Allan Melvin

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Allan Melvin
Allan Melvin.jpg
Allan Melvin promotional photo
Born (1923-02-18)February 18, 1923
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Died January 17, 2008(2008-01-17) (aged 84)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Cancer
Occupation Actor, Voice actor, Impressionist
Years active 1951–1994
Spouse(s) Amalia Faustina Sestero (1944–2008) (his death) (2 children)
Children Jennifer, Mya

Allan John Melvin (February 18, 1923 – January 17, 2008[1]) was an American character actor who appeared in several television shows including numerous recurring roles as varying characters on The Andy Griffith Show; recurring roles as Corporal Henshaw on The Phil Silvers Show; Sergeant Hacker on Gomer Pyle, USMC; Alice’s boyfriend Sam the Butcher on The Brady Bunch; and Archie Bunker’s friend Barney Hefner on All in the Family and Archie Bunker’s Place.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, to Richard and Marie Melvin and raised in New York City by his paternal grandparents, Frank and Helen (née Campbell) Melvin. He attended Columbia University.[2] After graduation, he served in the United States Navy during World War II and married his wife, Amalia Faustina Sestero, in March 1944 in New York City.

While working at a job in the sound effects department of NBC Radio, he did a nightclub act and appeared and won on the Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts radio show. While appearing on Broadway in Stalag 17, he got his break into television by getting the role of Corporal Steve Henshaw[3] on the popular The Phil Silvers Show program.[2] TV fans of this era usually best remember his role as Henshaw, Sergeant Bilko’s right-hand man on that show. “He was proudest of that show,” Amalia Melvin said. “I think the camaraderie of all those guys made it such a pleasant way to work. They were so relaxed.”[2]

During this period, in addition to his role on The Phil Silvers Show, Melvin was often cast in slightly loud, occasionally abrasive, but generally friendly second banana roles. Melvin was also adept at “tough guy” roles; in an example of his range as an actor, one episode of Sergeant Bilko featured Melvin doing a recognizable impersonation of Humphrey Bogart.

In the 1960s, Melvin worked extensively at CBS for Sheldon Leonard and Aaron Ruben. He played Staff Sergeant Charlie Hacker who was Sergeant Vince Carter’s rival for four seasons on Gomer Pyle, USMC. He also made eight appearances[4] on the Dick Van Dyke Show. He also provided the voices of cartoon character Magilla Gorilla, the lion Drooper, on The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, arch villain Tyrone in The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty and Bluto on The All-New Popeye Hour. Melvin also made eight guest appearances on The Andy Griffith Show in eight different roles, usually as heavies. He also made three guest appearances on Perry Mason in various roles, including reporter Bert Kannon in the 1966 episode, "The Case of the Sausalito Sunrise." Also in 1966 Allan played the space enforcer on the series Lost In Space, in the episode “West Of Mars”.

Melvin is remembered for supporting roles on two popular 1970s sitcoms. He played Sam Franklin, the owner of a local butcher shop and boyfriend of Alice Nelson (the Bradys’ housekeeper) on The Brady Bunch, and Barney Hefner, Archie Bunker’s neighbor and friend on All in the Family. In other contributions to 1970s pop culture, he appeared as a Mel’s Diner patron on Alice and worked as a voice artist (under the name “Al Melvin”). He provided several characters’ voices for the TV show H.R. Pufnstuf and the voice of Prince Thun of the Lion Men on The New Adventures of Flash Gordon.

Some of his most prolific work was in television commercials, for products as diverse as Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes and Remington electric razors. In the latter commercial, he sang a few bars of Frank Loesser’s song “I Believe in You” with a modified lyric. He was also featured as Al the Plumber on Liquid-Plumr drain opener commercials for fifteen years.[5]

In the early 1980s, Melvin appeared as a regular in Archie Bunker’s Place, a successor to All in the Family, in which he played the now more important role of Barney Hefner. When this series ended in 1983, Melvin’s work was exclusively devoted to cartoon voice-overs.

Death[edit]

Allan Melvin died of cancer on January 17, 2008, aged 84,[6] and was buried at Westwood Memorial Cemetery in Southern CA. He was survived by wife Amalia, his wife of 64 years, and daughter Jennifer and her family. Allan Melvin was preceded in death by another daughter Mya, who died in 1970. Melvin is buried just yards from his TV best friend Carroll O'Connor, who played 'Archie Bunker' in TV's "All In The Family". Coincidentally, later the same year, famed 1950s pin-up Bettie Page was interred in the grave beside Melvin.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Roles Notes
1955-1959 The Phil Silvers Show Cpl. Steve Henshaw / Indian Chief / Benny 143 episodes

Perry Mason 1963 - Carl Jasper

1961-1966 The Dick Van Dyke Show Sol Pomerantz / Guard Jenkins / Gun Drummer / Harrison B. Harding / Sam Pomerantz / Sam Pomeroy 8 episodes
1962-1964 Make Room for Daddy Officer Johnson / Policeman / Fake Termite Inspector 3 episodes
1962-1967 The Andy Griffith Show Clarence 'Doc' Malloy / Clyde Plaunt / Escaped Prisoner / Fred Plummer / Hotel Detective Bardoli / Jake / Myrt's Accomplice / Neal / Recruiting Sergeant 8 episodes
1963 Beetle Bailey Sgt. Snorkle Note: He wrote two episodes of the show
1963-1966 The Flintstones Quartz / Jane / Cop / Stony / Sergeant / Elephant / Sportscaster / Len Frankenstone / Bony Hurdle / Mr. Nate Slate / Hoss Cartrock / Sheriff Craig / Boudler / Thug #1 / Pig / Superstone / Bugsy / Bartender / Mailman / Head #1 / Tom / Car 7 Policeman / Rockarabian Men 13 episodes
1964-1966 The Magilla Gorilla Show Magilla Gorilla, Punkin' Puss
1964 Hey There, It's Yogi Bear! Police Sergeant
1964-1965 The Joey Bishop Show Art Miller 8 Episodes
1965 Sinbad Jr. and his Magic Belt additional Voices
1965 Secret Squirrel additional voices
1965-1969 Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Sgt. Charley Hacker 16 episodes
1966 Alice in Wonderland or What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This? Alice's Father / Humphrey Dumpty TV special
1968 The Adventures of Gulliver Bunko / Brunik the Wild Hermit
1968 With Six You Get Eggroll Police Desk Sergeant
1968-1970 The Banana Splits Adventure Hour Drooper
1969 Cattanooga Cats Bumbler / Bristle Hound
1969 Mod Squad Fred Croft episode: To Linc - With Love
1969-1971 Love, American Style Various
1969-1974 The Brady Bunch Sam Franklin 8 episodes
1970 Pufnstuf H. R. Pufnstuf / Henrich Rat / Living Island Boat / Orville Pelican / Polka-Dotted Horse / Stupid Bat / West Wind
1970 Mayberry R.F.D. Earl episode: Hair
1972-1979 All in the Family Barney Hefner 25 episodes
1972 The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie Drooper episode: The Banana Splits in Hocus Pocus Park
1972 The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie Magilla Gorilla, Additional voices episode: Yogi's Ark Lark
1972-1973 Wait Till Your Father Gets Home additional voices
1973-1975 Yogi's Gang Magilla Gorilla, Additional voices
1974 These Are the Days additional voices
1974 Hong Kong Phooey additional voices
1976 Dynomutt, Dog Wonder additional voices
1977 CB Bears additional voices
1977-1978 Fred Flintstone and Friends Magilla Gorilla, Additional voices
1977-1980 Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels additional voices
1978 Hanna-Barbera's All-Star Comedy Ice Revue Drooper TV special
1978 The Scooby-Doo Show additional voices
1978 Fangface additional voices
1978-1983 The All New Popeye Hour Bluto
1979 The Popeye Valentine Special: Sweethearts at Sea Bluto TV special
1979 The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show additional voices
1979-1982 The New Adventures of Flash Gordon Thun the Lion Man / King Vultan 24 episodes
1979-1983 Archie Bunker's Place Barney Hefner 94 episodes
1981 Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends Electro/additional voices
1981-1982 The Kwicky Koala Show Joey Bungle 16 episodes
1982 Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour additional voices
1982 Yogi Bear's All Star Comedy Christmas Caper Magilla Gorilla, Additional voices TV special
1984 Challenge of the GoBots additional voices
1984-1987 The Smurfs additional voices
1985 Galtar and the Golden Lance additional voices
1985 Yogi's Treasure Hunt additional voices
1985-1987 The Jetsons additional voices
1986-1987 Foofur Chucky the Rat, Additional voices
1987 Popeye and Son Bluto, J. Wellington Wimpy
1987 DuckTales additional voices
1987 Yogi's Great Escape Bandit Bear TV movie
1988 The Good, the Bad, and Huckleberry Hound Magilla Gorilla, Additional voices TV movie
1988 The New Yogi Bear Show Growler Bear
1988 Adventures of the Gummi Bears additional voices
1990 TaleSpin Warden Slammer episode: Gruel and Unusual Punishment
1990 The Adventures of Don Coyote and Sancho Panda additional voices
1990-1991 Wake, Rattle, and Roll Magilla Gorilla
1991 Yo Yogi! Magilla "Ice" Gorilla
1994 Scooby-Doo! in Arabian Nights Magilla Gorilla TV movie

References[edit]

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