Variety, TVWeek, AMPAS

Character Actor Who Was a Familiar Presence on TV Dies — He Was One of Those Actors Who You Knew His Face Even If You Couldn’t Come Up With His Name

Aug 26, 2016  •  Post A Comment

A character actor who was a beloved part of a number of TV shows and movies — including long-running roles as Henry on “Alice” and as the voice of “Choo Choo” on “Top Cat” — has died. Variety reports that Marvin Kaplan died Wednesday at his home in Burbank, Calif.

Kaplan, 89, reportedly died of natural causes.

The Brooklyn-born Kaplan made his film debut in “Adam’s Rib” in 1949, and went on to appearances in many movies, including “Angels in the Outfield,” “The Nutty Professor,” “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” “The Great Race” and “Freaky Friday.” He also had a long run as Alfred Prinzmetal on the early TV show “Meet Millie” from 1952-1955.

Along with his regular voice work on “Top Cat” from 1961-1962, Kaplan made the rounds of many sitcoms in the ’60s, including “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” “McHale’s Navy,” “Gidget,” “My Three Sons” and “Petticoat Junction.”

He remained a busy guest performer through the 1970s before landing the role of Henry on “Alice,” where he became a regular at Mel’s Diner from 1978-1985. He later turned up on shows including “MacGyver,” “The Fall Guy,” “Cagney & Lacey” and “ER.”

Kaplan’s career extended into the 21st century, including a run as Mr. Gordon on “Becker.”

Here’s a clip from 2012 posted by the Oscars in which Kaplan appears on a panel talking about the filming of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” …

One Comment

  1. Marvin Kaplan is featured in the documentary TROUPERS by Sara Ballantine and Dea Lawrence. We also featured Marvin in a special TV Academy event about older performers who are still working. More recently, Gilbert Gottfried and Frank Santopadre conducted a terrific interview with Kaplan on their Amazing Collossal Podcast, available here:


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