Kenneth Mars

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Kenneth Mars
Kenneth Mars 1967.JPG
Kenneth Mars in 1967
Born(1935-04-04)April 4, 1935
DiedFebruary 12, 2011(2011-02-12) (aged 75)
Other namesKen Mars
Alma materNorthwestern University[1]
OccupationActor
Years active1962–2008
Spouse(s)
Barbara Newborn
(m. 1977)
Children2

Kenneth Mars (April 4, 1935 – February 12, 2011)[1] was an American actor. He appeared in two Mel Brooks films: as the deranged Nazi playwright Franz Liebkind in The Producers (1967) and Police Inspector Hans Wilhelm Friedrich Kemp in Young Frankenstein (1974).[2] He also appeared in Peter Bogdanovich's What's Up Doc? (1972), and Woody Allen's Radio Days (1987), and Shadows and Fog (1991).

Mars appeared in two seasons of Malcolm in the Middle as Otto Mannkusser, Francis's well-meaning but dimwitted boss and a German immigrant who owns a dude ranch. He voiced King Triton, Ariel's father, in the 1989 Disney animated film The Little Mermaid and its sequel, as well as its companion television series, and the Kingdom Hearts series. He also did several other animated voice-over film roles such as Littlefoot's grandfather in the Land Before Time series (up to 2008) and that of Professor Screweyes in We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (1993), and King Colbert (Prince Cornelius's father) in Thumbelina (1994).

Early life[edit]

Mars was born in Chicago. His father, Bernard "Sonny" Mars, was a radio and television personality.[3] Kenneth studied fine arts and acting at Northwestern University.[1]

Career[edit]

Mars made his acting debut in 1962 as a book publisher on Car 54, Where Are You?. He later appeared on such television series as Gunsmoke, Get Smart, McMillan & Wife, Columbo, and The Bob Crane Show.[4] He also appeared in dramatic roles such as Will Turner, a former FBI agent, in Warren Beatty's The Parallax View.

Mars played Harry Zarakartos on the Richard Benjamin-Paula Prentiss 1967 CBS-TV sitcom He & She.[4] He was featured in a number of small roles in broadcasts such as the Misfits of Science pilot episode and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Shadowplay". He was cast opposite Bette Davis in Hello Mother, Goodbye!, a 1973 television pilot aired by NBC but never picked up as a series. From 1970 to 1974, Mars guest starred in five episodes of Love, American Style, playing various characters.[4]

In 1977, Mars became a series regular on both the Sha Na Na variety series and on Norman Lear's talk show parody Fernwood 2-Night in the memorable recurring role of eccentric William W.D. 'Bud' Prize, from Fernwood's Chamber of Commerce. He continued the role on America 2-Night in 1978. In 2001, Mars portrayed a comedic famous but washed-up photographer on Just Shoot Me. Before his death, his final television roles were Otto, the German dude ranch owner on Fox Broadcasting Company's Malcolm in the Middle, an appearance on Disney Channel's Hannah Montana, and a reprise of his role as Grandpa Longneck in The Land Before Time television series.[4]

In 1969, Mars portrayed a marshal trying to raise a posse to pursue Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, only to have his address to the townsfolk hijacked by a friendly bicycle salesman. Mars frequently played characters with exaggerated accents. He portrayed German characters in The Producers (1967) and Young Frankenstein (1974), and played a Croatian musicologist, Hugh Simon, in What's Up, Doc? (1972). His first broadly accented character was that of Sir Evelyn Oakleigh in the 1962 Off-Broadway revival of the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes. He also appeared in the 1962 Broadway play The Affair.[citation needed]

In 1975, ABC/Dunhill released a comedy LP produced by Earl Doud, Henry the First, featuring Mars in a number of comedy bits as Henry Kissinger, including a cover version of the Bachman–Turner Overdrive song, "Takin' Care of Business".[5][6]

Mars cultivated a lengthy voice acting career, launching it by voicing several characters on Uncle Croc's Block. He voiced the roles of Ariel's father King Triton in The Little Mermaid and in the video games Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II.

He voiced Littlefoot's Grandpa Longneck in The Land Before Time series of films and the spin-off television series, and the villainous Professor Screweyes in We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story. He played some minor roles on the popular radio show, Adventures in Odyssey. He played Sweet William in Fievel's American Tails, which took place after An American Tail: Fievel Goes West. He voiced characters on many animated television series, such as The Smurfs, The Biskitts, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, TaleSpin, and Animaniacs, as well as video games such as Fallout and Kingdom Hearts.

In 2008, Mars retired from acting after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years prior.[1] His final performance was as Grandpa Longneck in the animated television series The Land Before Time.[1]

Personal life[edit]

In 1977, Mars married Barbara Newborn.[1] They had two daughters, Susannah and Rebecca.[1] The marriage lasted until his death in 2011.[1]

Illness and death[edit]

In 2006, Mars was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had already spread beyond his pancreas.[1] His cancer made him so ill that he could not reprise his role as King Triton for The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, so Jim Cummings took over the role. As well as not being able to voice Triton, he could not voice Grandpa Longneck in The Land Before Time XIII: The Wisdom of Friends (Littlefoot’s Grandpa does appear in the film, but has no lines) and couldn't return to reprise his role as Otto in season 6 of Malcolm in the Middle.[1]

He died from the disease on February 12, 2011, at the age of 75.[1]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1963 Act One Robert E. Sherwood
1967 The Producers Franz Liebkind
1969 The April Fools Les Hopkins
1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Marshal
1969 Viva Max! Dr. Sam Gillison
1971 Desperate Characters Otto Bentwood
1972 What's Up, Doc? Hugh Simon
1974 The Parallax View Former FBI Agent Will
1974 Young Frankenstein Police Inspector Hans Wilhelm Friedrich Kemp
1975 Night Moves Nick
1978 Goin' Coconuts Kruse
1979 The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again Marhsal Woolly Bill Hitchcock
1981 Full Moon High Coach Cleveland / Principal Cleveland
1989 The Little Mermaid King Triton (voice)
1993 We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story Professor Screweyes (voice)
1994 The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure Grandpa Longneck (voice) Direct-to-video
1994 Thumbelina King Colbert (voice)
1995 Rough Magic Magician
1995 The Land Before Time III: The Time of the Great Giving Grandpa Longneck (voice) Direct-to-video
1996 Citizen Ruth Dr. Charlie Rollins
1996 The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists Grandpa Longneck (voice) Direct-to-video
1996 Bruno the Kid: The Animated Movie Professor Van Trapp (voice) Direct-to-video
1997 The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island Grandpa Longneck (voice) Direct-to-video
1998 The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock Grandpa Longneck (voice) Direct-to-video
1999 Giggles Triton Direct-to-video
2000 The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea King Triton (voice) Direct-to-video

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1975 Wonder Woman Colonel Von Blasko Episode: "The New Original Wonder Woman"
1979 $weepstake$ 1 episode
1981 The Facts of Life Mr. Harris Episode: "Gossip"
1987–1990 DuckTales Vulcan (voice) Episodes: "Maid of the Myth" and "A DuckTales Valentine (Amour or Less)"
1990–1991 TaleSpin Heimlich Menudo / Buzz (voices) 3 episodes
1992 Captain Planet and the Planeteers Moisha Lowkowitz (voice) Credited as Ken Mars
Episode: "If It's Doomsday, This Must Be Belfast"
1995 Diagnosis Murder Walter Carstairs Episode: "How to Murder Your Lawyer"
1996 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Grant Gendell Episode : "Bob and Carol and Lois and Clark"
1997 The Drew Carey Show Mr. Tinsley Episode: "Hello/Goodbye"
1997 The Naked Truth Judge Episode: "The Truth"
1997–1998 Life with Louie The Mayor / Priest / Rabbi / Doctor (voices) 4 episodes
1997 Police Academy: The Series Dr. Otis P. Quackenbush Episode: "Les Is More"
1998 Godzilla: The Series Dr. Alexander Preloran (voice) Episode: "Leviathan"
2002–2004 Malcolm in the Middle Otto Mannkusser 25 episodes
2004 Oliver Beene Carl the Super Episode: "Fallout"
2007 Hannah Montana Gunter the Innkeeper Episode: "School Bully"
2007–2008 The Land Before Time Grandpa Longneck (voice) 9 episodes

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Kenneth Mars, veteran screen and voice actor, dies at 75". Los Angeles Times. February 15, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  2. ^ "Kenneth Mars obituary". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. February 15, 2011.
  3. ^ Profile, chicagotribune.com; accessed June 27, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d "Kenneth Mars". TVGuide.com. TV Guide. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Earle Doud Presents Kenneth Mars - Earle Doud Presents Kenneth Mars as "Henry the First"".
  6. ^ "Henry the First - Kenneth Mars | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic".

External links[edit]