File:563b2248bea27 alan-reed.jpg

Alan Reed, also known professionally as Alan Reed, Sr., (August 20, 1907 – June 14, 1977) was an American actor[1] and voice actor, best known as the original voice of Fred Flintstone (although Daws Butler voiced the character in the pilot), whom he was said to have physically resembled, on The Flintstones and various spinoff series. He also appeared in many films, including Days of Glory, The Tarnished Angels, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Viva Zapata! (as Pancho Villa), and Nob Hill, and various television series.

Early years

Born Herbert Theodore Bergman in New York City, he attended Washington High School[2] and majored in journalism at Columbia University. Between graduating from WHS and entering Columbia, he studied drama at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.[3] He began his acting career in the city, eventually working on Broadway. He was Jewish.[4]

For several years, Reed toured in Vaudeville with his cousin, Harry Green.[5] He also had two other jobs—operating a wholesale candy factory and working at the Copake Country Club as "social director, entertainment producer and actor."[3]

For a time, he continued to list himself either as Bergman or Alan Reed, depending on the role he was playing (Reed for more comedic roles, Bergman for more serious ones). He was able to act in 22 foreign dialects, and made a career as a successful radio announcer and stage actor.

Radio

As early as 1930, Reed (billed as Teddy Bergman) co-starred with Herbert Polesie in Henry and George, a CBS program that featured "minute dramas, popular laughmakers ... interspersed with dance music selections."[6]

Reed's radio work included having two roles in Valiant Lady,[7] the role of Solomon Levy on Abie's Irish Rose, as the "Allen's Alley" resident poet Falstaff Openshaw on Fred Allen's NBC radio show, and later on his own five-minute show, Falstaff's Fables, on ABC, as Officer Clancey and other occasional roles on the NBC radio show Duffy's Tavern, as Shrevey the driver on several years of The Shadow, as Chester Riley's boss on the NBC radio show The Life of Riley, and as Italian immigrant Pasquale in Life with Luigi on CBS radio, and various supporting roles on Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, also on CBS.

Reed was "heard regularly on the Crime Doctor series,"[8] and "was the original Daddy to Fanny Brice on Baby Snooks."[9] Billed as Teddy Bergman, he had the title role on Joe Palooka.[9]

Stage

Billed as Teddy Bergman, Reed appeared on Broadway in Love's Old Sweet Song (1940),[10] Double Dummy (1936), and A House in the Country (1937).[11]

Television

From 1957–58, Reed appeared in a recurring role as J.B. Hafter, a studio boss, on the CBS sitcom Mr. Adams and Eve, starring Howard Duff and Ida Lupino, then married in real life, but appearing as a fictitious acting couple living in Beverly Hills, California. In 1963, he appeared as Councilman Jack Gramby in episode 8 of the CBS sitcom My Favorite Martian. In 1964–65, he had a recurring role as Mr. Swidler in the ABC sitcom Mickey, starring Mickey Rooney as the owner of a resort hotel in Newport Beach, California.

Voice acting

As a voice actor, Reed provided the voice of Boris the Russian Wolfhound in Walt Disney's Lady and the Tramp in 1955. In 1960, he began the voice role for which he was most famous, that of Fred Flintstone, the lead character of Hanna-Barbera's prime-time animated series The Flintstones. Reed provided Fred's voice for the entire six-season run of the show, as well as in several spin-off series (The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show, The Flintstone Comedy Hour) and specials. His final performance as Fred Flintstone was a cameo guest role on an episode of Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics. Among his other voice roles for Hanna-Barbera was Touché Turtle's sidekick, Dum Dum.

Radio playwright and director Norman Corwin cast Reed as Santa Claus in the 1969 KCET television reading of his 1938 play The Plot to Overthrow Christmas.

Personal life

In May 1932, Reed married the former Finette Walker[12] (1909–2005), a Broadway actress whom he met at television station W2XAB (later WCBS-TV) in New York City.[2] She appeared on stage in the early 1930s and was a chorus member in the original 1934 Broadway production of Anything Goes with Ethel Merman.[13] They had three sons, including actor Alan Reed, Jr. (born May 10, 1936). Once his son started acting, Reed took the professional name Alan Reed, Sr.

Death

Reed died of a heart attack in Los Angeles on June 14, 1977, two months shy of his 70th birthday. His body was donated to the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. He was survived by his wife, sons, and several grandchildren.

Television

Filmography

References

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  4. "Fred Flintstone: A Stone Age Star With A Jewish Voice." www.jewishhumorcentral.com, October 10, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  5. Cox, Jim (2007). Radio Speakers: Narrators, News Junkies, Sports Jockeys, Tattletales, Tipsters, Toastmasters and Coffee Klatch Couples Who Verbalized the Jargon of the Aural Ether from the 1920s to the 1980s--A Biographical Dictionary. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6086-1. P. 234.
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  7. Buxton, Frank and Owen, Bill (1972). The Big Broadcast: 1920-1950. The Viking Press. SBN 670-16240-x. P. 249.
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  9. 9.0 9.1 DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. P. 223.
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  13. "Finette Walker: Performer." www.playbillvault.com. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
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