Flowers are being placed Saturday on the Hollywood Walk of Fame star of Emmy-winning actor Alan Young, best remembered for playing straight man Wilbur Post opposite a talking horse in the 1960s television comedy “Mister Ed.”
Young died Thursday of natural causes at the Motion Picture & Television Home in Woodland Hills at the age of 96. He lived 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 Corp. led to a job offer in New York, and he developed “The Alan Young Show” that ran on radio from 1944- 49.
With the dawn of the television era, Young moved to the small screen with “The Alan Young Show” a variety show on CBS that ran from 1950-53 and won the Emmy in 1951 for best variety music or comedy series, beating out Milton Berle’s “Texaco Star Theater” and “Your Show of Shows.”
Young won an Emmy in 1951 as television’s best actor in a field that also included “Your Show of Shows” star Sid Caesar, Jose Ferrer, and Stan Freberg, the voice of Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent on the puppet show, “Time for Beany.”
Young also received an Emmy nomination in 1951 for outstanding personality, losing out to Groucho Marx, who hosted the quiz show, “You Bet Your Life.”
Young also appeared 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 Chatsworth architect Wilbur Post on “Mister Ed,” which premiered in syndication on Jan. 5, 1961, the moved to CBS in September 1961.
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.
Flowers are scheduled to be placed on Young’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 2 p.m. The star is located at 6925 Hollywood Blvd., near Highland Avenue.
Donations in his name can be made to the Motion Picture & Television Fund at http://www.mptf.com/tributegift and to Y.E.S. The Arc at http://www.yesthearc.org, a residential program for people with special needs.
—City News Service