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Alan Young Dies: ‘Mister Ed’ Star & Scrooge McDuck Voice Actor Was 96
Alan Young, the Canadian-English actor best known as Wilbur on CBS’ 1960s talking-horse sitcom
who also provided the voice of Disney’s Scrooge McDuck for more than three decades, died Thursday. He was 96. He had been living at the Motion Picture and Television Fund campus in Woodland Hills.
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Born in 1919 in North Shields, Northumberland, England, his family moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, when he was a small child and shortly after to Vancouver, B.C.. After an early start in radio, Young served in the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. After his service, he resumed his career in radio, moving to the U.S., where in 1944 he created the radio program
The situation comedy was broadcast on both NBC and ABC at various points, and in 1950 was turned into a CBS TV series that lasted until 1953 and won two Emmys.
Young made several films during during the next decade, most notably receiving second billing in George Pal’s iconic 1960 adaptation of H.G. Wells’
. Other films from this period include the title role in
This Sucks!! I used to watch Mr Ed on Nick At Nite back in the day. He...
RIP...and thank you for the nice overview of his long radio, TV and movie career.
In 1961 Young began the role for which he is most well known.
premiered in October, starring Young as Wilbur Post, a mild-mannered architect who discovers that he owns a talking horse, voiced for all five seasons by Allan Lane. The show saw Young playing the straight man to Lane’s jocular, somewhat mischievous Mister Ed. Among the show’s running gags, Ed would only ever talk to Wilbur, making it look as though Wilbur might be crazy as he constantly appears to be talking to himself.
premiered in syndication and then moved to CBS with its cast intact — one of the few syndie shows to be picked up by a network for a primetime run.
‘s cancellation in 1966, Young acted for a brief spell before taking a nearly decade-long break from the industry. During that time, he established a broadcast division for the Christian Science Church. Returning to acting in the late 1970s, Young would go on to appear in numerous guest roles on television, including
The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, St. Elsewhere, Party of Five, ER
But from this point on, he worked primarily as a voice actor. Able to expertly affect a Scottish accent, Young was hired
. He would reprise the role four years later in the classic cartoon series
. Drawing heavily from the comic book series
that was created, written and drawn for much of its run by Carl Barks, Young voiced the thrifty Scottish duck who lives in the city of Duckberg and defends his vast fortune (and number one dime) from greedy enemies from 1987-90. Young delivered a definitive take on Scrooge McDuck and would remain the voice of the character until his death.
Other voice roles include Farmer Smurf on
“I worked it out that you go to an audition feeling you’re going to give your concept of what this part is you’re not going to try to get anything,” Young said in a 2001 interview with the American Archive of Television. “If the producer likes it, whether you get the part or not, you’ve given. It takes away all the anxiety and the weight. That’s my best advice. Just give, and then trust.”
Here’s an extended clip from that interview:
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RIP…and thank you for the nice overview of his long radio, TV and movie career.
This Sucks!! I used to watch Mr Ed on Nick At Nite back in the day. He was great & his wife in the show was a Major Cutie!! RIP Alan Young. Tell Mr Ed hello for me
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