Allan John Melvin
February 18, 1923
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||January 17, 2008 (aged 84)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Amalia Faustina Sestero
Allan John Melvin (February 18, 1923 – January 17, 2008) was an American actor and impressionist, who was cast in hundreds of television episodes from the 1950s to the early 1990s, often appearing in recurring roles on various series. Some of those roles and series include portraying various characters on The Andy Griffith Show, as real estate salesman Pete Dudley in My Favorite Martian, 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 as Archie Bunker's friend Barney Hefner on both All in the Family and Archie Bunker's Place. He has also voiced Tyrone the Bulldog, an arch-villain (with his aliases The Jester, The Puzzler, Poochquin, Sheriff of Sherwood and many others) in the live action/animated series The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty and was Magilla Gorilla on The Magilla Gorilla Show.
Life and career
Melvin was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to Marie and Richard Melvin but lived part of his childhood in New York City with his paternal grandparents, Helen (née Campbell) and Frank Melvin. Allan attended Columbia University, and after his graduation he served in the United States Navy during World War II. In 1944, he married Amalia Faustina Sestero 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 on the popular The Phil Silvers Show program. “I think the camaraderie of all those guys made it such a pleasant way to work. They were so relaxed.”
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 The Phil Silvers Show 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 Sgt. Charlie Hacker who was Sgt. Vince Carter's rival for four seasons on Gomer Pyle, USMC. He also made eight appearances 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, archvillain 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 the Brady's housekeeper Alice (played by Ann B. Davis) 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. He also provided the voice of Rocky Maninoff for Tennessee Tuxedo in the episode "Mixed-up Mechanics" in 1963.
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.
In the early 1980s, Melvin appeared as a regular in Archie Bunker's Place, in which he reprised the now more important role of Barney Hefner. After the series ended in 1983, Melvin's work was exclusively devoted to cartoon voice-overs. His voice acting career continued until 1994, with Scooby-Doo! in Arabian Nights being his final voice work (again as Magilla Gorilla) before retiring.
Allan Melvin died of cancer on January 17, 2008, aged 84, and was buried at Westwood Memorial Cemetery in Southern California. Melvin is buried just yards from his TV best friend Carroll O'Connor, who played Archie Bunker in All In The Family. Coincidentally, later that same year, famed 1950s pin-up Bettie Page was interred in the grave beside Melvin.
|1955-1959||The Phil Silvers Show||Cpl. Steve Henshaw / Indian Chief / Benny||143 episodes|
|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 / Farmer from Lawman Barney||8 episodes|
|1963||Perry Mason||Carl Jasper|
|1963||Beetle Bailey||Sgt. Snorkel / Otto / Zero||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|
|1978-1983||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||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; his final role|
- ""Brady Bunch" actor Allan Melvin dies in Los Angeles at 84". cbc.ca. 19 January 2008. Archived from the original on 23 January 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
- ""The Phil Silvers Show" - Corporal Steve Henshaw". Archived from the original on 19 September 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
- 'Brady Bunch' actor dies at 84, an Associated Press article via CNN
- McLellan, Dennis. "Allan Melvin 1923–2008: Character actor on 'All in the Family,' 'Phil Silvers Show,'" Los Angeles Times, Saturday, January 19, 2008.
- The AV Club