There is some unwritten rule that says that celebrities die in threes, but last week (prior to the death of Eddie Albert) we lost four incredible voice talents.
Frank Gorshin died on May 17th in Burbank, California of lung cancer, emphysema and pneumonia. Most people knew Mr. Gorshin for his Emmy-nominated roles as the Riddler on the “Batman” TV series, and as Commissioner Bele in the very powerful “STAR TREK” episode “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” (he was the alien who had one side of his face painted black and the other side painted white). Mr. Gorshin was also a very talented impressionist, headlining in Las Vegas. He recently used his talents to play George Burns (with only a little makeup and no prosthetics) on Broadway in the one-man show “Say Goodnight Gracie”. He has also voiced many animated characters including Deano Rat in “Firedog”, Hugo Strange in “The Batman”, Daffy Duck in “Superior Duck”, and Yosemite Sam in “From Hare to Eternity”.
Henry Corden died may 19th in Los Angeles, California of emphysema.
Mr. Corden took over as the voice of Fred Flintstone when the original voice, Alan Reed, died in 1977 (Reed had had the role since the show first aired in 1960). Mr. Corden began voice acting in the 1960′s doing parts in Hanna-Barbera shows like “Jonny Quest,” “Josie and the Pussycats” and “The New Tom & Jerry Show.” He also played characters in “Challenge of the GoBots”, “Mister T”, “The All-New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show” “Here Comes Garfield”, “The Smurfs”, “Fangface and Fangpuss”, “Heathcliff”, “Thundarr the Barbarian”, “The Challenge of the Super Friends”, “Dynomutt, Dog Wonder”, “Return to the Planet of the Apes”, “These Are the Days”, “Yogi’s Gang”, “The Harlem Globetrotters”, “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour”, “The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show”, and “The Jetsons”. He can most recently be heard on cereal commercials as Fred Flintstone yelling “Barney, my Pebbles!”
Howard Morris died on May 21st in Los Angeles, California of a heart ailment. Mr. Morris is best remembered for playing Ernest T. Bass on “The Andy Griffith Show”. Before that he was part of a comedy sketch group including Carl Reiner and Imogene Coca and did several TV variety shows, including “Admiral Broadway Review,” “Your Show of Shows” and “Caesar’s Hour.” After his work on “The Andy Griffith Show” (as an actor and director), Mr. Morris was a regular voice in “Hanna-Barbera” cartoons from the 60′s until present day where he voiced many characters such as Atom Ant in “The Atom Ant Show”. He would also voice Beetle Bailey and General Halftrack in “Beetle Bailey and His Friends,” and Jughead Jones and Big Moose Mason in “The Archie Show”. In 1972, he directed some McDonaldland commercials and was the voice of the Hamburglar. Mr. Morris was also the voice of the Qantas koala.
Thurl Ravenscroft died May 22nd in Fullerton, California of prostate cancer. In 1952, Mr. Ravenscroft’s voice appeared in the first Frosted Flakes commercial as Tony the Tiger. Mr. Ravenscroft also did voices for Disney Animated Classics like “Cinderella”, “The Jungle Book,” “Mary Poppins”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “Lady and the Tramp”. He sang “You’re a Mean One, Mister Grinch” in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. Mr. Ravenscroft lent his voice to characters on several rides and attractions at Disneyland, including the Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, the Enchanted Tiki Room, the Mark Twain River Boat, Buff – the buffalo head in the Country Bear Jamboree, the Disneyland Railroad, It’s a Small World, and the Haunted Mansion.
Even though I say goodnight to you gentlemen, your voices will live on forever.
To paraphrase Tony the Tiger, “They’re Great”.