Kenneth Mars

Actor
A prolific character actor with a penchant for absurd, theatrical European characters, Kenneth Mars provided some of the most uproarious moments in such classic comedies as Mel Brooks' "The Producers" (1968), "Young ... Read more »
Born: 04/03/1935 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Actor (116)

Hannah Montana 2007 (Tv Show)

Actor

Just Shoot Me 2004 (Tv Show)

Actor

Malcolm in the Middle 2002 - 2004 (Tv Show)

Actor

Good Morning, Miami 2002 (Tv Show)

Actor

Teddy Bear's Picnic 2002 (Movie)

Gene Molinari (Actor)

A Different World 1990 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Becker 1996 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Civil Wars 1984 - 1985, 1990 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Diagnosis Murder 1984 - 1985, 1990 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Evening Shade 1990 - 1991, 1993 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Hangin' With Mr. Cooper 1990 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

L.A. Law 1984 - 1985, 1990 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman 1990 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Murder, She Wrote 1984 - 1985, 1990 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Nash Bridges 1990 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Party of Five 1990 - 1991, 1995 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Perfect Strangers 1990 - 1991, 1996 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Drew Carey Show 1990 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Will & Grace 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Cow and Chicken 1997 - 1999 (TV Show)

Voice

L.A. Doctors 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1992 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea 1999 (Movie)

of King Triton (Voice)

Life With Louie 1995 - 1998 (TV Show)

Voice

Police Academy: The Series 1996 - 1998 (Tv Show)

Actor

Rough Magic 1997 (Movie)

The Magician (Actor)

The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock 1997 (Movie)

Grandpa--Voice (Actor)

The Naked Truth 1996 - 1997 (Tv Show)

Actor

Citizen Ruth 1996 (Movie)

Dr Charlie Rollins (Actor)

Darkwing Duck 1990 - 1996 (TV Show)

Voice

Countdown to Christmas 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Disney's the Little Mermaid 1992 - 1995 (TV Show)

Voice

M.A.N.T.I.S. 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists 1995 (Movie)

of Grandpa (Voice)

Hans Christian Andersen's Thumbelina 1994 (Movie)

of King Colbert (Voice)

Land Before Time III: The Time of the Great Giving 1994 (Movie)

of Grandpa (Voice)

Sex, Shock and Censorship in the 90's 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Tom 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Tom and Jerry Kids Show 1990 - 1994 (TV Show)

Voice

A Whale of a Tale 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Voice

Fievel's American Tails 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Voice

My Little Pony 'n' Friends 1986 - 1993 (TV Show)

Voice

The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure 1993 (Movie)

of Grandpa (Voice)

We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story 1993 (Movie)

of Professor ScrewEyes (Voice)

Mimi & Me 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Shadows and Fog 1992 (Movie)

Magician (Actor)

The Adventures of Don Coyote and Sancho Panda 1990 - 1992 (TV Show)

Voice

I'll Take Romance 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Shades of L.A. 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

A DuckTales Valentine 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Voice

Police Academy 6: City Under Siege 1989 (Movie)

Mayor (Actor)

The Flintstone Kids 1986 - 1989 (TV Show)

Narrator

The Little Mermaid 1989 (Movie)

of Triton (Voice)

For Keeps 1988 (Movie)

Mr Bobrucz (Actor)

Illegally Yours 1988 (Movie)

Hal Keeler (Actor)

Rented Lips 1988 (Movie)

Reverend Farrell (Actor)

The Facts of Life 1979 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Radio Days 1987 (Movie)

Rabbi Baumel (Actor)

Hugh Pine 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Voice

The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Voice

The Adventures of the American Rabbit 1986 (Movie)

of Vultor/Buzzard (Voice)

The Last Precinct 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

The New Jetsons 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Voice

Beer 1985 (Movie)

A J Norbecker (Actor)

Fletch 1985 (Movie)

Stanton Boyd (Actor)

Saturday Supercade 1983 - 1985 (TV Show)

Voice

The Biskitts 1983 - 1985 (TV Show)

Voice

Full House 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Actor

Prince Jack 1984 (Movie)

Lyndon B Johnson (Actor)

Protocol 1984 (Movie)

Lou (Actor)

Laverne and Shirley With the Fonz 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Voice

Yellowbeard 1983 (Movie)

Mr Crisp (Actor)

Laverne and Shirley in the Army 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Voice

Flintstone Family Adventures 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Voice

Full Moon High 1981 (Movie)

Coach (Actor)

Before and After 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

Carol Burnett and Company 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again 1979 (Movie)

Marshal Wooly Bill Hitchcock (Actor)

You Can't Take It With You 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

America 2-Night 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Goin' Coconuts 1978 (Movie)

Kruse (Actor)

Sha Na Na 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

The Fighting Nightingales 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Full House 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Actor

Van Dyke and Company 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Actor

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Actor

Night Moves 1975 (Movie)

Nick (Actor)

The Parallax View 1974 (Movie)

Will--Former FBI Agent (Actor)

Young Frankenstein 1974 (Movie)

Inspector Kemp (Actor)

Comedy News 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

Comedy News II 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

The Karen Valentine Show 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

Second Chance 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)

Actor

What's Up Doc? 1972 (Movie)

Hugh Simon (Actor)

Shepherd's Flock 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Actor

The Don Knotts Show 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Actor

Desperate Characters 1970 (Movie)

Otto (Actor)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969 (Movie)

Marshal (Actor)

The April Fools 1969 (Movie)

Don Hopkins (Actor)

Viva Max! 1969 (Movie)

Dr Sam Gillison (Actor)

He and She 1966 - 1968 (TV Show)

Actor

The Producers 1967 (Movie)

Franz Liebkind (Actor)

Bruno the Kid (TV Show)

Voice

Bunco (TV Show)

Actor

Chocolate Fever (TV Show)

Voice

Foofur (TV Show)

Voice

Get Smart, Again! (TV Show)

Actor

Misfits of Science (TV Show)

Actor

Runaway Virus (TV Show)

Actor

Someone I Touched (TV Show)

Actor

The Rules of Marriage (TV Show)

Actor

You Wish (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

A prolific character actor with a penchant for absurd, theatrical European characters, Kenneth Mars provided some of the most uproarious moments in such classic comedies as Mel Brooks' "The Producers" (1968), "Young Frankenstein" (1974), and countless television shows, features and animated programs. An oversized talent in every sense, the chief weapon in Mars' comedy arsenal was his voice, which seemed to adapt to any variety of accents, including deranged Germans in "Producers" and "Frankenstein," kindly father figures like King Triton in "The Little Mermaid" (1989), and all manner of outlandish humans and animals in network cartoons. Along the way, Mars enjoyed roles in films by Woody Allen ("Radio Days," 1987), George Roy Hill ("Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," 1972), Arthur Penn ("Night Moves," 1975) and Peter Bogdanovich (1972's "What's Up, Doc?"), but it was his roles in the Brooks films and his animated work that ensured his favored status with movie lovers until his death in 2011.

Born in Chicago, IL on April 14, 1936, Kenneth Mars began his onscreen acting career in 1962 on the sitcom "Car 54, Where Are You?" (NBC, 1961-63), and soon became a staple of television comedies and dramas. In 1967, he landed his first role as a series regular on the Emmy-winning "He & She" (CBS, 1967-1970) as Harry Zarakartos, a jocular Greek fireman who would drop in on the show's stars, real life married couple Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss, by crossing a plank that connected their apartment to the firehouse across the street. The following year, Mars gained his breakthrough role as Franz Liebkind in "The Producers." A certifiably insane former Nazi, Liebkind penned the musical "Springtime for Hitler," which was purchased and produced by Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) and Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder) in the hopes of defrauding its investors. Mars' performance, which brought new levels of definition to the word "committed," was highly praised, and cemented him in the minds of audiences and casting directors alike as an eccentric German or other Middle European.

The popularity of "The Producers" gave Mars' career a considerable boost, and he soon graduated to major supporting roles in Hollywood features. Most of these were comedies, which gave him a fine canvas for his broad talents: in "The April Fools" (1969), he was teamed with Melinda Dillon as an over-the-top married couple, while Peter Bogdanovich's "What's Up, Doc?" (1972) cast him as the fraudulent Croatian scientist who competed with Ryan O'Neal for a grant. His greatest comic role of the 1970s was that of Inspector Kemp in Brooks' Oscar-nominated "Young Frankenstein" (1974). A parody of Lionel Atwill's dogged, one-armed inspector in "Son of Frankenstein" (1939), Kemp sported a wooden arm with a mind of its own, as well as an accent so thick that his own countrymen could barely understand him. Mars was also a staple of TV sitcoms during this period, most notably as the hapless W.D. "Bud" Prize, who had invented "chinodontics" to realign his face, on "Fernwood 2-Nite" (syndicated, 1977).

Though primarily considered a comedic actor, Mars was also a capable dramatic performer who brought gravity and sympathy to these infrequent turns. He enjoyed a rare co-lead in "Desperate Characters" (1971), a downbeat drama about a pair of alienated New Yorkers (Shirley MacLaine and Mars) whose marriage begins to crumble, as well as played a small town sheriff who attempts to track down "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1972). As with his comedy work, Mars was best used to flesh out supporting roles, like the detective in "Night Moves" (1975) who tried to lend a hand to struggling P.I. Gene Hackman.

Mars' best work in the 1960s and 1970s provided him with steady if unremarkable work throughout the 1980s and 1990s, mostly on episodic television. There were also infrequent appearances in theatrical features like "Yellowbeard" (1983) and "Fletch" (1985), which made use of his knack for accents and pompous authority figures; Woody Allen also tapped him for "Radio Days" (1987) as an irate rabbi, and his darker "Shadows and Fog" (1992) as the wistful Armstead the Magician, who helped to subdue the film's mysterious strangler. However, Mars' most frequent showcase during this period was in animated films like "The Land Before Time" (1988) and its numerous sequels, as well as television shows like "Freakazoid!" (The WB, 1995-97) and "Batman: The Animated Series" (The WB, 1992-95). In 1989, he voiced King Triton, father of "The Little Mermaid," and reprised the role in subsequent direct-to-video sequels and a weekly series (CBS, 1992-94), as well as the "Kingdom Hearts" (Square Enix, 2006- ) video games.

Mars continued to balance his busy schedule of animation voiceover work and guest roles on television, including a recurring role on "Malcolm in the Middle" (Fox, 2000-06) as Otto Mannkusser, the gullible owner of a dude ranch with a typically broad Germanic accent. He remained active until his death on Feb. 12, 2011 from pancreatic cancer. In addition to his acting career, Mars also recorded a comedy album, Henry the First (1975), which featured his impressions of Henry Kissinger in numerous bits, including a cover of Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care of Business."

EDUCATION

Northwestern University

Evanston , Illinois

Milestones

1985

Debut as voice actor in animated TV series, "The New Jetsons"

1982

Debut in a miniseries, "The Rules of Marriage"

1972

Debut in a TV-movie, "Second Chance"

1972

First co-starring role in a feature, "What's Up, Doc?"

1970

Star of an unsold pilot, "Shepherd's Flock"

1967

Debut as regular in a comedy TV series, "He and She"

1967

Feature debut, "The Producers"

First big break playing Max in a national touring company of "The Sound of Music"

Born and raised in Chicago

First became involved in dramatics at a local radio station

Appeared on Broadway in "Any Wednesday" with Sandy Dennis

SIMILAR ARTICLES