Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Larry Storch is one of the oldest living Jewish comedians. He was born in New York City in 1923. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx with Don Adams, who remained his lifelong friend.
He is best known for his comic television roles, including voice-over work for cartoon shows, such as Mr. Whoopee on Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales, and his live-action role of the bumbling Corporal Randolph Agarn on F Troop.
Storch never graduated from high school because of hard times in the Great Depression, instead finding work as a stand-up comic for $12 a week opening for bandleader Al Donahue at the band shell in Sheepshead Bay. He served in the United States Navy during World War II on the submarine tender USS Proteus with Tony Curtis.
An impressionist, Storch does hundreds of voices and dialects ranging from Muhammad Ali to Claude Rains. This has proved useful for cartoons. He has voiced characters in numerous TV and film animations including The Batman/Superman Hour, The Pink Panther Show, Groovie Goolies, The Inspector, The Brady Kids, Cool Cat, Koko the Clown, Treasure Island, Return from Oz, Scooby-Doo, Tennessee Tuxedo, Aesop's Fables, Oliver Twist and many more. Larry had worked with Mel Blanc and June Foray at Warner Bros.-Seven Arts.
He was the first actor to voice Batman's arch enemy, "The Joker", in The Adventures of Batman segments produced by Filmation animation in the late 1960s. Larry continued his association with Filmation as a voiceover actor in other series the company produced including Journey Back to Oz where he voiced Aunt Em and Uncle Henry's farmhand Amos. This Kansas character did not have an alter ego in Oz. Storch also provided the Tin Man's speaking voice while Danny Thomas provided the character's singing voice.
Storch appeared on many variety shows, including Sonny and Cher, Laugh-In, Hollywood Squares, Playboy After Dark, and The Hollywood Palace, with several appearances on the The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and The Steve Allen Show. Jackie Gleason personally asked Storch to fill in for him in the summer of 1953 while Gleason was on hiatus. This led to the 10-episode The Larry Storch Show with guest stars including Janet Blair, Risë Stevens, Dick Haymes, and Cab Calloway.
At the age of 93, Storch is now "semi-retired". He likes to play his saxophone in the park and does occasional memorabilia shows to greet his many fans. He signs autographs at film festivals, including Chiller Theater and the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. He is currently working on his autobiography.
Here's a funny video clip of Storch in a standup comedy bit on The Hollywood Palace in 1965. He is introduced by Janet Leigh.
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