From Mark Evanier comes the sobering news that actor/comedian Carl Ballantine has shuffled off this mortal coil at the age of 92. Born Meyer Kessler in
When not practicing feats of magic, Ballantine made a name for himself as an actor on some of television’s best-remembered comedy programs; among his appearances: Car 54, Where are You?, That Girl, The Monkees, Laredo, Mayberry R.F.D., I Dream of Jeannie, The Partridge Family, Alice, The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo and Night Court. He also popped up in bit parts in films like Speedway (1968), The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968), The World's Greatest Lover (1977), The North Avenue Irregulars (1979) and Just You and Me, Kid (1979). In addition to all this, he provided voices on cartoon series like Garfield and Friends and Freakazoid!
But his television immortality has probably been cemented thanks to his role as torpedo man Lester Gruber, one of the many hucksters and swindlers who served under the command of Lt. Commander Quinton McHale (Ernest Borgnine) on the classic WW2 sitcom McHale’s Navy. The series remains popular today thanks to its rerun exposure on RTV (the
R.I.P, Carl. Thanks for making me laugh.