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Ken Berry Dead: F Troop, & # 39; & Mama's Family & # 39; Star was 85

The singer and dancer, who received a career draw from Leonard Nimoy, also toppled "Andy Griffith Show" spinoff "Mayberry R.F.D."…

The singer and dancer, who received a career draw from Leonard Nimoy, also toppled “Andy Griffith Show” spinoff “Mayberry R.F.D.”

Ken Berry, the rubbery actor as a happy television viewer as the blundering Capt. Wilton Parmenter on F Troop and as the unlucky Vinton Harper of Mama’s family died. He was 85 years old.

Berry, a smooth song and danceman encouraged in show business by his US Army Sergeant, Future Star Trek The legend Leonard Nimoy, died on Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, his ex-wife, actress Jackie Joseph-Lawrence, told The Hollywood Reporter .

The lovely Berry was also known for playing as Sam Jones City Council on Mayberry RFD ] The Spinoff of The Andy Griffith Show created by CBS after Griffith left the series &#821

1; then number 1 in the grades – after their eighth and last season.

Berry came to fame to portray Greenhorn Captain Parments on ABC’s F Troop which moved for only two seasons (65 episodes from September 1965 to April 1967) but lived in syndication for decades.

A private parmenter was promoted to take command of Fort Courage in Kansas after his sneezing (whic h sounded like “Charge!”) Pushed the Union troops into an inspiring victory over the federations.

Berry’s goofball antics, which he delivered with a skillful dancer’s skill, delivered many of the highlights of the show. In an interview with the American TV Archive in 2012, he said that he brought many of the talk to himself.

“There was something I could bring to the show,” he said. “I would choreograph things. I would find things in the set or the outside that I could use. [Determined F Troop manuscript would say:” Business is to be developed with Ken on the set. & # 39; “

Berry’s legions of fans included the great silent movie star Buster Keaton, a master of physical comedy.” He called me once after the show had been on the night before and said, “It was a good gag you did tonight, “he recalls. “Wow, that was a high praise!” After F Troop was interrupted, Berry introduced widow Sam the last four episodes of The Andy Griffith Show other actors who make the transition to Mayberry RFD For the 1968-69 season, George Lindsey (Goober), Jack Dodson (Howard Sprague), Paul Hartman (Emmett) and Frances Bavier (Aunt Bee) included.

“It was scary,” he said. “I went into it with great anxiety. All you hope is you do not hurt it. I had nothing to do with the success of The Andy Griffith Show . I just hoped I would not do anything Wrong. “

Berry performed soft shoe routines and would sometimes sing on the porch, crooning such homespun fare as” Carolina Moon “. His son in the series was played by Jodie Foster’s brother, Buddy.

Despite his family, Mayberry R.F.D. never approached the magic of his classical ancestor and interrupted after three seasons, part of the CBS purification of rural exhibits that also saw Petticoat Junction Green Acres Beverly Hillbillies and Hee Haw is removed from the airwaves of the network.

In 1972 he headed his own summer exchange series Ken Berry & Wow & # 39; Show .

When Vicki Lawrence decided to reproduce his troubled role as Thelma from recurring sketches on Carol Burnett Show Berry came on board, first for the 1982 film Eunice and then as the little locksmith Vinton (married to Dorothy Lymon’s Naomi) on Mama’s family .

The comedy debuted in 1983 and lasted two seasons on NBC and then achieved star ratings for four seasons in syndication.

On the big screen, the family-friendly Berry also featured in the Disney Movies Herbie Rides Again (1974) and The Cat from the Outer Space (1978).

Kenneth Ronald Berry was born November 3, 1933 in Moline, Ill. His father was an accountant and his mother a housewife. As a teenager he won a chance to dance, sing and tour with The Horace Heidt Youth Opportunity Program; The squad was performed in another city every Sunday night and also showed offshore for US air force personnel.

Berry came home and graduated from Moline High School and then went to the US Army shortly after the Korean War. He won a talent contest with a tap dance routine that made him a trip to New York and a place at Soldier Parade an ABC show hosted by Arlene Francis.

After Nimoy invited him to Special Services Corps, who hosted other troops around the country, Berry won another talent contest; This one got him on Ed Sullivans Toast of the Town .

“Lenny told me,” You should get in touch with some of the people in the talent departments in the studios, “Berry told TV Archive interview.” I said, “I do not know how to do it.” He said: 39; Oh, I’ll do it for you. & # 39; And he did. He sent management to agencies and those responsible for talent programs at the various studios. I got a couple of pieces and I took it from Universal.

Berry noted that he was in a role in Francis in The Haunted House (1956), the last one in the series, but now part of Mickey Rooney instead.

Meanwhile, Berry studied that act at Falcon Studios and landed a concert Las Vegas with Abbott & Costello at the Sahara.

He became regular with Billy Barnes Revue who made it to Broadway, and was discovered by Lucille Ball, who came behind him offered him a place in the new talent program at her Desilu Studios.

Berry won a message to play the Woody Hotel Shop on the Desilu CBS Program Ann Sothren Show and then regularly on The Bob Newhart Visa Standup Comedian’s First Prediction on TV, 1962.

Berry had recurring roles on two NBC series: Ensign Toole A 1962-63 show stared Dean Jones and Richard Chamberlains Dr. Kildare . His dance background helped him to land him two episodes of CBS Dick Van Dyke Show where he played a choreographer.

Berry also appeared more than a dozen times on The Carol Burnett Visa and performed with her in a 1972 television version of Once Upon a Mattress and on the scene of From the Top.

In a 1974 episode of the last season of Brady Bunch Berry played the adoptive father of three multiracial children.

Berry also appeared on other TV shows including Combat! Hazel Medical Center The Little House on the Prärien (where he played a circus rock), Fantasy Island and The Golden Girls .

He also performed around the country The Music Man Oklahoma! Promises, Promises and I do! 19659032] Billy Barnes Revue . They adopted two children before divorce in 1977.

In addition to their ex-wife Jackie, their daughter Jennifer survives him, like his prolonged partner, Susan and Niches Bonnie and Candy.

In the TV Archive interview Berry told him that he “did not earn a lot of money, but I made up for it in quantity.” When the Mama family was interrupted, I was surprised that the phone did not ring anymore. “He had worked nonstop for 40 years and decided that it was time to slow down.

The career highlight was undoubtedly F Troop .” I’ve never been so fond of my life, “said he. “I went for a long time in the air, it never dropped me, so I felt every day I went to work. I knew how happy I was then. “

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