Schell (right) as Larry Clarke with Joby Baker as Dave Lewis, Good Morning, World, 1967.
|Born||Ronald Ralph Schell
December 23, 1931
Richmond, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, Comedian, Voice actor|
Ronald Ralph "Ronnie" Schell (born December 23, 1931) is an American actor, stand-up comedian, and cartoon voice actor (notably Peter Puck). Early in his career, he appeared as himself as a contestant on You Bet Your Life opposite Groucho Marx, demonstrating a comic barrage of jive talk. Schell is probably best known in his 1960s television role as Duke Slater in Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Life and career
Schell was born in Richmond, California. His first choice of careers was to play professional baseball. He got as far as the semi-pro league level before enlisting in the Air Force, where he performed in variety shows as both an emcee and comedian and also did record pantomimes. Schell studied at San Francisco State University and formed a nightclub comedy duo which took off. He turned solo within a year and progressed to Las Vegas work as an opening act.
In his role as Duke Slater on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Schell's character was cast for three seasons as a Marine Private, and best friend of Gomer Pyle. Schell left for a season to star as a disc jockey in his own sitcom, Good Morning, World. He then returned to Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. as a Corporal for its fifth and final season. Schell played his Duke Slater character as street-wise, compared to Pyle's bucolic background as portrayed by Jim Nabors.
Schell also acted in a few Pacific Southwest Airlines Commercials such as "Smile Inspection" and "PSA Gives You A Lift Pageant". At the end of a Jerry Lewis PSA Jingle, a voice said "That was Jerry Lewis for PSA, and this is Ronnie Schell. What did I do wrong?" He also did a commercial with Don Adams where he parodied Don's TV character Maxwell Smart.
His television guest credits include The Andy Griffith Show, Phil of the Future, Yes, Dear, The Wayans Bros., Step by Step, Coach, The Golden Girls, 227, Saved by the Bell, Empty Nest, Mr. Belvedere, Santa Barbara, Trapper John, M.D., Too Close for Comfort, The Brian Keith Show, The Love Boat, Love American Style, Alice, Mork & Mindy, One Day at a Time, Charlie's Angels, The Dukes of Hazzard, Sanford and Son, Emergency!, Happy Days, Adam-12, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl, Black Sheep Squadron, Hogan's Heroes, and Jessie, currently on the Disney Channel.
In 2007, Schell was part of a touring cabaret show titled, "5 Star Revue" with Gary Collins, Mary Ann Mobley, Ruta Lee, and Steve Rossi. He starred in the 2009 Off-Broadway production of "Don't Leave it All to Your Children!", a comedic and musical revue dedicated to those Baby Boomers everywhere who are about to enter into the golden age of Senior Citizenship.
- PSA History/Oldtimers Page psa-history.org
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