A fixture on North Texas stages, the actor died Sunday from a rare case of pancreatic cancer that he’d battled for more than two years. Spencer was probably best known for his comic work — notably as Lt. Foster, Harry Hunsicker’s angry nemesis in the Pegasus Theatre’s “black and white” shows. But he was also very capable with drama, including Kitchen Dog’s Man from Nebraska (which he performed while being treated).
But to almost any serious moviegoer, Spencer will be remembered fondly as the nervous gas station attendant in Robocop — his single scene is a minor classic of terrified silent comedy.
According to Spencer’s wife, Patty Lewis (on her CaringBridge page — registration required), Spencer died peacefully at home, holding her hand. The memorial service will probably be held in a few weeks at Theatre 3 — where Spencer appeared in Arcadia — but she said the details haven’t been worked out yet. She requests no flowers or plants; donations may be sent in Spencer’s name to The Nature Conservancy and to the Lakewood Montessori School.
Added note: The couple was featured in a 2003 Newsweek cover story about moms who work full-time, dads who don’t — which happened for a time after the birth of their son, Chase.