Kenneth Mars was an
American television, film and voice actor. He may be best-remembered
for his roles in several Mel Brooks films: the insane Nazi playwright
Franz Liebkind in 1968's The Producers (below with Gene Wilder and
Zero Mostel), and the relentless Police Inspector Hans Wilhelm
Fredrich Kemp in 1974's Young Frankenstein.
Mars made his TV acting
debut in 1962 as a book publisher on the comedy series Car 54, Where
Are You?. Afterwards, he appeared on such television series as
Gunsmoke, Get Smart, McMillan & Wife, and The Bob Crane Show.
Mars played Harry Zarakartos on the sitcom He & She. Mars was
featured in a number of small roles in programs such as the Misfits
of Science pilot episode and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Shadowplay".
Mars often played
characters with exaggerated accents. He was German in The Producers
and Young Frankenstein, and was the Croatian musicologist Hugh Simon
in What's Up, Doc?.
His first broadly accented
character was that of Sir Evelyn Oakleigh in the 1962 Off-Broadway
revival of the Cole Porter musical, Anything Goes. He was also in the
1962 Broadway play The Affair.
He was cast opposite Bette
Davis in Hello Mother, Goodbye!, a 1973 television pilot that was
aired by NBC but never added to its schedule. From 1970 until 1974 he
guest starred in five episodes of Love, American Style, playing
random characters. In 1977, he became a series regular on both the
Sha Na Na variety series and on Fernwood 2-Night, where he played
William W.D. "Bud" Prize on the fictional comedy talk show,
later appearing on America 2-Night in the same role.
Mars appeared in several
seasons of Malcolm in the Middle as Otto, Francis's well-meaning but
dim-witted boss. Mars cultivated a lengthy voice acting career,
launching it by voicing several characters on Uncle Croc's Block.
Other voice work included the roles of Ariel's father King Triton in
The Little Mermaid and the villainous Professor Screweyes in We're
Back! A Dinosaur's Story, as well as voicing Triton in Kingdom Hearts
and Kingdom Hearts II, Littlefoot's Grandpa Longneck in The Land
Before Time movie series and the spin-off television series, and
Sweet Williams in Fievel's American Tails, which took place after An
American Tail: Fievel Goes West. He also voiced characters on many
animated television series, such as The Smurfs,The Biskitts, A Pup
Named Scooby-Doo, Tale Spin, and Animaniacs, as well as video games,
such as Fallout and Kingdom Hearts.
Mars died of pancreatic
cancer on February 12th, 2011 at aged 75.