NEW YORK (   — Veteran character actor Matthew Cowles has died at the age of 69.

An acclaimed stage actor, he is probably best known for playing blustery and rather buffoonish pimp Billy Clyde Tuggle on ABC’s now defunct “All My Children.”

As the outlandish pimp, he made an art out of comic relief work in the sometimes overly-dramatic world of daytime TV serials. He was nominated for Emmys twice for the role.

“All My Children” fans loved to loathe him and he played the part on-and-off over several decades. He had no problem chewing the scenery. His hooker, Estelle – for example – was “Essssssssss-telle” the way he said it.

He was married briefly to actress Kathleen Dezina who played Estelle.

No cause of death was given.

The Hollywood Reporter said Cowles was found dead Thursday.

While he excelled at playing bumpkins and hicks, Cowles was a native New Yorker.

Cowles’ other credits include “Oz,” “Nurse Betty,” “Kojak,” “Shutter Island” and “Life on Mars.”

The actor married “Good Wife” star Christine Baranski in 1983. The couple has two daughters – Isabel born in 1984 and Lily born in 1987.


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