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Subject: Archive: Bob McFadden, Jan. 7, 2000


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Actor, recording artist
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Date Posted: Sunday, January 07, 04:42:06pm

Robert McFadden, who gave raspy voice to the parrot cackling ''Ring around the collar!'' and ''Pretty shirt!'' in Wisk commercials in the 1970's as well as speaking for thousands of other advertising and cartoon characters, died last Friday at his home in Delray Beach, Fla. He was 76.
The cause was amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig's disease, his family said.

In 1982, TV Guide called Mr. McFadden ''one of the elite of TV commercial voice-overs.'' Known professionally as Bob, he made hundreds of thousands of dollars selling his voice to advertisers like Ford, Geritol, Frankenberry cereal, Pepto-Bismol, Campbell's Soup, Mountain Dew and Ban deodorant.

Jeanette, his wife of 48 years, said he never minded being invisible. ''He just loved being in it,'' she said of show business. ''It never meant anything to be a star or a name.''

Mr. McFadden was born in East Liverpool, Ohio, and got his first break as a singer while stationed in Puerto Rico with the Navy during World War II. He did impersonations in a weekly talent show.

After leaving the Navy, he worked briefly in a Pittsburgh steel mill, then got into show business as an opening act at hotels and nightclubs for the McGuire Sisters, Harry Belafonte and others. He did singing impressions of Frankie Laine, Billy Eckstine and the Inkspots.
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He met his wife in Boston in 1950, when the two were working together. While he sang onstage, she and her twin sister performed synchronized swimming exercises in a pool below.

''I was a wet act and he was a dry act,'' recalled Mrs. McFadden.

In the mid-1960's, the McFaddens moved to Queens, and Mr. McFadden switched to doing voices and advertising work as well as cartoons. They later moved to Leonia, N.J.



For two and a half decades, he squawked like a parrot for Wisk and barked like a dog for Crest toothpaste. He once received $12,000 for making a swishing sound to imitate a jet airplane.
Mr. McFadden appeared on several comedy albums and played ethnic comedy characters in albums like ''The Yiddish Are Coming!'' His cartoon characters included Cool McCool and Milton the Monster.
Even after retiring to Delray Beach, he did not stop performing. He would appear in supper clubs, introducing Jack Benny in his own voice and then Ed Sullivan in Jack Benny's. ''I don't do Sullivan to try to make him funny,'' Mr. McFadden told The St. Petersburg Times in 1997. ''He was hysterical enough just being himself.''
In addition to his wife, Mr. McFadden is survived by two sons, Jeffrey, of Delray Beach and Brian, of Palisades Park, N.J.; a daughter, Tracy Huber of Ringwood, N.J.; a brother, James, of Ashland, Ore., and a granddaughter.

His gift for voices was perhaps best demonstrated in 1959 in Cuba, just days before Castro took over. ''They wanted me to do a show in Spanish, and I didn't know a word,'' he said. His brother-in-law wrote the show in impeccable Spanish. Mr. McFadden pronounced everything phonetically. The high point was Gabby Hayes, Roy Rogers's sidekick, singing underwater in Spanish.

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"The Mummy"Bob & DorSunday, January 07, 04:44:15pm


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