsider" and "Lover Come Back." Success came when he was hired to play college student Thomas A. "Tom-Tom" DeWitt on the 1962 NBC dramedy "It's a Man's World." Semi-recurring roles on "The Bill Dana Show" and "Gomer Pyle, United StatesM.C." preceded the part Bessell later claimed "took away the heart of me." That role would be as high-strung Donald Hollinger, Marlo Thomas's long-suffering beau in the 1966 proto-feminist sitcom, "That Girl." Bessell played the part for the show's entire five-year run. In the ensuing years, he was cast in a number of short-lived series, including 1972's wretched "Me and the Chimp" (which found Bessell sharing equal billing with a primate) and as the husband of female president Patty Duke in 1985's "Hail to the Chief." By the late 1980s, he'd started directing episodes of "The Tracy Ullman Show," eventually sharing a 1989 Emmy. Ted Bessell died from an aortic aneurysm in Los Angeles at the age of 61.