Thursday, November 17, 2011

Actor Sid Melton Passes On

Sid Melton, best known for playing Charlie Halper on Make Room for Daddy and Alf Monroe on Green Acres, passed on 2 November 2011 at the age of 94.

Sid Melton was born Sidney Meltzer in Brooklyn, New York on 22 May 1917. His father was Isidor Meltzer, a well known performer in Yiddish theatre. His brother Lewis Meltzer was a screenwriter who worked on such movies as The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) and High School Confidential (1958). He made his film debut in a small part in New York Town in 1941. He would go on to appear in such film as Shadow of the Tin Man (1941), Blondie Goes to College (1942), Cario (1942), Girls in Chains (1943), George White's Scandals (1945), Suspense (1946), White Heat (1949), and On the Town (1949).

In the Fifties Sid Melton appeared in such films as The Lemon Drop Kid (1951), Leave It to the Marines (1951), The Naked Street (1955), Edge of Hell (1956), Public Pigeon No. One (1957), Designing Woman (1957), The Tunnel of Love (1958), and The Buccaneer (1958). Like many actors of the era, Mr. Melton's career increasingly shifted to television in the Fifties. He was a regular as Ichabod "Ikky" Mudd on Captain Midnight and played the night club owner Charlie Halper on Make Room for Daddy starting in 1959. He guest starred on such shows as Our Miss Brooks, Adventures of Superman, Cheyenne, Date with the Angels, The Jack Benny Programme, The Thin Man, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Dragnet, December Bride, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, Peter Gunn, and Bachelor Father.

In the Sixties Sid Melton was a semi-regular on Green Acres as carpenter Alf Monroe. He reprised his role as Charley Halper in the sequel series to Make Room for Daddy, Make Room for Grandaddy. He guest starred on such shows as The Joey Bishop Show, The Munsters, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, Run Buddy Run, The Danny Thomas Hour, That Girl, Petticoat Junction, Daktari, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., and I Dream of Jeannie.

In the Seventies Sid Melton guest starred on such shows as The Chicago Teddy Bears, Love American Style, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, The Doris Day Show, and Rhoda. He appeared in the films Lady Sings the Blues (1972), Hit! (1973), That Lady from Peking (1975), and Game Show Models (1977).  In the Eighties Mr. Melton played the recurring role of Sophia's late husband on The Golden Girls. He guest starred on such shows as The Fall Guy and Hunter. In the Nineties he guest starred on Major Dad, Nurses, Blossom, Empty Nest, and Dave's World.

Perhaps no actor was as good at comedy relief as Sid Melton. It was the role he played in the majority of films and television shows in which he appeared. Even in the films noir and science fiction features in which he appeared, Mr. Melton was usually the comic relief. The reason for this is quite simply that he was very good at it. Very few supporting actors in movies or TV shows could be as funny as Sid Melton. What is more, he did not play simply one sort of character. He was equally adept at playing stressed out, nervous nightclub owners (Charlie Halper) as he was clumsy, inept carpenters (Alf Monroe) and small time con men (Friendly Freddy, his recurring character on Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.).  It is because Mr. Melton was so good that his career boasts a unique honour: he appeared as a regular on semi-regular on three classic sitcoms (Make Room For Daddy, Green Acres, and The Golden Girls). When it came to comedy relief, they didn't maek them any better than Sid Melton.

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