Thursday, January 9, 2014

Larry D. Mann Passes On

Character actor and voice artist Larry D. Mann died 6 January 2014 at the age of 91. He had recurring roles on the TV shows Shane, Accidental Family, and Hill Street Blues, and made numerous guest appearances on other shows. He had appeared in such films as The Singing Nun (1966),Caprice (1967), and The Sting (1973). He provided voices for several animated TV show and feature films, the most famous of which was probably that of Yukon Cornelius in the perennial Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Larry D. Mann was born in Toronto, Ontario on 18 December 1922. He worked for a time as a disc jockey at the Toronto radio station CHUM before going into acting. He made his television debut as one of the regulars on the CBC children's show Let's See in 1952. He then played the role of Lib in the CBC satirical comedy show Ad and Lib in 1954.He also provided the voice of Captain Scuttlebutt and Flubadub on the Canadian version of Howdy Doody. In 1956 he was a regular on The Barris Beat. In 1958 he was the host of Uncle Chichimus. In 1960 he was the host of Midnight Zone. He provided the voice of Foxy Q. Fibble  on the animated series The New Adventures of Pinocchio. In the Fifties he guest starred on such shows as Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans, Cannonball, The Man and the Challenge, Encounter, and The Unforeseen. He made his film debut in Flaming Frontier in 1958.

In the Sixties Larry D. Mann provided the voice of Rusty the Tin Man on the animated series Tales of the Wizard of Oz. He was a regular on the American TV show Shane and a semi-regular on the American show Accidental Family. He provided voices for the Saturday morning cartoons Here Comes the Grump and Sabrina and the Groovy Ghoulies. His most famous work in television during the decade (in fact, perhaps his most famous work of all time) was as the voice of Yukon Cornelius in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which debuted in 1964. He guest starred on such shows as The New Breed, The Gallant Men, The Dakotas, 77 Sunset Strip, Burke's Law, The Big Valley, Honey West, Ben Casey, Run for Your Life, My Favourite Martian, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Get Smart, Captain Nice, The Green Hornet, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., He & She, The Guns of Will Sonnett, Hogan's Heroes, Green Acres, and Bewitched. He appeared in the films The Quick and the Dead (1963), Spencer's Mountain (1963), Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), Harlow (1965), The Singing Nun (1966), The Daydreamer (1966), The Appaloosa (1966), Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966), The Swinger (1966), A Covenant with Death (1967), Caprice (1967), In the Heat of the Night (1967), and Angel in My Pocket (1969). He was the voice of Professor Von Rotten in the animated feature Willy McBean and His Magic Machine (1965).

In the Seventies Larry D. Mann provided the voices of Crazylegs Crane and The Blue Racer in Depatie-Freleng theatrical cartoons. He appeared in the films Scandalous John (1971), Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972), Cotter (1973), Charley and the Angel (1973), The Sting (1973), Black Eye (1974), Pony Express Rider (1976), and The Octagon (1980). He guest starred on such shows as Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Night Gallery, Love American Style, Columbo, and Quincy M.E.

 In the Eighties Mr. Mann appeared in the semi-regular role of Judge Lee Oberman on Hill Street Blues. He provided voices for The New Scooby and Scrappy Doo Show. He guest starred on such shows as The Dukes of Hazzard, The New Leave It to Beaver, MacGyver, and Equal Justice. His last appearance was in 1991 in a guest appearance on Homefront. Starting in 1981 he appeared for ten years in a series of commercials for Bell Canada as "The Boss".

There can be little doubt that Larry D. Mann was a great character actor. In a career that spanned nearly four decades he played everything from Old West marshals to Army officers to mad scientists to judges. As good as Larry D. Mann was as a character actor, however, he was an even better voice artist. Yukon Cornelius stands as one of the most memorable creations in the history of stop motion animation, largely because of Mr. Mann's voice. What is more, his voice was extremely versatile. Yukon Cornelius sounds nothing like The Blue Racer, Crazylegs Crane, or any of the other many characters Larry D. Mann voiced. There is little wonder Mr. Mann was so prolific as both a character in live action television and film and a voice artist in animation. Few actors were as talented as him.

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