Billy Bletcher

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Billy Bletcher
Short and Snappy (1921) - 1.jpg
Bletcher (left) and Bobby Vernon in Short and Snappy (1921)
Born
William Bletcher

(1894-09-24)September 24, 1894
DiedJanuary 5, 1979(1979-01-05) (aged 84)
OccupationActor
Years active1914–1971
Spouse
Arlyn H. Roberts
(m. 1915)
Children1

William Bletcher (September 24, 1894 – January 5, 1979)[1] was an American actor. He was known for voice roles for various classic animated characters, most notably Pete in Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse short films and the Big Bad Wolf in Disney's Three Little Pigs.

Early life[edit]

William Bletcher was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on on September 24, 1894, to Huber and Dora Bletcher.[1]

Career[edit]

Bletcher appeared on-screen in films and later television from the 1910s to the 1970s,[2] including appearances in several Our Gang and The Three Stooges comedies.

He was most active as a voice actor. His voice was a deep, strong and booming baritone. Bletcher provided the voices of various characters for Walt Disney Animation Studios (Black Pete, Short Ghost and the Big Bad Wolf in Three Little Pigs).[3] He auditioned to play one of the dwarfs in Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). However, Walt Disney disapproved for fear that people would recognize Bletcher from the studio's Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck short subjects.[3]

His booming voice can also be heard as "Don Del Oro" the Yacqi Indian god in the 1939 Republic serial, Zorro's Fighting Legion. He also provided voice work for Ub Iwerks as the Pincushion man in the 1935 animated short Balloon Land, as well as Owl Jolson's disciplinarian violinist father in the 1936 Warner Bros. short subject based on the song I Love to Singa and the menacing spider in Bingo Crosbyana.

In 1939, Billy Bletcher and Pinto Colvig were hired to perform ADR work for the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz.[3] In MGM films, he voiced Spike the Bulldog and on some occasions even Tom Cat, in Tom and Jerry, and in Warner Bros. many characters, most notably the Papa Bear of Chuck Jones' The Three Bears. He voiced the villainous wolf in Little Red Riding Rabbit (1944).

Bletcher did voice acting for the 1944 Private Snafu World War II training film "Gas", where Bletcher voices the villainous Gas Cloud. Bletcher also portrayed The Captain in Captain and the Kids with MGM cartoons.

In 1950, he portrayed several characters on The Lone Ranger radio program as well as appearing in episode 27 of the TV series.

In 1971, he portrayed one of his final roles, Pappy Yokum in a television adaptation of Lil Abner. In 1978, he was originally hired to voice the Weed on The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show, but had to drop out due to illness.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Bletcher married actress Arlyn H. Roberts in 1915, and had a daughter, Barbra.[1] They remained married until Bletcher's death in 1979.[1]

Death[edit]

Bletcher died at the age of 84 on January 5, 1979, in Los Angeles, California. He was survived by his wife Arlyn and their daughter Barbra.[1] Bletcher's wife Arlyn died thirteen years later on July 3, 1992, at the age of 99.[citation needed]

Selected filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Katchmer, George A. (2002). A Biographical Dictionary of Silent Western Actors and Actresses. Cary. ISBN 9780786486946.
  2. ^ Buz, Box Office. "Billy Bletcher". Box Office Buz. Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  3. ^ a b c "Interview with Billy Bletcher, by Michael Barrier and Milton Gray". Funnyworld. 1978. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  4. ^ "News From ME - Mark Evanier's blog". www.newsfromme.com. Retrieved 2021-08-04.
  5. ^ "Today's Video Link – News From ME". www.newsfromme.com. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Scott, Keith (3 October 2022). Cartoon Voices of the Golden Age, Vol. 2. BearManor Media.
  7. ^ "Billy Bletcher". Behind The Voice Actors. 1979-01-05. Retrieved 2017-02-21.

External links[edit]