Funeral services were pending Friday for actor Alan Young, best remembered for playing straight man Wilbur Post opposite a talking horse in the TV comedy “Mister Ed.”

Alan Young as Wilbur Post with the talking horse Mister Ed. Image via YouTube.com
Young, 96, died Thursday of natural causes at the Motion Picture & Television Home in Woodland Hills. He was living in the retirement community for more than four years.

Born in northern England, Young was raised in Scotland and then Canada, where he began working on radio as a teenager, both as a writer and a performer. His work on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation led to a job offer in New York, and he developed “The Alan Young Show” that ran on radio from 1944-49.

When the dawn of the television era, Young moved to the small screen, with “The Alan Young Show” running for three seasons on CBS.

He went on to appear in a series of films, in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, including “Mr. Belvedere Goes to College,” “Gentlemen Marry Brunettes” and “The Time Machine.” Decades later, he appeared in “Beverly Hills Cop III,” starring Eddie Murphy.

He gained fame, however, with the role of Wilbur Post on “Mister Ed.” Wilbur often became the foil of shenanigans by his horse, Mister Ed, who would talk to Wilbur but nobody else — although he would also occasionally make telephone calls that inevitably led to trouble for Wilbur.

The show ended its run in 1966.

Although he took a roughly 10-year break from television, Young resurfaced in the 1970s, appearing in films and various TV shows, including “The Love Boat,” “St. Elsewhere,” “ER,” “Coach,” “Party of Five” and “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.”

Young was also the voice of Scrooge McDuck in Disney’s “DuckTales” series. He also lent his voice to characters in “The Smurfs” animated series of the 1980s.

Young was married three times and had four children. Officials at the MPTF said his children were at his side when he died.

Donations in his name can be made to the Motion Picture & Television Fund and to Y.E.S. The Arc, a residential program for people with special needs.

— City News Service

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