Saturday, 18 January 2014
Dave Madden R.I.P.
Dave Madden was born on 17 December 1931 in Sarnia, Ontario. His early years were spent in Port Huron, Michigan. Following his father's death he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was about 8 years old at the time. He attended Indiana State Teachers College for one semester before dropping out to enlist in the United States Air Force. Following his service in the Air Force, Mr. Madden attended the University of Miami from which he graduated with a degree in communications in 1959.
Dave Madden began his entertainment career as a nightclub comic. He made his television debut in that capacity on The Merv Griffin Show in 1962. He made four appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and also appeared on The Hollywood Palace and The Joey Bishop Show. He made his acting debut as a regular on the short lived sitcom Camp Runamuck in 1965. He was a regular on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In and guest starred on Bewitched. It was in 1970 that The Partridge Family debuted. Dave Madden played the Partridges' grumpy manager Reuben Kinkaid, who was always at odds with middle son Danny Partridge (played by Danny Bonaduce). The show ran for four years.
Starting in 1978 he joined the cast of Alice, playing Earl Hicks, a regular customer at Mel's Diner. He stayed with the show until it went off the air in 1985. In the Seventies he also guest starred on such shows as Love, American Style; Happy Days; Starsky and Hutch; Barney Miller; The Love Boat; Flying High; and Fantasy Island. He appeared in the television reunion movie More Wild Wild West. He provided the voice of Ram in the animated adaptation of Charlotte's Web (1973) and appeared in the film Eat My Dust (1976).
In the Eighties he guest starred on The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, Still the Beaver, and Life with Lucy. In the Nineties he did the opening narration for the show Herman's Head. He guest starred on the shows The Ben Stiller Show, Married with Children, Boy Meets World, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. He also did many commercial voiceovers later in his career.
There can be little doubt that Dave Madden had a gift for creating memorable sitcom characters. According to the credits, at least, Shirley Jones and David Cassidy were supposed to be the stars of The Partridge Family. In truth, however, one has to suspect that the majority of viewers tuned into the show each week to see the verbal sparring between Dave Madden as Reuben Kinkaid and Danny Bonaduce as Danny Partridge. Arguably it was this that made the show. He was also memorable as Earl Hicks on Alice. Earl was a basketball coach and also a bit of a know it all, even offering legal advice to Mel in one episode. Although he was not one of the stars of the show, Dave Madden definitely played one of the show's most memorable characters. Few actors are fortunate enough to be a regular on one hit show. Such was Dave Madden's talent that he was a regular on two shows and guest starred on many others.