Dick Beals, a voice actor whose career spanned 70 years, died Tuesday at Vista Memory Care in Vista, California. He was 85. “He was one of the great voice actors of all time,” said Ron Simon, curator of TV and radio at the Paley Center for Media. “He was one of those anonymous people who pioneered what animation would become today.” Due to a glandular condition, Beals grew to just four-foot-six and weighed less than 70 pounds. His voice, which didn’t deepen after grade school, became his calling card in the broadcasting business, where he voiced characters in the radio shows The Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Dragnet, and Gunsmoke. After moving to Hollywood in 1952, he auditioned for the voice of Alka-Seltzer’s animated spokesman, the tablet-headed Speedy, and got the job, voicing more than 200 now-classic Alka-Seltzer commercials from 1954 to 1964. He would voice 3,000-plus commercials for the likes of Oscar Mayer, Campbell’s Soup, and Bob’s Big Boy. ”I’m the voice of little babies to 15-year-olds,” Beals said in 1992. “In cartoons, I have also been the voice of all kinds of animals – parrots, chipmunks, birds, rabbits, you name it.” Beals is probably better-known today for being the voice of the iconic bendy stop-motion titular character on the The Gumby Show in the late ’50s and as the voice of the first Davey in the early 1960s television series Davey and Goliath.
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