|Birthname||Bernard Aloysius Kiernan Hughes|
|Date of birth||July 16, 1915|
|Place of birth||Bedford Hills, New York, USA|
|Date of death||July 11, 2006|
|Place of death||New York City, New York, USA|
|Awards||Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor - Drama Series
Hughes was born in Bedford Hills, New York, the son of Irish immigrants Madge (née Kiernan) and Owen Hughes. He attended La Salle Academy and Manhattan College in New York City. Hughes was married to actress Helen Stenborg. They married on April 19, 1950, and remained married until his death. Hughes was five days shy of his ninety-first birthday when he died. The Hugheses had two children, Tony Award-winning theatre director Doug and daughter Laura.
Hughes changed the "e" in his first name to an "a" to help his acting career on the advice of a numerologist. Through high school and college, Hughes worked a series of odd jobs, including a stint as a dockworker and as a salesman at Macy's. He auditioned for the Shakespeare Fellowship Repertory company in New York City on the advice of a friend, and ended up joining the company for two years.
Hughes played more than 400 theatre roles, including the one for which he was perhaps most famous, in Hugh Leonard's Da. He won Broadway's 1978 Tony Award as Best Actor for his portrayal of the title role; in 1988 he recreated the role for the film Da.
On screen, he appeared in the film transcription of Hamlet (1964), Midnight Cowboy (1969) (the only X-rated film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture), and such films as Cold Turkey (1971) The Hospital (1971), Oh, God! (1977), First Monday in October (1981), TRON (1982), The Lost Boys (1987), and Doc Hollywood (1991). He also played the old man who gave a ride to Felix and Oscar on The Odd Couple II (1998) and was featured in The Fantasticks (2000).
Hughes appeared on TV in such series as Naked City, The Secret Storm, Blossom and Homicide: Life on the Street. In 1973, he had a notable recurring role on All in the Family as a Roman Catholic priest. He won an Emmy for his portrayal of a senile judge on Lou Grant. Hughes made three appearances in The Bob Newhart Show as the father of Dr. Robert Hartley. He was the central character in three sitcoms: Doc, which ran on CBS from 1975–77, where he played a physician; Mr. Merlin, in which he played Merlin, a magician mentoring a 20th-century teenager; and The Cavanaughs, co-starring Christine Ebersole, where he played the family patriarch. Hughes sang Danny Boy on one episode. He made a memorable appearance as The King in the PBS mini-series Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Hughes also made a number of recurring appearances on daytime dramas, including Guiding Light and As the World Turns, as well as a brief appearance in an early episode of Dark Shadows. He also did voice-overs for television commercials advertising Kix cereal.