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Ken Berry Dead: "F Troop", "Mama's Family" star was 85

The vocal and dance man who received a career boost from Leonard Nimoy also completed the award "Andy Griffith Show" by Mayberry R.F.D.

Ken Berry, a rubber-brawned actor who inspired television viewers as a disruptive captain to Wilton Parmenter on F Troop and as an accident-prone Vinton Harper from Mama's Family died. He was 85.

Berry, a spirited singing and dancing man who was encouraged in show business by his US sergeant, later star Trek legend Leonard Nimoy, died Saturday at Providence St. Joseph's Medical Center in Burbank, his former wife, actress Jackie Joseph-Lawrence, told the Hollywood Reporter .

The friendly Berry was also known for acting as Councilor Sam Jones at Mayberry RFD The spin-off of The Andy Griffith Show launched by CBS after Griffith's series left ̵

1; then number 1 in the ratings – after his eighth and final season.

Berry became famous for the portrayal of Greenhorn captain Parmenter on ABC F Troop which aired for only two seasons (65 episodes from September 1965 to April 1967), but lived for decades in syndication.

A private Parmenter was promoted to take command of Fort Courage in Kansas after sneezing. He sounded like "Charge!") And brought the Union troops to an inspiring victory over the Confederates.

Berry's goofball antics, which he renounced the dexterity of a trained dancer, provided many highlights of the show. In an interview with the US television archive in 2012, he said that he himself had found many himself.

"It was something I could bring to the show," he said. "I would choreograph things, I would find things in the set or outside that I could use, so that the F troops of 19459005 (19459006) would say," Doing Ken on set. & # 39; "

Berry's legions of fans included the great silent movie star Buster Keaton, a master of physical comedy." He called me once after the show had been the night before and said, "That was a good gag You made it last night, "he recalled. "Wow, that was a big compliment!"

After F Troop was canceled, Berry became a widowed farmer Sam in the last four episodes of The Andy Griffith Show introduced other actors in the transition to Mayberry RFD for the 1968-69 season included George Lindsey (Goober), Jack Dodson (Howard Sprague), Paul Hartman (Emmett) and Frances Bavier (Aunt Bee).

"It was scary," he said. All I hope is that you will not hurt it, I had nothing to do with the success of The Andy Griffith Show I was just hoping I would Doing nothing wrong. "

Berry performed soft-shoe routines and occasionally sang on the porch whirring homemade food like" Carolina Moon. " His son in the series was played by Jodie Foster's brother Buddy.

Despite his descent Mayberry RFD never approached the magic of his classic ancestor and was canceled after three seasons, part of the CBS cleanup in rural areas, which included Petticoat Junction Green Acres The Beverly Hillbillies saw and Hee Haw was removed from the network waves.

In 1972 he founded his own summer replacement series, the Ken Berry show "Wow" .

. When Vicki Lawrence decided to repeat her startling role as Thelma from recurrent sketches on The Carol Burnett Show Berry came aboard, first for the film in 1982 [E9005] and then as Dim Locksmith Vinton (married to Dorothy Lymon's Naomi) on Mama's Family .

The comedy debuted in 1983 and lasted two seasons on NBC, then reached syndication over four more season-ending sets.

On the big screen, the family-friendly Berry also starred in the Disney films [1945900] Herbie Rides Again (1974) and The Cat From Space (1978).

Kenneth Ronald Berry was born on November 3, 1933 in Moline, Illinois, and his mother was a housewife. As a teenager he won the chance to dance, sing and touring with the Horace Heidt Youth Opportunity Program; The troupe appeared every Sunday night in another city and even showed shows for the US Air Force personnel overseas.

Berry came home and graduated from Moline High School and joined the US Army shortly after the Korean War. He won a talent competition with a tap dance routine that earned him a trip to New York and a seat in Arlington Francis' ABC show Soldier Parade .

After Nimoy invited him to the Special Services Corps, which entertained his comrades across the country, won another talent contest; this brought him to Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town .

"Lenny told me: 'You should get in touch with some of the people in the talent departments of the studios," Berry told the TV archive interview. "I said," I do not know how to do that. "He said," Ah, I'll do it for you. "And he did that. He sent wires to the agencies and talent program managers in the various studios, got a few bites, and took Universal's." [19659003] Berry noted that he wanted a role in Francis at the Haunted House (1956), the last in the series, but the role when Mickey Rooney took place.

Meanwhile, Berry studied acting at Falcon Studios and landed a Las Vegas appearance with Abbott & Costello in the Sahara.

He became a regular at The Billy Barnes Revue which made it to Broadway, and was spotted by Lucille Ball, who came backstage and offered him a place in the new talent program at their Desilu Studios.

Berry received notice when he played the Hotel Hotel Hall Woody in the Desilu-CBS program The Ann Sothren Show and then regularly at [Bobby The Bob Newhart Show the first foray

Berry had recurring roles on two NBC series: Ensign O'Toole a show between 1962 and 1963, in which Dean Jones and Richard Chamberlains Dr. med. Kildare . His dancing background helped him with two episodes of CBS's The Dick Van Dyke Show in which he played a choreographer.

Berry also appeared more than a dozen times on [Carolyn Burnett] (19459005) show and with her in 1972 in a TV version of Once Upon a Mattress and on stage From the top. In a 1974 episode of The Brady Bunch Berry played the adoptive father of three multicultural children. The episode was meant to be a backdoor pilot, but the series was not recorded.

Berry also appeared in other television programs, including Combat! Hazel Rawhide Medical Center Small house in the prairie (where he played a circus clown), Fantasy Island and The golden girls ,

He also played throughout the country in The Music Man Oklahoma! Promises, Promises and I Do!

In 1960, Berry married the actress Jackie Joseph ( The Doris Day Show Gremlin's films), whom he captured on The [19659032] Billy Barnes Revue . They adopted two children before divorcing in 1977.

In addition to his ex-wife Jackie survives her daughter Jennifer as well as his longtime partner Susan and her nieces Bonnie and Candy.

In the TV Archive In an interview, Berry said he "did not make much money, but I made up for it in the crowd." When Mom's family was canceled, I was stunned that the phone was not more was ringing. " He had worked uninterruptedly for 40 years and decided that it was time to slow down.

The highlight of his career was undoubtedly F Troop . "I've never been so happy in my life," he said. "I was in the air for a long time, it never left me down, I felt every day when I went to work, I knew how lucky I was then."

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