A character actor who found success on Broadway while also maintaining a career on TV and in film has died. Deadline.com reports: “George S. Irving, a fearless comic actor whose signature smile could turn into a smirk with the perfectly timed arch of an eyebrow, died December 26 in New York of natural causes. His death was confirmed to Deadline by his friend and sometime director David Staller.”
Irving, who was born George Irving Shelasky, was 94.
Deadline adds: “In 1973, Irving co-starred with Debbie Reynolds in a revised version of ‘Irene,’ a 1919 rags-to-riches musical about a pretty city girl who helps flamboyant ‘Madame Lucy’ (Irving) become a famous couturier. (The show also marked the Broadway debut of Reynolds’ daughter, Carrie Fisher, who died [Tuesday] morning.) The show earned Irving the Tony Award for best performance by a featured actor in a musical; Reynolds was nominated for best actress in a musical.”
Irving’s television work included extended runs as a voice actor on “Underdog,” where he was the narrator while also providing the voices of Mooch and many other characters for several years in the 1960s, and “Go Go Gophers” later in the ’60s, with Irving playing Running Board, General Nuisance and other roles. He also had a long run doing voices for “King Leonardo and His Short Subjects” in the early 1960s.
His early live-action TV work included appearances on the original version of “The Goldbergs” in the ’50s and “Car 54, Where Are You?,” “Naked City” and “The Patty Duke Show” in the ’60s. He later had runs on “The Dumplings” and “Ryan’s Hope” and turned up in guest spots on “All in the Family” and other shows.
Irving played a key role in the stop-motion animated holiday special “The Year Without a Santa Claus,” which debuted on ABC in 1974. The production starred Shirley Booth and Mickey Rooney, with Irving playing Heat Miser and Dick Shawn as Snow Miser.
Here’s a clip from “The Year Without a Santa Claus,” from 1974. The clip starts with the Snow Miser song, and about halfway through, Irving arrives to deliver the Heat Miser song …