August 20, 2001 · EXTRA!
WHAT YOU SEE above is a bad picture taken from the cover of one of Dave Barry's comedy records. This is not the Dave
Barry who presently writes a syndicated humor column. This is the other Dave Barry, and he passed away recently. Here's the AP
Actor-Comedian Dave Barry Dead at 82
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Comedian Dave Barry, who opened for a number of top performers, including Wayne Newton, died Thursday. He
The comedian, who was not related to the Miami-based humorist of the same name, was born in New York City and started his career at
age 16 on radio's "Major Bowes and the Original Amateur Hour."
He moved to California in the early 1940s and served in the Army during World War II entertaining troops.
Toward the end of that decade, Barry began performing in Las Vegas at the El Rancho Hotel. He was featured at the Desert Inn in a
revue called "Hello America." He opened for Newton for more than eight years.
Barry had television and film credits, most notably in Billy Wilder's "Some Like It Hot," in which he played the role of Beinstock,
the band's manager.
In the latter part of his career, he entertained on cruise ships and appeared in the "Follies," a Palm Springs, California, variety
This report doesn't tell you a lot of things about Dave Barry — like, for instance, that for a dozen or so years there, he
performed on Ed Sullivan's show as often as any stand-up comedian. It doesn't tell you that he actually was performing intermittently in Las
Vegas as recently as 1988. He made them laugh in that town for something
like forty years, which is quite an accomplishment.
It also doesn't delve into his not-inconsiderable work as a voiceover artist. He did his first cartoon work for Famous Studios
when that operation was still based in Florida. Barry (who was then going under the name, Dave Siegel) was playing at a hotel in Miami. A
man from the audience approached him at the bar after the show and said they needed someone to do the voice of Bluto...so Barry played Bluto in
Seein' Red, White and Blue and perhaps one or two other films. When he moved to Hollywood, he sought out similar work there and got some,
mainly for the Columbia cartoon studio and Warner Brothers.
For the latter, he was their all-star celebrity impersonator for a time, specializing in Bogart. Any time you hear someone doing
Bogey in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, it's probably Dave Barry. He was also called upon to do numerous bit and incidental parts, and often supplied a
trick voice that he claimed to have invented — a bubbly kind of thing that made it sound like he was talking underwater. This, he also
used frequently when dubbing voices for Paramount's Speaking of Animals series.
He was also Elmer Fudd in the 1958 cartoon, Pre-Hysterical Hare.
Barry told me he filled in a number of times for Elmer's original voice, Arthur
Q. Bryan, on kids' records but also in the cartoons, sometimes being called in
to do one line in a film that was otherwise voiced by Bryan. No one has
been able to identify Barry playing Fudd in any records but he did once play
Bugs Bunny on a record where Bryan was Elmer.
Had he remained based in Los Angeles, Dave Barry would probably have been a voice actor with as many credits as a Don Messick or a Paul
Frees. He was enormously versatile and a tremendous mimic. But his stand-up act was his bread-'n'-butter and it took him away from the
voice market for weeks and months at a time, prompting employers to turn to others and forget about him. A lot of what he did do when in town
was looping and dubbing for movies. He was, for example, heard in Roger Corman's film of The Raven, making sounds for the title
character and dubbing voices for Peter Lorre and Vincent Price*. In at least one movie, he redubbed all the dialogue for the Indian actor, Sabu,
to make him more intelligible.
I only had the pleasure of meeting Dave on two occasions, both regrettably brief, but I saw him during what was probably his last Vegas
stand, and he was terrific. Age had not slowed down his timing one bit...and, by the way, if I understand correctly what he told me, he was
actually older than it says in the above obit. He was proud of his work in animation voicing and lamented that he should have stayed in L.A.
and done more of it. When I met him, which was just a few years back, he hadn't done a cartoon voice since several DePatie-Freleng shorts of
the mid-sixties, and I was hoping to find a part for him in one of my current projects, preferably doing Bogey.
Sorry that didn't happen. But he merits the best thing you can say about a deceased comedian: He truly was a funny, funny
*The fact that Barry occasionally redubbed dialogue for
Vincent Price has apparently caused some folks to presume he's the guy who does
the Vincent Price imitation in the Bugs Bunny cartoon, Water, Water, Every
Hare. Not so...and it was also not Vincent Price himself, as has
occasionally been assumed — or Walker Edmiston, as has been reported in at
least one published source. It was an actor named John T. Smith, who was
heard in other WB cartoons, usually doing a gravelly villain voice. He was
the dog in Chow Hound and the construction worker in No Parking Hare,
to name two credits. Both have also sometimes erroneously been attributed
to Dave Barry.
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