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By Grant Hermanson

Steve Landesberg , best known for his role as police detective Arthur Dietrich on the TV sitcom Barney Miller, has died of cancer.  Steve played what might have been the first openly atheist character on TV (who wasn't some kind of villain).
 
Upon learning that Dietrich was an atheist, Barney asks, somewhat urgently "So suppose you die and find yourself standing in front of the pearly gates, ready to be judged?"  Dietrich just looks at him blankly and says "Oops."
    
Landsberg died on December 20th. He was 74 years old.

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