Many thanks to Ivan Shreve at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear for the heads-up on this item. Actor-comedian-magician Carl Ballantine has passed away at 92. Best remembered as shifty Lester Gruber on McHale's Navy in the 60's, Ballantine incorporated magic into his comedy act on stage. He had intended to be a full time practicing magician, but apparently he didn't have enough talent to be up there with the likes of Harry Blackstone and other masters of prestidigation.
After McHale ended its run in 1966, Ballantine logged appearances on several other series, including The Monkees and The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, while continuing to perform on the road. He was a tremendous talent, and earned his fair share of laughs on McHale.
Rest in peace, Carl. You will be missed.