Allan Melvin was a versatile and prolific actor who appeared in hundreds of television episodes from the 1950s to the early 1990s. He was best known for his roles as Corporal Henshaw on The Phil Silvers Show, Sergeant Hacker on Gomer Pyle, USMC, Sam the Butcher on The Brady Bunch, and Barney Hefner on All in the Family and Archie Bunker’s Place. He also voiced many animated characters, such as Magilla Gorilla, Drooper on The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, and Bluto on The All New Popeye Hour. He was admired by fans and colleagues alike for his comedic talent, his friendly personality, and his distinctive New Yorker accent.
Allan Melvin’s Early Life and Career
Allan Melvin was born on February 18, 1923, in Kansas City, Missouri, to Marie and Richard Melvin. He spent part of his childhood in New York City with his paternal grandparents, Helen and Frank Melvin. He attended Columbia University and studied journalism. He served in the United States Navy during World War II and was wounded in action.
After the war, he pursued a career in show business. He worked as a sound effects technician for NBC Radio and performed as a stand-up impressionist in nightclubs. He won a talent contest on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts radio show and landed a role on Broadway in Stalag 17. He made his television debut in 1951 as Corporal Steve Henshaw on The Phil Silvers Show, a role he played for six seasons. He also appeared in many other TV shows, such as The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, Perry Mason, My Favorite Martian, and The Twilight Zone.
Allan Melvin’s Later Roles and Achievements
In the 1960s and 1970s, Allan Melvin continued to work steadily in television. He played Staff Sergeant Charlie Hacker, the rival of Sergeant Vince Carter (Frank Sutton), on Gomer Pyle, USMC for four seasons. He also played Alice Nelson’s (Ann B. Davis) boyfriend Sam Franklin, a butcher who often brought meat for the Brady family, on The Brady Bunch for eight episodes. He became a regular cast member on All in the Family and its spin-off Archie Bunker’s Place as Barney Hefner, the best friend and neighbor of Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor). He also provided voices for many cartoons, such as Magilla Gorilla, Drooper, Bluto, Tyrone the Bulldog on The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty, and various characters on Scooby-Doo.
Allan Melvin received two Emmy nominations for his work on The Phil Silvers Show and All in the Family. He also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television for All in the Family in 1980. He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1992.
Allan Melvin’s Personal Life and Death
Allan Melvin married Amalia Faustina Sestero in 1944 in New York City. They had two children: Jennifer Hanson and Andrew Melvin. They remained married until his death in 2008.
Allan Melvin died of cancer on January 17, 2008, at his home in Los Angeles, California. He was 84 years old. His wife Amalia said that he had been ill for about a year before he passed away. She also said that he was a wonderful husband and father who loved his family very much.
Allan Melvin was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea. He is survived by his wife, his children, and his grandson.
Allan Melvin was a beloved actor who entertained millions of people with his humor and charm. He left behind a legacy of memorable roles that will always be remembered by his fans and admirers. According to IMDb, he once said: “I’ve enjoyed the stuff I’ve done but the one you’re getting paid for that’s what you enjoy most.”