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December 24, 1931
Teaneck, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||February 8, 1997
Toluca Lake, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Cancer|
|Occupation||Actor and vocal artist|
|Years active||1960–1997, his death|
|Spouse(s)||Patricia Ridgely (19??-1997; his death)|
Robert Ridgely (born Robert Ritterbusch; December 24, 1931 – February 8, 1997) was an American actor and vocal artist, known for both on-camera roles and extensive voice-over work.
Life and career
Born in Teaneck, New Jersey, Ridgely, who began his entertainment career as a cabaret entertainer, began his Hollywood acting career with guest roles in such 1960s television series as Maverick, Sea Hunt, Lawman, and Surfside 6. He landed a regular role as Lieutenant Kimbro in the short-lived World War II ABC series The Gallant Men. After the series was cancelled he continued with guest appearances in such programs as Bonanza, WKRP in Cincinnati, Coach, Night Court and Designing Women. He also appeared in many movies, especially Mel Brooks productions such as Blazing Saddles (1974), High Anxiety (1977), Life Stinks (1991), and Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), and also had roles in films such as Chrome and Hot Leather (1971), American Raspberry (1977), The Wild Life (1984), Something Wild (1986), Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), Philadelphia (1993), The Ref (1994), Hard Eight (1996), Multiplicity (1996), Fire Down Below (1997) and Boogie Nights (1997), and played Wally "Mr. Love" Williams, host of the fictional game show Easy Street in the 1980 movie Melvin and Howard. He was cast as the announcer of The Hollywood Television Showcase in the 1996 film, That Thing You Do. In the late 1960s, Ridgely acted as co-host to talk show host Woody Woodbury. He also appeared in many commercials, including a classic McDonalds commercial, staged as a Broadway production number, where he sings "There is nothin' so clean - as my burger machine". The commercial is available on YouTube.
Ridgely put his strong voice to use in voice-over roles in movies like Down and Dirty Duck (1974), television specials such as Thanksgiving in the Land of Oz, (aka Dorothy in the Land of Oz) (1980), and the video game Blazing Dragons (1996). He did a great deal of voice work on television as well. From 1985 until 1996, Ridgely was one of the main primetime show promo voiceovers at ABC. Among Ridgely's most easily recognizable voice roles were:
- Tarzan in Filmation's Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle;
- Flash Gordon in The New Adventures of Flash Gordon;
- Captain Ferguson and Time Slime in Hanna Barbera's The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo
- Platypus Director in Disney's TaleSpin
- The title character in Ruby-Spears' Thundarr the Barbarian;
- The Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak from several Strawberry Shortcake animated specials.
- Various characters in the Puff the Magic Dragon animated specials (most notably Mr. Nobody in Puff and the Incredible Mr. Nobody)
- The title character of Pitfall Harry, as part of Saturday Supercade from 1983 to 1984.
- Ridgely starred in two of his final movies: Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights and the Steven Seagal vehicle Fire Down Below in 1997.
On February 8, 1997, Ridgely died of cancer at his Toluca Lake, Los Angeles home. His death occurred only two days after that of his longtime ABC announcing colleague, Ernie Anderson, who also succumbed to cancer. Both Anderson and Ridgely were last heard on ABC only months apart, in 1995 and early 1996, respectively. In addition to his wife, he was survived by a brother, Dr. William Ritterbusch of Germany.
- Robert Ridgely at the Internet Movie Database
- TV.com page for Robert Ridgely
- New York Times movie page for Robert Ridgely
- Movie stills of Robert Ridgely
- Robert Ridgely at Find a Grave
|Actors to portray Tarzan