Dead, Arnold Stang on December 20, 2009 at the age of 91 of pneumonia in Newton, Massachusetts, he was an American comic actor, whose comic persona was a small and bespectacled, yet brash and knowing big-city type.
By 1940, he had graduated to teenaged roles, appearing as Seymour on The Goldbergs.
Director Don Bernard hired him in October 1941 to do the commercials on the CBS program Meet Mr. Meek but decided his constantly cracking voice would hurt the commercial so he ordered scriptwriters to come up with a role for him.
He next appeared on the summer replacement show The Remarkable Miss Tuttle with Edna May Oliver in 1942 and replaced Eddie Firestone Jr. in the title role of That Brewster Boy when Firestone joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943.
Stang moved to television at the start of the Golden Age.
He had a recurring role in the TV show The School House on the DuMont Television Network in 1949.
He was a regular on Eddie Mayehoff’s short-lived situation comedy Doc Corkle in fall of 1952 as well as comedy relief on Captain Video and His Video Rangers as Clumsy McGee.
Then he made a guest appearance on Milton Berle’s Texaco Star Theater on May 12, 1953 and joined him as a regular as Francis the Stagehand the following September, often berating or heckling the big-egoed star for big laughs.
Stang also had guest roles on several variety shows of the day including The Colgate Comedy Hour.
In early 1951, Stang appeared on Henry Morgan’s Great Talent Hunt, a take-off of The Original Amateur Hour, as
“Gerard”, supposedly recruiting “talent” for Morgan.
Stang worked often as a voice actor for animated cartoons.
He is perhaps best known in this field as the voice of “T.C.,” the sly alley cat in the Hanna-Barbera series Top Cat (modeled explicitly after Sgt. Bilko in The Phil Silvers Show).
He also provided the voice for Popeye’s pal Shorty (a caricature of Stang), Herman the mouse in a number of Famous Studios cartoons, Tubby Tompkins in a few Little Lulu shorts, and Catfish on Misterjaw.
He also voiced the character Nurtle the Twurtle in the 1965 animated feature “Pinocchio in Outer Space”.
From the 1950s, the bespectacled comedian would be a steadfast TV commercial spokesman pitching such products as Delco, Chunky candy (“Chunky…what a chunk o’ chocolate!”) and Orkin (“Stop squawkin’, call Orkin!”) using his own, unique style.
As for the stage, a few of his later stints included the 1969 Broadway remake of “The Front Page,” the role of Hysterium in a production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and a part in Woody Allen’s “Play It Again, Sam”.
The owlish comedian continued acting into the 90s with small roles in such movies as Ghost Dad (1990) and Dennis the Menace (1993).
“He loved the cartoons, and he liked doing commercials, too,” Ms. Stang said of her husband. “But most of all, he loved radio.
It offered him such a span of roles.”