85 (passed away May. 19th, 2005)
Jan. 6th, 1920
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Although versatile character actor and voice extraordinaire Henry Corden will forever be associated with, and fondly remembered for, providing the bellicose, gravel-toned rasp of cartoon immortal Fred Flintstone, he enjoyed a long and varied career prior to this distinction, which took up most of his later years. Born in Montreal, Canada, on January 6, 1920, Henry's family moved to New York while he was still a child.
Henry received his start on stage and radio before heading off to Hollywood in the 1940s. He made his film debut as a minor heavy in the Danny Kaye vehicle The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) as Boris Karloff's bestial henchman, and continued on along those same lines, often in unbilled parts. A master at dialects, he was consistently employed as either an ethnic Middle Eastern villain or some sort of streetwise character (club manager, salesman) in 1950s costumed adventures and crime yarns, both broad and serious.
He seldom made it into the prime support ranks, however, with somewhat insignificant parts in Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion (1950), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Viva Zapata! (1952), Scaramouche (1952), I Confess (1953), King Richard and the Crusaders (1954), Jupiter's Darling (1955) and The Ten Commandments (1956). On TV he could regularly be found on both drama ("Perry Mason," "The Untouchables") and light comedy ("My Little Margie," "Mister Ed"). A heightened visibility on TV included playing Barbara Eden (I)'s genie father on the popular sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie," and the contentious landlord "Mr. Babbitt" on "The Monkees."
Henry made a highly lucrative move into animation in the 1960s supplying a host of brutish voices on such cartoons as "Jonny Quest," "The Jetsons," "Secret Squirrel," "Atom Ant," "Josie and the Pussycats" and "The Harlem Globetrotters." A well-oiled talent for Hanna-Barbera, he reached his zenith after inheriting the voice of the studio's beloved, boorish Flintstone character after the show's original vocal owner, Alan Reed (I), passed away in 1977. Corden would go on to give life to Flintstone for nearly three decades on various revamped cartoon series, animated specials and cereal commercials. He was performing as Flintstone, in fact, until about three months prior to his death of emphysema at the age of 85 on May 19, 2005. Married four times, he was survived by wife Angelina, his two children from his first marriage, and three stepchildren from his last union. Unlike the crass guys and gruff villains he tended to articulate on film and TV, Henry was actually a humble, modest man, well loved and respected by friends, family and peers.
- Following his death, he was given a special mention by 'Jay Leno' (qv) in one of his opening monologues on the "Tonight Show."
- After replacing 'Alan Reed (I)' (qv) as the voice of Fred Flintstone, Corden took some time to learn the voice because he had to imitate Reed as close as possible, learning by listening to tapes. In later years he made the character more his own and less imitative of Reed, gearing it closer to the character's inspiration of 'Jackie Gleason (I)' (qv)'s Ralph Kramden character on "The Honeymooners."
- Developed a friendly association with 'Boris Karloff' (qv) while making his film bow in _The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)_ (qv). He played Karloff's boorish henchman. in the movie. Karloff more or less took Henry under his wing and worked with him in a couple of subsequent other projects.
- Father of two children from his first marriage, and father of three stepchildren from his final marriage. Had five grandchildren.
- Survived by two daughters, Dawna and Robyn, from his first wife Thelma, and three stepchildren from his 10-year marriage to fourth wife Angelina--Erik, Derek and Monica.
- Performed on the live stage frequently with good friend 'Buster Keaton' (qv).
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