George O'Hanlon

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George O'Hanlon
George OHanlon life of riley.JPG
O'Hanlon as Calvin Dudley in The Life of Riley
Born George Samuel O'Hanlon
(1912-11-23)November 23, 1912
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died February 11, 1989(1989-02-11) (aged 76)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Stroke
Occupation Actor, voice actor, comedian, writer, director
Years active 1932–1989
Notable work Joe McDoakes
The Jetsons
  • Inez Witt (m. 1932; div. 1948)
  • Martha Stewart (m. 1949; div. 1952)
  • Nancy Owens (m. 1953; his death 1989)
Children 2

George Samuel O'Hanlon (November 23, 1912 – February 11, 1989) was an American actor, voice actor, comedian, writer and director.[1] He was best known for his role as Joe McDoakes in the Warner Bros.' live-action Joe McDoakes short subjects from 1942 to 1956 and as the voice of George Jetson in Hanna-Barbera's 1962 prime-time animated television series The Jetsons and its 1985 revival.


Early life and career[edit]

George O'Hanlon was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 23, 1912.

From the early 1940s, O'Hanlon was a character comedian in feature films, usually playing the hero's streetwise, cynical friend. He appeared in features for various studios while continuing the Joe McDoakes role for Warner Bros. After the McDoakes series lapsed in 1956, O'Hanlon returned to character work, mostly in television (two rare post-McDoakes movie appearances are in Bop Girl Goes Calypso and Kronos, both from 1957).


In the 1953-54 season, O'Hanlon appeared several times on NBC's The Dennis Day Show. In 1957, he played Charlie Appleby on an I Love Lucy episode, "Lucy and Superman". In 1958, O'Hanlon played a New York publicist for a fashion model, Loco Jones (Barbara Eden) in the syndicated romantic comedy How to Marry a Millionaire.

In 1962-63, he voiced one of his most prominent characters, George Jetson in the original The Jetsons, a role he would reprise over 20 years later in three movies.

In the autumn of 1964, he appeared as a cab driver in the 13-episode CBS drama The Reporter starring Harry Guardino. In 1966, O'Hanlon appeared opposite Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden's loudmouthed "bum brother-in-law", on Gleason's first TV show of the 1966-67 season. He also made various appearances on ABC's Love, American Style, a series for which he wrote the screenplays and also directed several episodes.

O'Hanlon as Joe McDoakes

In 1971, O'Hanlon appeared as a bear trainer on The Partridge Family, season 2, episode 6, "Whatever Happened to Moby Dick?", a drunk in The Odd Couple, season 2, episode 6, "Murray the Fink" and a drunk in Adam-12, season 4 episode 1, "Extortion".


Apart from acting, the comedian wrote screenplays and also wrote the storyboard for nearly all of the Joe McDoakes shorts. He wrote stories for television series in the 1960s such as Petticoat Junction, 77 Sunset Strip, and wrote episodes for Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones. He also auditioned for the role of Fred Flintstone, but lost to Alan Reed; however, he was remembered when it was time to cast The Jetsons. He once said: "George Jetson is an average man, he has trouble with his boss, he has problems with his kids, and so on. The only difference is that he lives in the next century."[2]

Personal life and death[edit]

In 1953, O'Hanlon married Nancy Owens, a fellow actor, and they had two children (actor George O'Hanlon, Jr., and daughter Laurie O'Hanlon, a registered nurse). They remained married until his death.

In the mid-1980s, Hanna-Barbera revived The Jetsons and brought back its original voice cast of O'Hanlon, Daws Butler, Mel Blanc, Don Messick, Penny Singleton, Jean Vander Pyl, and Janet Waldo. O'Hanlon had suffered a stroke and was blind and suffering from limited mobility. He recorded his dialogue in a separate session from the other cast members by having all lines read to him by the recording director Gordon Hunt and then recited one at a time.

O'Hanlon died of a second stroke on February 11, 1989, while recording dialogue for Jetsons: The Movie. According to Andrea Romano, who was Hanna-Barbera's casting director at the time, O'Hanlon found it difficult to read and hear, and in the end, he died in the recording studio doing what he loved.[3] The film was dedicated to him, along with Jetsons co-star Mel Blanc who died nearly five months later. Both were replaced by Jeff Bergman to finish the movie.

He is interred in Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Cemetery in Westlake Village, California.




Television Writer[edit]


External links[edit]