Monday, February 14, 2011

Kenneth Mars

Kenneth "Ken" Mars died today. He may be best-remembered for his roles in several Mel Brooks films: the insane Nazi playwright Franz Liebkind in 1968's The Producers, and the relentless Police Inspector Hans Wilhelm Fredrich Kemp in 1974's Young Frankenstein.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Mars made his acting debut in 1962 as a book publisher on the comedy series Car 54, Where Are You?. Afterwards, he appeared on such television series as Gunsmoke, Get Smart, McMillan & Wife and The Bob Crane Show. Mars played Harry Zarakartos on the television sitcom He & She, and was featured in a number of small roles in programs such as the Misfits of Science pilot episode, the audio program Adventures in Odyssey, and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Shadowplay". He was cast opposite Bette Davis in Hello Mother, Goodbye!, a 1973 television pilot that was aired by NBC but never added to its schedule. From 1970 till 1974 he guest starred in 5 episodes of Love, American Style, playing random characters. In 1977, he became a series regular on Fernwood 2-Night, playing "Bud Prize" on the fictional comedy talk show and later appeared on America 2-Night in the same role.

Mars often played characters with exaggerated accents. He was German in The Producers, Young Frankenstein and was the Croatian musicologist Hugh Simon in What's Up, Doc?. In 1975, ABC/Dunhill released a comedy LP produced by Earl Doud titled "Henry the First" featuring Mars in a number of comedy bits as Henry Kissinger, including a cover version of the Bachman–Turner Overdrive song, Takin' Care of Business.

Mars cultivated his voice-over career, launching it by voicing several characters on Uncle Croc's Block. He voiced the roles of Ariel's father King Triton in The Little Mermaid, and Littlefoot's Grandpa Longneck in The Land Before Time movie series and the spin-off television series.

Post a Comment