Thursday, 7 January 2016

Pat Harrington Jr. Passes On

Actor and voice artist Pat Harrington Jr., who guest starred frequently on TV shows in the Sixties, voiced The Inspector in the DePatie-Freleng theatrical cartoon series of the same name, and played Schneider on the sitcom One Day at a Time, died on January 6 2016 at the age of 86.  He had been in declining health and was suffering from Alzheimer's.

Pat Harrington Jr. was born on August 13 1929 in New York City. His father, Daniel Patrick Harrington Sr., had been an actor on vaudeville and on Broadway. His parents did not particularly want him to pursue a career in entertainment, knowing all too well its uncertainty. He attended the La Salle Military Academy on Long Island and received a bachelor's degree in philosophy and government as well as a master's degree in political philosophy from Fordham University in New York City.

Pat Harrington Jr. made his television debut on an episode of The Ford Theatre Hour in 1949.  He later appeared on Toast of the Town (later known as The Ed Sullivan Show) in 1952 and episodes of The Plymouth Playhouse and The Motorola Television Hour in 1953. During the Korean War he served in the United States Air Force. After being demobilised he worked as an advertising salesman for NBC. It was during this period that he created the character of  Italian immigrant Guido Panzini for use as a sales tool for clients. It was Jonathan Winters who overheard him playing Guido Panzini in the bar of the New York City restaurant Toots Shor's. This led to several more appearances on television.

In the late Fifties Pat Harrington Jr. appeared on The Steve Allen Plymouth Show, The Tonight Show, The Jack Paar Show, and the game show Laugh-Line. He guest starred on The Elgin Hour, The Alcoa Hour, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He was a regular on The Danny Thomas Show (AKA Make Room for Daddy) during the 1959-1960 season.

In the Sixties Pat Harrington Jr. continue to appear frequently as a performer on talk shows, variety shows, and game shows. He appeared on such shows as The Jackie Gleason Show, The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, The Spike Jones Show, Password, and The Steve Allen Show. He was a regular on The Jack Paar Show and the host of the game show Stump the Stars. He guest starred on such shows as Grindl, Kentucky Jones, The Littlest Hobo, Kentucky Jones, The Bing Crosby Show, Mr. Novak, The Lucy Show, The MunstersMcHale's Navy, F Troop,The Beverly Hillbillies, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Run For Your Life, and The Flying Nun. He also voiced Speedy in the "Teen Titans" segment  and The Atom in the "Justice League of America" segment of the Saturday morning cartoon The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure. During the Sixties he appeared in such films as The Wheeler Dealers (1963); Move Over, Darling (1963); Easy Come, Easy Go (1967); 2000 Years Later (1969); and The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969). From 1965 to 1969 he provided the voice of The Inspector and Sergeant Deux-Deux in DePatie-Freleng's series of "The Inspector" theatrical animated shorts.

In the Seventies Pat Harrington Jr. played building superintendent Dwayne Schneider on the sitcom One Day at a Time. Schneider became one of the main characters on the show, and possibly the most popular. Pat Harrington Jr. won an Emmy for the role. He also wrote several episodes of One Day at a Time. Mr. Harrington was also a regular on the legal drama Owen Marshall, Counsellor at Law. He guest starred on such shows as The New Andy Griffith Show, Marcus Welby M.D., Nanny and the Professor, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Rookies, The Partridge Family, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Banacek, Columbo, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, McMillan & Wife, Ellery Queen, and The Love Boat. He provided voices on the animated TV shows Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, The New Scooby-Doo Movies, and Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels. He appeared in the films Every Little Crook and Nanny (1972) and The Candidate (1972).

In the Eighties Pat Harrington Jr. guest starred on the shows The Love Boat, Glitter, Who's the Boss, Comedy Factory, Crazy Like a Fox, Hotel, Duet, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, Sydney and Murder, She Wrote.  In the Nineties he provided voices for the Saturday morning cartoon Yo Yogi. He guest starred on such shows as Civil Wars, Silk Stalkings, The George Carlin Show, Empty Nest, Burke's Law, Kirk, Fantasy Island, and Diagnosis Murder. He appeared in the films Round Trip to Heaven (1992).

In the Naughts into the Teens he guest starred on the shows Las Vegas, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Hot in Cleveland. He appeared in the film Ablaze (2001).

Many today remember Pat Harrington Jr. best as Schneider on One Day at a Time. And it must be admitted that he was incredible in the role. That having been said, Mr. Harrington had a long career in which he played many other roles, most quite different from Schneider. He was a Texas good old boy in The Wheeler Dealers, a superspy and master of disguise in the F Troop episode "Spy, Counterspy, Counter Counterspy", a district attorney in the film Move, Over Darling, and shady businessman Buddy Castle in the Columbo episode "An Exercise in Fatality".

Of course, much of the reason Pat Harrington Jr. could play so many different roles was his very versatile voice. It should be no surprise that he had a very good career as a voice artist. What is more he voiced a wide array of characters, everything from The Inspector with his faux Belgian accent to the superhero The Atom to incidental voices in various Hanna-Barbera cartoons. It must also be pointed out that Pat Harrington Jr. was a very funny man. His appearances on the various variety shows in the Fifties and Sixties should really be seen today. With perfect comic timing and his gift for voices, he could be very funny. Pat Harrington Jr. was an enormous talent of the sort that is very rarely seen.

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