|Born||Alan Grigsby Sues
March 7, 1926
|Died||December 1, 2011
West Hollywood, California
|Occupation||Actor & Comic|
|Television||Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In|
|Spouse(s)||Phyllis Sues (1953–1958)|
Alan Grigsby Sues (March 7, 1926 – December 1, 2011) was an American comic actor widely known for his roles on the 1968–1973 television series Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Alan's on-screen persona was campy, outrageous and contained verbal slapstick. Typical of his humor was a skit that found him following a pair of whiskey-drinking cowboys to a Wild West bar and requesting a frozen daiquiri. Alan's recurring characters on the program included Big Al the Sportscaster and Uncle Al the Kiddie's Pal. Alan also parodied castmate Jo Anne Worley when she left the show, appearing in drag.
Alan was born on March 7, 1926, in Ross, California. His parents were Alice (née Murray) and Melvyn Sues, who raised racehorses, requiring the family to move frequently. Alan served in the Army in Europe during World War II.
Alan used World War II veterans’ benefits to pay for acting lessons at the Pasadena Playhouse, where he performed, later making his Broadway debut in the stage play Tea and Sympathy, directed by Elia Kazan, which had a successful run in New York City beginning in 1953. During this period, Alan met and married Phyllis Gehrig, a dancer and actress, subsequently starting a vaudevillian nightclub act in Manhattan — with which they toured North America before divorcing in 1958.
After touring the country with his wife, Alan was able to get more work in stand-up comedy (at Reuben Bleu and Blue Angel, both clubs in Manhattan), worked with Julius Monk, and joined an improv/sketch group with The Mad Show, which led to his being cast in Laugh-In.
Outside of Laugh-In, Alan appeared in the classic Twilight Zone episode "The Masks", in a non-comic role. This episode called for his character to be of college (or, possibly even high school) age, as evidenced by references to his being captain of the football team and doing well in school. Being 38 at the time, his looks ran counter to this, with a comb-over and thinning hair. He also had supporting roles in the films Move Over, Darling (1963) and The Americanization of Emily (1964).
After Laugh-In, Alan also portrayed Moriarty onstage in Sherlock Holmes (opposite John Wood, and later Leonard Nimoy), which, according to Alan, was "one of my favorite roles, because it's so against type, and I loved the makeup". The makeup for Moriarty was used in several books about makeup as an example of shadowing and technique.
Alan appeared in television commercials for Peter Pan Peanut Butter during the 1970s, as a tongue-in-cheek Peter Pan. He also toured with Singin' in the Rain, playing the Elocution Instructor. In addition, he appeared in several movies, and provided voiceovers including Oh! Heavenly Dog and Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July.
In 2008, fifty years after his divorce from Phyllis, she conducted a lengthy interview with Alan at his home for her website.
Alan had recently finished recording an audio stories CD collection, entitled Oh, Nothing.., which was released for sale December 22, 2011 on his website. The project is compiled of several comedic stories and anecdotes from his 50 years in theater, film and television.
Alan died on December 1, 2011, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, West Hollywood, where he was taken after suffering an apparent heart attack while watching television with his beloved dog, Doris, according to his friend and accountant, Michael Michaud.
Michael Michaud said that, even though Alan never disclosed publicly during his career that he was gay, his over-the-top, flamboyant, stereotypically gay mannerisms displayed on Laugh-In were an inspiration to many viewers when they were young, as he was "the only gay man they could see on television at the time."
Alan was survived by various family members, including his late brother’s widow, her daughter and her daughter's husband and their three children, and by many long-standing friends.
A Memorial was held for Alan at his house in West Hollywood on March 25, 2012, where he was remembered, on a sunny California afternoon, with much humor and affection. Many surviving Laugh-In alumnae attended.
Alan had always remained close with his late brother, John Sues, and John's family. In a family ceremony, at the same time as John's ashes were also scattered, Alan's ashes were scattered on the ocean off Mystic, Connecticut.
- Tea and Sympathy (1953–1955) — Ralph
- Happy Birthday (1956)
- The Mad Show (1966–1967) Off-Broadway
- Good News (1972) Community theatre — Kenley Players (Ohio)
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1974–1976) — Professor Moriarty
- The Three Musketeers (1976)
- Singin' in the Rain (national tour 1995–1999) — Director/elocutionist
- Two for the Show (1998–2000) — One-man stage show, multiple characters
- Move Over, Darling (1963) — Court Clerk
- The Americanization of Emily (1964) — Officer Enright
- Oh! Heavenly Dog (1980) — Freddie
- Snowballing (AKA Smooth Moves) (1984) — Roy
- A Bucket of Blood (1995) — Art Buyer
- Lord of the Road (1999)
- Artificially Speaking (2009) — Sparky Schlosser
- The Twilight Zone "The Masks" (1964) — Wilfred Harper, Jr.
- The Wild Wild West (1965) — Matt Dawson
- Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1968–1972) — Regular performer
- Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July (1979) — Scratcher the jealous Reindeer
- The Brady Brides "Cool Hand Phil" (1981) — Duke
- Punky Brewster "Tangled Web" (1987) — Andre Sockstein
- Sabrina, the Teenage Witch "Good Will Haunting" (1998) — Bellevuedere
- Slotnik, Daniel E. (2 December 2011). "Alan Sues, a ‘Laugh-In’ Cast Mainstay, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Erickson, Hal (2000). From Beautiful Downtown Burbank: A Critical History of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, 1968-1973. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co. ISBN 0-7864-0766-2.
- "Alan Sues". The Daily Telegraph (London). 11 December 2011.
- "The Twilight Zone - Season 5 (The Definitive Edition)". DVD Talk. 26 December 2005. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
- "Actor Alan Sues dead at 85". United Press International. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
- "Artificially Speaking Official Website". Precipice Productions. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
- Sues, Phyllis. "Talking with Alan Sues, Part One". phyllissues.com. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Florenski, Joe. "Kenley Players Productions". The Kenley Players. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
- Alan Sues official web site
- Alan Sues at the Internet Broadway Database
- Alan Sues at the Internet Movie Database