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|Born||Erwin Saul Hamburger
June 17, 1921
Manhattan, New York City, US
|Died||May 1, 2002
Manhattan, New York City, US
Earl Hammond (June 16, 1921–May 1, 2002) was an American theater, radio, film and television actor, and, in his later years, a voice actor for several animated films and TV series.
Best known roles
Earl Hammond began acting in radio at the age of 7, and continued working in that venue throughout his life. In the 1940s, he had a regular role as a young lawyer on the radio soap opera Days of Our Lives. From 1974 to 1982, he acted on the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, appearing in 189 episodes, over 12% of the entire run of the 1,399 episodes of that radio series.
Hammond started his television career in the early 1950s, his first major role being as a regular, Sergeant Lane, on the DuMont police drama Inside Detective. At the same time, he was also the first of three actors to portray the title character in the short-lived ABC TV science-fiction adventure series Buck Rogers, which ran from April 15, 1950 to January 30, 1951. In the mid-1950s, he had a major role in the daily/noontime CBS television soap opera Valiant Lady, as Hal Soames, the married love interest of the widowed title character.
Hammond was best remembered for providing the voices of Mumm-Ra, Jaga, and other characters on the 1980s animated TV series ThunderCats, and for being the voice of villain Mon*Star on the 1980s animated TV series Silverhawks. He was also the voice of the Transformers villain Megatron in a series of children's read-along books.
In 1994, Hammond was selected from several hundred actors who auditioned to be the voice of Pope John Paul II on the audiotape version of the Random House book Crossing the Threshold of Hope. The publisher said the pope personally selected Hammond.
Early acting career
In 1938, after graduating Bennet High School in Buffalo, NY, he began acting in Fred and Ethel Dampier's radio skits on WGR, one of the city's major radio stations. He moved on to California, studying acting at Los Angeles City College, and graduating in 1941 with future stars Donna Reed and Alexis Smith. He was drafted into the US Army for World War Two; when he was discharged, he moved to New York City to continue his acting career. He appeared in the New York City area in the late 1940s on radio dramas, in summer theater, and in off-Broadway productions.
- Inside Detective (aka Rocky King, Inside Detective) TV series .... Sergeant Lane (1950–1953)
- Buck Rogers (1950) TV series .... Buck Rogers
- The Ad-Libbers (1951) TV game show .... Panelist
- Robert Montgomery Presents (1 episode)
- Our Hearts Were Young and Gay (1954) .... Henri
- Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1 episode)
- Tobor's Return (1954) .... Ranger Colt
- Valiant Lady (1953) TV series .... Hal Soames (1954–1955)
- The Clear Horizon (1960) TV series .... Captain Sovine
- 'Bronco (1 episode)
- Moment of Doubt (1962) .... Mercer
- Maverick (1 episode)
- Marshal Maverick (1962).... Billy Coe
- The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1 episode)
- There's a Broken Light for Every Heart on Broadway (1963) .... Nightclub manager
- 77 Sunset Strip (1 episode)
- Walk Among Tigers (1963) .... Conley
- The Gallant Men (1 episode)
- Operation Secret (1963) .... David Storm
- Directions (1 episode)
- Prologue to Christmas (1964) .... George
- The Space Giants (1967) (alternate language version of Japanese production "Space Avenger" (1966)) TV series .... Voices
- Ultraman (1972) (alternate language version of Japanese production "Ultraman: A Special Effects Fantasy Series" (1966)) TV series .... Voices
- Star Blazers' (alternate language version of Japanese production "Space Battleship Yamato") (1979–81) TV series .... Voices (25 episodes)
- Thunderbirds 2086 (1982) TV series .... Voices
- ThunderCats (130 episodes, 1985) .... Voices: Mumm-Ra / Tug-mug / Amok / Jaga
- The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus (1985) TV special .... Voice of Santa Claus
- The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers (4 episodes, 1986) .... Voices: Commander Joseph Walsh / Lazarus Slade / Captain Kidd / Wildfire Cody / King Spartos
- Silverhawks (1986) TV series .... Voice of Mon*star
- 'The Comic Strip (aka "The Mini-Monsters") (1987) TV series .... Voices
- Noel (1992) TV movie .... Voices
- The Twelve Days of Christmas (1993) TV movie .... Voices
- Satan in High Heels (1962) .... Rudy
- Tecnica di un omicidio (aka Hired Killer) (1966) .... Frank
- Hansu Kurushitan Anderusan no sekai (aka The World of Hans Christian Andersen) (1971) .... Ducks/Theater Manager
- Sekai Mesaiku Douwa Hakucho no Ouji (aka The Wild Swans) (1977) .... Voice
- Sekai Mesaiku Douwa Mori wa Ikiteru (aka Twelve Months) (1980) .... Voice
- Manga Aesop Monogatari (aka Aesop's Fables) (1983) .... Farmer/Mayor/Hare/Donkey/Monkey
- Thundercats, Ho: The Movie (1985) (voice) .... Jaga / Mumm-Ra / Snarf / Slithe / Vultureman
- Gandahar (aka Light Years) (1988) (voice) .... Blaminhoe
- The Secret of Anastasia (1997) .... Tsar Nicholas II
- Buster & Chauncey's Silent Night (1998) .... Additional Voices
- Moses: Egypt's Great Prince (1998) .... Voices
Personal life and death
Earl Hammond was born Erwin Saul Hamburger on June 17, 1921 in New York City, NY — his family moved to Buffalo, NY while he was still a toddler. He began his acting career in radio at the age of 7, and continued all the way through high school. In the early 1940s, he moved to California, took acting classes at Los Angeles City College, and changed his name to Earl Hammond.
He was drafted into the US Army during World War Two, learned Morse code, and served in communications. Once discharged, he moved to New York City.
In the late 1950s, as more and more television production moved from New York City to California, so did he, who, based on his television series credits, likely moved to the West Coast around 1960. He married sometime between 1950 and 1980, and had a son and a daughter, both still living at the time of his death by heart failure on May 1, 2002 in New York City.
- "Earl Hammond, Noted for Voice Work" (obituary) "The Buffalo News" May 29, 2002 (available online at Earl Hammond In Memoriam webpage
- CBS Radio Mystery Theater webpage of the Old-Time Radio Database website
- "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" webpage on the Books On Tape website
- Secrest, Meryl (1994) "Leonard Bernstein: A Life" A.A. Knopf ISBN 0-679-40731-6, page 151
- "Radio Actors Don Strawhats" Billboard Magazine (July 31, 1948) Nielsen Business Media, Inc., ISSN 0006-2510, pp. 4 & 17
- Rocky King, Inside Detective webpage on the Classic TV Archive website