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Chuck McCann Dead: Comic Actor, Kids TV Host was 83

The funny love star made a lot of voiceover work, was a nice Oliver Hardy impersonator and appeared in "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter."

Chuck McCann, the goofy, good-natured comedian and television host who was the hero of children of all ages in and around New York City in the 1960s before joining movies, network TVs and commercials, has died. He was 83 years old.

McCann died Sunday of congestive heart failure at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, publicist Edward Lozzi told The Hollywood Reporter .

With its chubby face and ever-present laugh, McCann epitomized fun. If the situation required a quiet supporting character, he was your guy. McCann worked as an entertainment dog, puppetry, nightclubs, movie actors, voiceover practitioners and celebrity prospects.

He had an important role in The hearts are a lonely Hunter (1

968) and starred in the Low Cost Film Movie The Projectionist (1971); appeared on many television shows; and made a spot-on imitation of comedian Oliver Hardy. (He was the founder, together with actor Orson Bean, The Desert of the Desert, the International Fan Club to celebrate Laurel & Hardy.)

"I did everything," McCann told TVParty.com in an interview from 2007. "I never closed doors. If you look at my career – if I had one – I never think of it as a career, I just look at things like i love to do. I'm as fun doing a 30 second commercial when I'm making a movie. "

In fact, one of McCann's most memorable roles came in a series of court patches in the 1970's and 80's.

Share a medical cupboard with its neighbor on the other side of the bathroom wall, McCann would bend a happy "hello guy!" behind the glass bowls to the stunned bathing bed next door. McCann would then continue to extend the benefits of this special brand of spray-on deodorant.

McCann also created the voice of Sonny the Cuckoo Bird for General Mills' Cocoa Puffs TV commercials. His loony intonation of "I'm Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs" gave rise to the character of generations of flutter lovers.

McCann credited famed New York children's show host to Sandy Becker to give him a big break in the mid 1950s when they two worked together at a WABD TV Channel 5 Channel Show, then a DuMont network drive.

"One day he called me saying he would and he wanted me to take over the show," said McCann Steve Fritz in a 2006 article for animated shorts. "At first I could not believe he was talking to me. I said," When do I start? "He said," Well, today's Friday. Then you start Monday. "

" I said, "Where are you going?" And he turned and said, "South America. You start at 7 o'clock in the morning. So long!" The doors closed and he left "It was my baptism with fire. The first day was just catastrophic, it was hell on earth. It was also fun." It was very funny. "

Becker also introduced McCann to Paul Ashley. The master's puppet took McCann under his wing and taught him everything that was to know about the craft. From Rootie Kazootie in the 1950s, the couple collaborated well into the 60's.

Chuck McCann was born in New York City on September 2, 1934. His grandfather performed in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, and his father, Val McCann, was a great band leader who served as a music organizer at the New York Roxy Theater.

McCann thought he grew up in the orchestra pit at that place. His time at Roxy exposed him to today's best comedy and he fondly remembered when Lou Costello treated him to ice cream.

Val McCann also had an ongoing concert with CBS Radio and during one of his appearances there, a director Chuck discovered and offered him a job with voiceovers. McCann was 7 at the time, and he worked steadily on radio in his teens.

while Andrew Andrew McCarthy was going to keep his classmates stumble with his impersonations, and acted in nightclubs in and around Manhattan and Long Island. He then helped create Wonderama a beloved Sunday morning show like Becker's host.

In November 1959, McCann began The Puppet Hotel on a Saturday morning show that came from WNTA TV in Newark, New Jersey. He hosted the program and played the detained receptionist at a hotel consisting of puppets created by Ashley.

Later McCann manned the three-hour show Let's Garden Fun on Sunday morning, doing almost anything. One of his pieces was to read the series, dressed as the character of the strip, from today's magazine. Among his favorites were Dondi, Dick Tracy, Superman and The Lone Ranger. His little Orphan Annie – complete with big white white eyes (which he created using a pair of coffee makers) – was a classic.

And since 1963, every afternoon from Monday to Friday, he is also led Chuck McCann Show . Like Let's have fun it ran on WPIX TV, Channel 11, so McCann was at the station seven days a week.

His last local television quest was Chuck McCann's Laurel & Hardy TV Show which was debuted in 1966 on WNEW TV, Channel 5. With Laurel & Hardy animated cartoon created by Hanna-Barbera, the series featured McCann the opportunity to make his Oliver Hardy imitation. (Ashley played Stan Laurel.)

McCann had spent hours on the phone when he was 12 years old in Queens trying to find Laurel, who lived in Santa Monica. Very much to the surprise of the young, Laurel replied one day, and the two talked for hours. It led to a friendship that lasted until Laurel's death in 1965. (Hardy had died 1957.)

One of McCann's first networking contests played Hardy opposite Dick Van Dyke in a 1958 episode of The Garry Moore Show . The following year he was Hardy at Tom Poston's Laurel on Steve Allen Plymouth Show .

During the 80's he went with comedian Jim MacGeorge to recreate the duo in commercial places for Arby's Tony's Pizza and Anco Wiper Blades.

For a short while, McCann also came to Captain Kangaroo Show as as Sailor Clyde.

In a more serious role, McCann made his movie debut in 1968 in The hearts are a loner hunter adapting Carson McCuller's best selling novel. In the drama of Alan Arkin, McCann saw the difficult role of Spiro's Antonapoulos, a mentally disabled man who is mute.

McCanns career's only enrollment role appeared in the excellent The Projectionist written and directed by Harry Hurwitz, where he played an introvert spending his days in the small projection chamber of a New York movie house.

The projection gave McCann the opportunity to showcase his talent for imitation. Staring on images of the Hollywood stars that angled the stall, the projection teacher let his imagination run wild, imitating Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Wallace Beery and yes, Laurel & Hardy. McCann also played an imaginary super hero, Captain Flash.

The projection also featured the debut of Rodney Dangerfield, who played McCann's persuasive boss.)

McCann's film summary also included Herbie Rides Again (1974), Linda Lovelace for president (1975), Silent Movie ), Foul Play (1978), CHOMPS (1979), Ladybugs 1992] Storyville (1992), Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) and Dracula: Dead and Loving

McCann was a castmember of Turn On Producer George Schlatter's Beaten Handed 1969 attempted to go one step further than his sensational hit Rowan & Martin's Laugh -in . Convoluted and unfunny Turn On was interrupted after a paragraph.

In 1975, McCann collaborated with Bob Denver for the CBS family sitcom Far Out Space Nuts . Together with Earl Doud and Sid & Marty Kroft, McCann created the slapstick series about two bumbling maintenance workers unintentionally launched in space.

McCann also had recurring roles on Santa Barbara Knots Landing and Boston Legal (as Judge Byron Fudd) and guest stars on such shows as Bonanza Bob Newhart Show Columbo Kojak Little House on the Prairie Starsky & Hutch Rockford Files One Day at a Time St. Elsewhere Diff & # 39; pure Strokes Sabrina Teenage Witch and Mad About You .

When he was not in front of the camera McCann lent his voice to projects. He was part of the widely sold album The First Family Vaughn Meader 1962s sat by President Kennedy and his entourage, and voted for the NBC Cool McCool a 1966 -69 animated spoof by James Bond composed by Bob Kane of Batman fame.

McCanns animation credits are also included Pac-Man GI Joe Winnie the Pooh's New Adventures DuckTales Attack of the Killer Tomatoes Where is Waldo? Animaniacs Fantastic Four (as voice Ben Grimm / The Thing) and The Powerpuff Girls .

Survivor includes his wife for 40 years, Betty Fanning, a former William Morris Executive Director. He had three children from a previous marriage.

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