Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 27: Birth of a Character Actor

Born Frances Xavier Aloysius James Jeremiah Keenan Wynn in New York City to vaudeville comedian great Ed Wynn and Hilda Keenan on this day in 1927 ... you may know him better as Keenan Wynn, character actor.

He appeared in hundreds of movies and television shows between 1934 and 1986, following in the footsteps of his famous dad Ed (whose Disney credits included Mary Poppins as Uncle Albert).
Usually playing villains, Keenan's Disney live-action credits include: The Absent-Minded Professor and Son of Flubber as Alonzo P. Hawk, Snowball Express as Martin Ridgeway, Herbie Rides Again once again playing a character named Alonzo Hawk, and The Shaggy D.A. as John Slade.

If you still can't place Keenan's face ... you've probably heard his voice in such animated projects as The Last Unicorn and Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town. His non-Disney credits also include the features Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate and Finian's Rainbow and television episodes of The Twilight Zone, The Love Boat and Taxi.

Interesting to note - Keenan was initially cast to play Perry White in the 1978 Superman: The Movie, but due to health issues, he was replaced by Jackie Cooper.
Keenan remained active in show business until his death in October 1986.

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

Click HERE for much more July 27 Disney history.

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