George O'Hanlon

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George O'Hanlon
Joe McDoakes title card.jpg
O'Hanlon as Joe McDoakes, in his native habitat
Born (1912-11-23)November 23, 1912
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died February 11, 1989(1989-02-11) (aged 76)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Occupation Actor, voice actor, writer, director
Years active 1932–1989
Spouse(s) Martha Stewart (1949-1952) (divorced)[1]
Nancy O'Hanlon (?–1989) (his death)
Children George O'Hanlon, Jr.
Laurie O'Hanlon

George O'Hanlon (November 23, 1912 – February 11, 1989) was an American film and voice actor, comedian and TV writer.[2]

Movie fans know O'Hanlon best as the star of Warner Bros.' live-action Joe McDoakes short subjects from 1942 to 1956. Television viewers recognize him as the voice of George Jetson in Hanna-Barbera's 1962 prime-time animated television series The Jetsons and its 1985 revival.


Early life and career[edit]

George O'Hanlon was born in Brooklyn, New York City on November 23, 1912.

From the early 1940s, O'Hanlon was a character comedian in feature films, usually playing the hero's streetwise, cynical friend. He appeared in features for various studios while continuing the Joe McDoakes role for Warners. After the McDoakes series lapsed in 1956, O'Hanlon returned to character work, mostly in television (two rare post-McDoakes movie appearances are in Bop Girl Goes Calypso and Kronos, both from 1957).


In the 1953-54 season, O'Hanlon appeared several times on NBC's The Dennis Day Show. In 1957, he played Charlie Appleby on an I Love Lucy episode, "Lucy and Superman." In 1958, George O'Hanlon played a New York publicist for a fashion model, Loco Jones (Barbara Eden) in the syndicated romantic comedy How to Marry a Millionaire.

In 1962-63, he voiced one of his most prominent characters, George Jetson in the original The Jetsons, a role he would reprise over 20 years later in three movies.

In the autumn of 1964, he appeared as a cab driver in the thirteen-episode CBS drama The Reporter starring Harry Guardino. In 1966, O'Hanlon appeared opposite Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden's loudmouthed "bum brother-in-law", on Gleason's first TV show of the 1966-67 season. He also made various appearances on ABC's Love, American Style, a series for which he wrote the screenplays and also directed several episodes.

O'Hanlon as Calvin Dudley on The Life of Riley.

In 1971, O'Hanlon appeared as a bear trainer on The Partridge Family, Season 2, episode 206, "Whatever Happened to Moby Dick?"


Apart from acting the comedian wrote screenplays and also wrote the storyboard for nearly all of the Joe McDoakes shorts. He also wrote stories for television series in the 1960s such as Petticoat Junction, 77 Sunset Strip and even wrote episodes for Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones. It is interesting to note that he also auditioned for the role of Fred Flintstone but lost to Alan Reed; however, he was remembered when it was time to cast The Jetsons. He once said: "George Jetson is an average man, he has trouble with his boss, he has problems with his kids, and so on. The only difference is that he lives in the next century."[3]

Personal life and death[edit]

O'Hanlon married Nancy, a fellow actor, and they had two children (actor George O'Hanlon, Jr and daughter Laurie O'Hanlon, a registered nurse). They remained married until his death.

By the mid-1980s, nostalgia for the 60s was becoming popular and so Hanna-Barbara decided to revive The Jetsons and brought back its original voice cast of O'Hanlon, Daws Butler, Mel Blanc, Penny Singleton, Jean Vander Pyl, and Janet Waldo. However, O'Hanlon suffered a stroke around this time and was left blind and suffering from limited mobility. He recorded dialog in a separate session from the other cast members by having all lines read to him and then recited one at a time.

He died of a second stroke on February 11, 1989 while recording dialogue for Jetsons: The Movie. According to voice director Andrea Romano, O'Hanlon found it difficult to read and hear and in the end he died in the recording studio doing what he loved.[4] The film was dedicated to him, along with Jetsons co-star Mel Blanc, who died later the same year.

O'Hanlon is interred in Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Cemetery in Westlake Village, California.

Partial filmography[edit]

As actor, unless otherwise indicated


  1. ^ Billboard, March 1, 1952, pg. 47
  2. ^ "George O'Hanlon, 76, George Jetson's Voice". The New York Times. February 15, 1989. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  3. ^ "George O'Hanlon; Father's voice on Jetsons". The Los Angeles Times. February 14, 1989. LA Times Archive
  4. ^ "Talking Toons With Rob Paulsen: Episode 16 with Guest: Andrea Romano". Talking Toons With Rob Paulsen. 

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