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Arnold Stang 1918-2009

One of my favorite actors and character animation voices, Arnold Stang, has passed away at age 91. In animation, Stang will live forever as the voice of Hanna-Barbera’s Top Cat (1961). Stang was also unforgettable as wise-guy Herman Mouse (aka “Uncle Hoiman”) in the Paramount (Harvey) Herman and Katnip cartoons — and Blackie Sheep in the early Noveltoons. He also voiced Snurtle the Turtle in Pinocchio In the Outer Space (1965), Churchy LeFemme in I Go Pogo (1980), Quesy the Parrot in Richard Williams’ Raggedy Ann and Andy (1977) and voiced characters on Garfield, Courage the Cowardly Dog, among others.

In live action, he appeared in so many of my favorite movies (such as It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World) and guilty pleasures (Skidoo, Hercules in New York). His sequence with Jonathan Winters in Mad Mad World is one of the funniest and most memorable bits in that film. The publicity photo above promotes the American-International dub of Alakazam The Great (1961), in which Stang (center) participated with Winters (left) (and I think that’s Jackie Joseph at right) on the English track.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Stang. Here’s the NY Times obit.

  • Bill Turner

    I never got to meet the man, but he was one of my favorites as well.

  • I have always loved Arnold Stang! He’s the best.

    . . . One credit they didn’t mention is, I think maybe he was the Honey Nut Cheerios bee, in an earlier, funnier-sounding incarnation. Or maybe it was just somebody doing a Stang impersonation. ?

  • uncle wayne

    and, how can we forget??, Popeye’s pal, “Shorty!” only in 2-3 films. Mr. S. was very young then!

  • John A

    A wonderfully talented man. My condolences to his family. Thanks to his work in animation, he’ll be entertaining generations of children long into the future. R.I.P.,T.C.

  • I got the pleasure of working with Arnold on LYLE LYLE CROCODILE. The session ended in an argument between him and composer Charles Strouse. I had to take charge as director and quiet them both down so we could get the recording done. I, of course, apologized to Arnold, told him what a great job he was doing, and continued recording the song – while Charles fumed alongside me.

    After the session, I discussed it privately with Mr. Strouse and we ended up with a great track. Right up to this year, I’ve exchanged Christmas cards with Arnold. Unfortunately, this year will be a sad one.

  • William

    RIP, Mr. Stang. You were always a favorite.

  • Robert Barker

    I remember him from the late 1950s, doing Chunky candy bar commercials during breaks of The Adventures of Superman. I also have a 99-cent store DVD of him on the Berle show in the mid-50s, where he was a recurring character. To be honest I thought he had passed away decades ago. Did he really do Shorty in the Famous Studio Popeyes? I thought it was him, but I wasn’t sure.

  • Arnold, you’re my animation hero. We’ll miss you, old pal.

  • Christopher Cook

    Any reason given as to why Stang didn’t voice Top Cat in 1972’s “Yogi’s Ark Lark”? In that, T.C. voiced by Daws Butler sounding more like Hair Bear than T.C. (Stang did return to voice T.C. in the 1980s.)

  • I met him in Grand Central Terminal about 15 or so years ago – we were in line together and when I realized he was standing behind me, I just started laughing. I apologized and thanked him for entertaining me all these years ! He was SO nice and gracious !

  • “Tony, I think it’s one of them hippies!”

  • Rest in peace Arnold. (not a bad innings either at 91)

  • raccoonradio

    There should be a Stang interview on YouTube (via TC box set). And furry Richard Concepcion, aka Rapid T Rabbit, interviewed him (IIRC) on his Manhattan cable TV kids show

  • Peter

    That’s so sad, I was a big fan. I met him once in an elevator during the grunge era. I gushed over him and he looked like he was used to getting recognized. He was very nice though. I told him I loved Top Cat and he said, “Yeah, yeah, people still love Top Cat!” I did my best to let him feel appreciated. And like Christian above me there, I too am a fan of “Skidoo!”

  • Top Cat is still one of my favorite cartoon characters. Mr. Stang’s voice and acting certainly shared the spotlight. He will be missed.

  • What a great loss – and not so far since loosing Roy Disney either :(

    Still, at least ol’ T.C will still be answering Dibble’s phone up there, along with the good ones.

    Many, many thanks for the memories and laughs, Stang.

  • Its really nice to see how the Voice Over community remembers Mr. Stang, RIP.

  • Collin Kellogg

    “Stop! You’re breakin’ my Hah-t!” (heart) –Blackie Sheep

  • We’ll miss you, T.C. & Cousin Hoiman & Honey Nut Cheerios Bee & Popeye’s pal Shorty (whom Mr. Stang voiced in “Moving Aweigh”).

  • Vixie

    Interesting thst a poster mentions Rapid T Rabbit, as he and Arnold Stang were friends for many years. My memory of Arnold Stang goes back to a morning I was at Rapid’s place in NYC, waiting for a car to take me back to the airport. Richard had already left for his job, and I was alone. The phone rang, and I answered, thinking it was the car company. To my surprise, it was Arnold Stang calling for Richard. I didn’t get to say much, and he asked me to leave a message for Richard to call him back. Kind of a weird way to remember someone, but I’ll always remember leaving a message to call Arnold Stang back when you get home.

  • Paul Spector

    Rest In Peace, Man.

  • TK

    Whoa… Just as I discovered Top Cat a few days ago, this happened. I’ve never watched TC before until seeing it on Teletoon Retro, and at the moment I first heard TC’s voice I was instantly hooked. We’ll miss such unique voice. R.I.P.

  • How many people are instantly funny when you see or hear them? Arnold Stang sure was.

  • I love Arnold Stang too. I woke up to a flood of emails about Arnold Stang this morning from strangers and friends alike. I never met him, although some of the emails referred to me as an Arnold Stang expert(!), which I admit I am definitely not.

    I did write an appreciation of the man a couple years ago for WFMU, however, full of links over here:

  • Mike Fontanelli

    He’s probably best remembered as Top Cat or Uncle Miltie’s smartass sidekick – or even playing straight opposite Frank Sinatra in The Man With the Golden Arm – but I’ll always remember him as the guy who delivered the immortal line: “Irwin, we’re gonna have to kill him!” from Mad, Mad World, which I’ve seen way too many times for my own good.

  • Tom Ruegger

    Christopher Cook says: Any reason given as to why Stang didn’t voice Top Cat in 1972’s “Yogi’s Ark Lark”? (Stang did return to voice T.C. in the 1980s.)

    Don’t know about why Arnold wasn’t used on “Ark Lark.” But, yes, Arnold did return to voice Top Cat for every episode of “Yogi’s Treasure Hunt” in the mid-80’s. The character of Top Cat was the top guy at mission control, assigning the quest in each episode. For each recording, we phone-patched Arnold in from New York. No one did Arnold Stang’s Top Cat better than Arnold!

    BTW, Arnold’s “Top Cat” voice was a lot straighter and calmer than the more blown-out and excited voice performed by Arnold in the “Chunky chocolate bar” ads in the 60’s.

  • Tim Kelly

    He was also Catfish in the Misterjaws cartoons! One of my favorites.

  • top cat james

    In just two days, we lost Top Cat and Luanne Platter.

    RIP Mr. Stang and Ms. Murphy

  • top cat james

    Oh, almost forgot…

    “Throats get fixed with Vick’s!”

  • sporridge

    From 25 years ago, but rather appropriate today (“The World, The Flesh & Robot Monster”):

  • Ken Layton

    Another legendary voice now gone. :( I will remember him best as Herman the Mouse.

    Rest in Peace.

  • Mike Johnson

    My first introduction to Arnold Stang was (as any child of the ’60s) through Top Cat and Herman and catnip. I was always interested in cartoons primarily for the voices, and it fascinated me that people got paid good money to sit behind a microphone and talk in silly voices.

    What’s funny to me is that when I first saw Mr. Stang (in It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World) it seemed to me that he looked exactly like I pictured he would look!

    How interesting that you feature the promo picture from Alakazam the Great, as that is one of my all-time favorite animated films, and his performance as Lulipopo was yet another delight for me.

    How sad to lose such a great talent…my condolences to all who loved him.

    “Don’t cry because he is gone…smile because he was here…”

  • Mick Collins

    Arnold Stang was perhaps my favourite cartoon voice as a kid (followed closely by Hans Conried). His so-thick-you-couldn’t-cut-it-with-a-machete Brooklyn accent was hypnotic. If I heard it, I couldn’t leave the TV. I’ve lived in Brooklyn for a couple of years now, and sadly, have only heard one other person speak with the True Sound Of Brooklyn, vis. Mr. Stang.

    Interestingly, I was never able to put a name to the voice (or face) until a couple of years ago, when I read the tribute by Kliph above (Hi Kliph!), right *after* I’d purchased the complete ‘Top Cat’ DVD set. I realised I’d been hearing and seeing this guy my whole life!

    Arnold Stang was a truly unique voice in motion picture history; I never met him, but he’ll live forever in my a/v system…

  • Bob Porrazzo

    If I may borrow a title from Top Cat, Stang is now literally, “The Late T.C.” Thank You Arnold Stang for years of comedy. Goodbye T.C.

  • Joseph Nebus

    I’m a little embarrassed to admit here that I liked Stang’s work best not from the cartoons he did, but rather from old-time radio, particularly on The Henry Morgan Show. Still, great voice acting is great voice acting, and he did it.

  • David Breneman

    I hope he won’t be remembered primarily for the execrable “Herman and Catnip” cartoons. Sure, everybody needs a paycheck, but he did so much good work, too. Like many great voice talents, he started out in radio. It’s a real shame that we don’t have that proving ground for voices anymore.

  • Yes, Arnold was one of the very few showbiz heroes I’ve had all my life. Although I’ve known him since 1978 chatting with him by phone on many occaisions, I only actually met him in person twice…at the time I interviewed him on my TV show and then again a year later when he visited the flagship Warner Bros. Studio Store in New York while I was there wearing the Bugs Bunny costume…Arnold had then recently appeared in the Dennis The Menace movie.

    You can download my full half hour 1993 interview with Arnold in MPEG4 from this link:

    Aside from his more memorable radio, TV and movie roles, Arnold recorded quite a few children’s stories on vinyl records. My favorite of these was “Harry the Horse” about a merry-go-round horse who got tired of going round and round all day. I’ve always been a major carousel fan and that story was part of my collection of related memorabilia.

    On the morning of Arnold’s funeral, I phoned his wife Joanne to offer my condolences. She told me that Arnold was rather fond of me as a loyal fan and was happy to know me.

    Thank you Arnold for making me smile and laugh, for your inspiration and your company. Rest in peace my friend.

  • Mark Mayfield

    Voice people like him are few and far between. He was a special one.