Sunday, June 13, 2010

Paul Lynde

Classic TV icon Paul Lynde was born on this day in 1926. To fans of 60's and 70's television, the actor and comedian is best remembered as Elizabeth Montgomery's wise cracking, practical joke playing warlock Uncle Arthur on Bewitched. In addition, he held the coveted center square on the original version of Hollywood Squares. For 14 seasons Lynde provided double entendres and racy quips that are remembered almost 30 years after his last appearance.

He was a frequent guest star on numerous classic shows including The Phil Silvers Show, The Perry Como Show, The Munsters, I Dream of Jeannie, The Dean Martin Show, Love, American Style, and Donnie and Marie. In 1972 he starred for one season in his own series, The Paul Lynde Show.

Lynde's career included a varity of supporting film roles (both live action and animated). Throughout the 60's and 70's the films in which he costarred include Son of Flubber, Bye Bye Birdie (recreating the role he originated on Broadway); Beach Blanket Bingo, Under the Yum Yum Tree and Charlotte's Web.

Lynde died of a heart attack in 1982 at the age of 55.

Paul Lynde Fun Facts

He studied drama at Northwestern University with fellow future stars Claude Akins, Jeffery Hunter, Cloris Leachman, Patricia Neal and Charlotte Rae,

He made his Broadway debut in the revue New Faces of 1952. Other "new faces" in the show included Alice Ghostly, Eartha Kitt, and Carol Lawrence. Lynde's distinctive vocal mannerisms were influenced by Ghostly (listen to them both and you'll see the resemblance).

Lynde's first TV series was the short lived 1956 sitcom Stanley starring Buddy Hackett as the title character and Carol Burnett as his girlfriend. Lynde never appeared on camera - only his voice was heard as the owner of hotel in which Stanley's newsstand was located.

Also appearing with Paul Lynde in the 1960 Broadway cast of Bye Bye Birdie was another openly gay television personality of the 60's and 70's - Charles Nelson Reilly.

The voice of Roger the Alien on American Dad is based on Lynde.

In closing, here's Paul (along with Dick Van Dyke and Maureen Stapleton) performing Kids from Bye Bye Birdie. (You'll also see appearances by Ann-Margret and Janet Leigh)

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