‘Laugh-In’ Star Gary Owens Dead at 80

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‘Laugh-In’ Star Gary Owens Dead at 80

Postby radiofan » Fri Feb 13, 2015 3:21 pm

Laugh-In’ Star Gary Owens Dead at 80


Gary Owens, who rose to fame as the announcer on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” on NBC from 1968-73, died at his Encino, California home on Thursday. He was 80.

Born Gary Altman on May 10, 1934 in Mitchell, South Dakota, Owens began his career in radio at his hometown station KORN at age 16 in 1950, where he served as New Director. He moved to station KMA, Shenandoah, Iowa in 1956, followed by stints on radio in Omaha, Dallas, New Orleans, St. Louis and Denver, where he got his first television experience. He made the move to California in 1959 working at KROY in Sacramento, and KEWB in Oakland, finally settling in Los Angeles.

Owen began an illustrious career as a voiceover performer on animated series like “Roger Ramjet,” “Space Ghost” and “The Perils of Penelope Pitstop.” But it was zany “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” which immediately rose to the top of the rating charts and utilized his trademark hand-over-the-ear announcing style, that made him a familiar face. Owens was also a scriptwriter for Jay Ward Productions; he appeared in over 3,000 commercials; and he guest starred on sitcoms like “The Munsters” and “McHale’s Navy.” He also hosted the first season of the nighttime version of “The Gong Show;” and appeared on PBS kids-driven “Sesame Street” and “The Electric Company.”

Owens is survived by his wife of 57 years, Arleta, and sons Scott Owens, a producer, and Chris Dane Owens, a musician and producer. Donations may be made to the Children’s Diabetes Foundation.

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