Friday, January 27, 2012

Death has been busy lately......

Ivan Shreve over at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear has a regular feature he calls, "The Passings Parade", in which he compiles recent obits in one ginormous posting. If he hasn't done so already, I believe he will have more comprehensive notes on the following:

Dick Tufeld (1926-2012) was never seen on camera, but his voice was known to generations of viewers. He was the voice behind the Robot on Lost In Space (Bob May wore the costume and got the credit), and also announced for a myriad of shows, including The Hollywood Palace, and, for the cartoon fans, Thundarr the Barbarian, Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends, Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, & Goldie Gold & Action Jack. Tufeld passed away at 85 earlier this week.

Robert Hegyes (1961-2012) is better known as Juan Epstein, a Jewish-Puerto Rican "Sweathog" from his run on Welcome Back, Kotter during the mid-70's. Epstein's schtick was drafting phony excuse notes, purportedly from his mother. Some of Epstein's mannerisms were derived from Chico Marx, whom Hegyes had played in a theatre production before turning to TV. Post-Kotter, Hegyes tried his hand at drama and joined the cast of Cagney & Lacey. Below is a scene from Kotter in which Epstein decides to mimic the teacher:

Hegyes passed away yesterday at 60 after a heart attack.

Also, British actor Nicol Williamson made his final bow at 73 on Wednesday, but some of the newspapers didn't give him his just due. Williamson succumbed to cancer.

Rest in peace, gentlemen.


magicdog said...

I had just heard of Robert Hegyes' passing! He was so young!

In fact, his character from "Kotter" inspired the name of a local band, "Epstein's Mother'!

So sorry to hear about Dick Tufeld! "Danger Will Robinson" will forever be part of my memories! He even returned for the "Lost In Space" feature film (a mess of a film to be sure but it was nice to hear him do the robot's voice again). I too remember his other voicework doing intros like the ones you mentioned in the blog.

Big losses this year already!

hobbyfan said...

I always wondered if Epstein was modeled in a way after Chico Marx, and now I know that was the case.

I have the intros for Goldie Gold, the New Fantastic Four, and Thundarr over in Saturday Morning Archives. All it proved was that he could make a bad show, such as the '78 FF, sound like a hit.