Arnold Stang, Comic Sidekick and Voice Actor, Dies at 91

The actor is remembered for playing nerdy characters alongside Frank Sinatra and Arnold Schwarzenegger

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If there's one thing everybody's remembering about comic actor Arnold Stang, who died on Sunday at 91, it's his charmingly dweeby, milquetoast on-screen persona. Acting alongside Frank Sinatra--as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger--Stang played roles in everything from It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and Dennis the Menace to Cheerios commercials. Stang died at age 91 in Newton, Massachussets. Here's what people are remembering:

  • His 'Nerdy' Image  Mark Pratt emphasizes the actor's slight, awkward features in his obituary for the AP. He says Stang was "known for his nerdy looks and distinctive nasal voice," and refers to him as "the slight and diminutive Stang."
  • Last of His Kind, writes Ann Althouse. Althouse mourns the "last of the milquetoast triumverate," and laments that she can't find footage of a classic Stang commercial--"the old 'What a chunk o' chocolate' Chunky commercial. (Great commercial, but it never tricked me into trying what was obviously a disgusting candy bar.) ... What is YouTube for if not for that?"
  • A Serious Actor Built for Comedy, writes Bruce Weber in the New York Times. "Mr. Stang considered himself a dramatic actor who could play serious roles. But even he was aware that with his signature heavy glasses and a manner that could be eagerly solicitous, despondently whiny or dare-you-to-hit-me pugnacious, his forte was comedy."
  • Side Careers in Cartoons and on Broadway, writes Wenn at Stang moonlighted as a voice actor, using his nasally tone for "numerous cartoon characters, including Nurtle the Turtle in the 1965 film Pinocchio in Outer Space and 1960s animated U.S. TV series Top Cat." On top of his film work, Stang was also known for "appearing on the New York stage three times."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.