Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Arnold Stang, R.I.P.

The late, very great, Arnold Stang
was stuck with a nasally twang
His comical looks

had him playing schnooks
On radio who gave a dang?

Arnold Stang, a character actor whose bespectacled, owlish face and nasal urban twang gave him a singular and recognizable persona, whether on radio or television, in the movies or in advertisements, or even in cartoons, died on Sunday.

Mr. Stang considered himself a dramatic actor who could play serious roles. But even he was aware that with his signature heavy glasses and a manner that could be eagerly solicitous, despondently whiny or dare-you-to-hit-me pugnacious, his forte was comedy.

Mr. Stang was a natural for roles requiring a milquetoast, a pest or a nerd. At 5 foot 3 and never much more than 100 pounds, he once said of himself, “I look like a frightened chipmunk who’s been out in the rain too long.”

“He loved the cartoons, and he liked doing commercials, too,” his wife, JoAnne Stang said of her husband. “But most of all, he loved radio. It offered him such a span of roles.” --Excerpted from his New York Times obit.

Photos: Stang in 1961; With Robert Alda and James Gleason in Two Gals and a Guy (Alfred E. Green, 1951).

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