Remembering actor, comedian, impressionist Chuck McCann

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

“Chuck McCann was a Toluca Lake guy…a Patys and Money Tree and Smoke House guy for 50 years (since 1967). Thousands of actors and TV film pros have worked with him, many living in the Valley he loved. A memorial is in the early planning stages and will be announced within the next two months.” – Ed Lozzi, publicist

Chuck McCann (1934 – 2018) was a voice personality and star of American theatre, film and television who pioneered daytime children’s comedy TV broadcasting in New York in the 1950s and 60s. Along with his peers Soupy Sales, Sandy Becker, John Zacherle and Claude Kirschner, they influenced the humor and entertainment of millions of baby boomers. He was a man of 1,000 voices working in voice-over and impressions to the end.

“He died on April 8 from congenital heart failure,” said Lozzi, McCann’s publicist. “His connections to stars and showbiz range from working with his heroes Laurel & Hardy, Mae West and Cary Grant to contemporary icons such as Hugh Hefner, Howard Stern, George Schlatter, Tim Conway, Carol Burnett, William Shatner, Mel Brooks, Harvey Korman, Stan Lee and Jerry Lewis.”

Early work

Chuck McCann was known to a generation of children who grew up watching his children’s shows in the New York City area during the 1960s, having worked his way up to regional star status by apprenticing on a number of other children’s shows, such as Captain Kangaroo and Rootie Kazootie. The best-selling The First Family, an early 1960s LP record album which lampooned the newly elected president John F. Kennedy and his family, included McCann among its voices.

Until late 1967, McCann hosted comedy/variety TV puppet shows in the New York area including Chuck McCann’s Laurel and Hardy Show for WNEW-TV, Channel 5. His career was burgeoning by the time he left Channel 5, a victim of changing TV trends. By the end of the 1960s, he had appeared to critical acclaim in the 1968 film The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and performed regularly on CBS’s The Garry Moore Show.

He began an animation acting career, doing everything from Bob Kane’s Cool McCool to Sonny the Cuckoo Bird (“I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!”) in commercials for General Mills. He had even been one of the stars of Turn-On, producer George Schlatter’s ill-fated offshoot of Laugh-In.

1970s

In the 1970s, McCann’s life and career shifted west, and he relocated to Los Angeles. He made frequent guest appearances on network television shows including Little House on the Prairie, The Rockford Files and The Bob Newhart Show. He appeared in the 1973 made-for-TV movie The Girl Most Likely to… and was a regular on Norman Lear’s All That Glitters. The 1970s also brought him fame in a long-running series of commercials for Right Guard antiperspirant: he was the enthusiastic neighbor with the catch phrase “Hi, guy!” who appeared on the other side of a shared medicine cabinet, opposite actor Bill Fiore.

Film and later years

After The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, McCann’s motion picture career included numerous films including Herbie Rides Again (1974) and Foul Play (1978). In 1989, McCann returned to daily children’s television one more time with Chuck McCann’s Funstuff, seen weekday mornings on KHJ (KCAL).

McCann continued voice work for cartoons. One of his best-known voice-over roles was The Thing in the Fantastic Four and Hulk animated series, as well as the villain Blizzard in another animated adaptation, Iron Man.

In the 2000s he supplied voices for The Powerpuff Girls and Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas. And he also moved into the field of video games, providing voices for True Crime: New York City. He also made multiple appearances as a judge on Boston Legal, including the two-hour series finale in December 2008.

Just last year, McCann recorded a comedy podcast program, Trump: The Last Family with Kevin Sean Michaels, a modern send-up to the best-selling The First Family LP of the 1960’s.

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.