Allan Melvin

Allan Melvin

N/A (passed away Jan. 17th, 2008)
Born in
Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Allan Melvin's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
The Magilla Gorilla Show TV Show
The Magilla Gorilla Show
The Phil Silvers Show TV Show
The Phil Silvers Show
Archie Bunker's Place TV Show
Archie Bunker's Place
Yogi's Gang TV Show
Yogi's Gang
Beetle Bailey TV Show
Beetle Bailey
The New Animated Adventures of Flash Gordon TV Show
The New Animated Adventures of Flash Gordon
Popeye and Son TV Show
Popeye and Son
Wake, Rattle & Roll TV Show
Wake, Rattle & Roll
Foofur TV Show
The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty TV Show
The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised in New York City, Melvin attended Columbia University. After graduation he served with the United States Navy and married his wife, Amalia Faustina Sestero, in March 1944 in New York City.

While working at a job in the sound effects department of NBC Radio, he did a nightclub act and appeared and won on the Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts radio show. While appearing on Broadway in Stalag 17, he got his break into television by getting the role of Corporal Steve Henshaw on the popular The Phil Silvers Show program. TV fans of this era usually best remember his role as Henshaw, Sergeant Bilko's right hand man on that show. "He was proudest of that show," Amalia Melvin said. "I think the camaraderie of all those guys made it such a pleasant way to work. They were so relaxed."

During this period, in addition to his role on The Phil Silvers Show, Melvin was often cast in slightly loud, occasionally abrasive, but generally friendly second banana roles. Melvin was also adept at "tough guy" roles; in an example of his range as an actor, one episode of Sergeant Bilko featured Melvin doing a recognizable impersonation of Humphrey Bogart.

In the 1960s, Melvin played Staff Sergeant Charley Hacker who was Sergeant Vince Carter's rival for four seasons on Gomer Pyle, USMC. He also made a few appearances[4] on the Dick Van Dyke Show. He also provided the voices of cartoon character Magilla Gorilla, the lion Drooper on The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, arch villain Tyrone in The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty and Bluto on The All-New Popeye Hour. Melvin also made eight guest appearances on The Andy Griffith Show in eight different roles, usually as heavies.

Melvin is remembered for supporting roles on two popular 1970s sitcoms. He played Sam Franklin, the owner of a local butcher shop and boyfriend of Alice Nelson (the Bradys' housekeeper) on The Brady Bunch, and Barney Hefner, Archie Bunker's neighbor and friend on All in the Family. In other contributions to 1970s pop culture, he was a Mel's Diner patron on Alice and worked as a voice artist (under the name "Al Melvin"). He provided several characters' voices for the TV show H.R. Pufnstuf and the voice of Vultan, King of the Hawk Men on The New Adventures of Flash Gordon.

A young Melvin in the 1950s.Some of his most prolific work has been in television commercials, for products as diverse as Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes and Remington electric razors. In the latter commercial, he sang a few bars of Frank Loesser's song "I Believe in You" with a modified lyric. He also did a series of commercials for Liquid-Plumr drain opener.

In the early 1980s, Melvin appeared as a regular in Archie Bunker's Place, a successor to All in the Family, in which he played a more important role of Barney Hefner. When this series ended in 1983, Melvin's work was exclusively devoted to cartoon voice-overs.

Allan Melvin died of cancer on January 17, 2008, aged 84.

  • He appeared in dozens of TV shows but he's best known for four recurring roles: as Cpl. Henshaw in _"The Phil Silvers Show" (1955)_ (qv), as Sgt. Charlie Hacker on _"Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." (1964)_ (qv), as Alice's boyfriend Sam on _"The Brady Bunch" (1969)_ (qv) and as Archie Bunker's best friend Barney Hefner on _"All in the Family" (1971)_ (qv).
  • Was the cartoon voice of Magilla the Gorilla.
  • Blond, block-faced and brawny support actor with the trademark sagging jowls best known for his blue-collar buddies and military cohorts on TV comedy -- could play bruising or dim-witted.
  • His daughter Mya died in 1970.
  • Has one daughter, Jennifer, still living.
  • Has a daughter, Jennifer, and a grandson.
  • Born in Kansas City, Missouri, on February 18, 1922, his family moved to New York City when he was a young boy. His father was a film salesman for Fox Film Assn.
  • Appeared in only one movie in his five-decade career -- _With Six You Get Eggroll (1968)_ (qv) starring 'Doris Day (I)' (qv) -- in which he had a minor part as a desk sergeant.

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