I want to Talk about a much-loved character actor … and a real character! The entertainment (and the entertained) community bids farewell to Sid Melton. He died at the age of 94, still entertaining his fellow residents at the cozy care facility the Toluca Lake Manor, where he spent his last chapter.
Sid Melton equaled laughter. This was more than his job; he just loved making people laugh. Luckily, he was funny. He made his family laugh, strangers laugh. The desk attendants at The Animal Medical Center told me he used to come in dancing and singing funny songs. And he was full of stories; after all, he had a career stretching over seven decades.
Sid, a Brooklyn baby, was born into entertainment. His father was Isador Meltzer, a famed comedian in the Yiddish Theatre. Sid debuted in 1939 and by 1947 he was on Broadway. His brother, the great screenwriter Lewis Meltzer, brought him to Hollywood and an endless film and television career ensued. Look up Sid Melton on Google to get the full scope of his busy career. My favorite credit is “Captain Midnight” where he played the Cap’s sidekick, Ichabod “Ikky” Mudd. One of Sid’s favorites was in Bob Hope’s The Lemon Drop Kid. He said, “I had Bob laughin’ for nine weeks, talkin’ and ad libbin’.” And he was very delighted with all the series that made him a well-known fan favorite and a fixture in people living rooms: Make Room for Daddy as Uncle Charlie Halper, Green Acres as Alf Monroe, The Golden Girls as Salvadore Petrillo. Wow. Film roles that meant a lot to him were Lady Sings the Blues, The Lost Continent, and Steel Helmet. But that’s not all; Uncle Sidney loved to produce movies and write. Books, odd-ball movies. Sid was like the energizer bunny: He just kept pumping stuff out and he worked a lot with Frank Sinatra Jr., who was a very caring friend, and included Sid in his many activities.
UNCLE SIDNEY: You might ask: Where do I fit into this? As life does weave, I first knew Sid Melton when working with him in Make Room for Grand Daddy (he was a Danny Thomas regular for years) and The Doris Day Show (Doris really loved him). He was my boyfriend in both shows. We also crossed paths at Actors and Others for Animal Events: Sid loved, loved, loved dogs.
You might ask, why is he Uncle Sidney? My husband David’s sons, Adam and Dean, are Sid’s nephews. Their mother, David’s wonderful first wife Estelle, was his sister. Theirs was an amazing bond, and Estelle made sure that Sidney was taken care of. She had asked Adam to promise to take care of him. And this he did. So in an odd way, Sid was my brother in law by marriage, and Uncle Sid to my Lawrence kids. Anyway, I was in the mix from many directions.
Here, let me acknowledge the Toluca Lake Manor and the caring administrator, Mariana Romano — so hands on, such genuine affection. The family felt peace of mind knowing that the residents came together daily in the relaxing lounge, serene courtyard, and gardens. They took walks in the neighborhood and savored three daily home-cooked meals in a real house. And bless you Mariana for adopting Sidney’s dog, Boo — you are godsend. We are so grateful to the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s Community Care Team for directing Sid to this special spot and for making sure he had the best of medical care, besides the tender loving care.
A GIVER: Generous to a fault, Sidney was a donor to almost anything that came to his mailbox. But he was seriously loyal to St. Jude’s Hospital, animal causes, and organizations that helped humanity. Sidney honored humanity with his humor and his talent, his money and his good heart. If you want to honor Sid Melton, his family suggests a donation in his memory to “Guide Dogs of America” and “Actors and Others for Animals.” And perhaps, take the time to have a good laugh.
Go well, Sidney…. we’ll Talk.