Monday, July 27, 2009

July 27: Son of the Mad Hatter

On this day in 1916, character actor Keenan Wynn was born Francis Xavier Aloysius James Jeremiah Keenan Wynn in New York City. The son of comedian Ed Wynn (the voice of the Mad Hatter for Disney's Alice in Wonderland) Keenan became an actor with his dad's encouragement. (Years later it would be Keenan who encouraged his dad to take on dramatic roles.)
Keenan appeared in hundreds of movies and TV shows between 1934 and 1986 (the year he passed). Among his Disney credits - The Absent-Minded Professor & Son of Flubber (as the villainous Alonzo Hawk), Snowball Express (as Martin Ridgeway), Herbie Rides Again (as once again the character of Alonzo Hawk), and The Shaggy D.A. (as John Slade). His dad Ed also appeared with him in Son of Flubber - playing A.J. Allen.
Keenan's non-Disney credits included the classic films Annie Get Your Gun and Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. He also appeared in an epsiode of The Twilight Zone titled "A World of His Own." In 1956 he and his dad appeared together in the Playhouse 90 broadcast of Rod Serling's teleplay "Requiem for a Heavyweight." They were both hailed for their superlative work. Fans of the holiday TV special Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town may recognize Keenan as the voice of Winter Warlock!
He is interred along with his dad at Forest Lawn in Glendale, California.

"My billing has always been; 'and' or 'with' or 'including'. That's alright, let the stars take the blame." -Keenan Wynn

Click HERE for more July 27 Disney history.

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