The film and TV world lost another one of its beloved greats today, in a year where the deaths of iconic stars seem more commonplace than ever. Alan Young, who played Wilbur Post on Mr. Ed and voiced the iconic Scrooge McDuck for three decades, passed away this morning at the age of 96. The actor had been living at the Motion Picture and Television Fund facility in Woodland Hills, California at the time of his passing.
Alan Young was born in North Shields, Northumberland, England in 1919, before relocating to Edinburgh and later to Vancouver, British Columbia as a small child. He suffered from asthma as a young boy, which caused him to be bedridden for much of his childhood, when he took up a strong interest in radio. He had already become an accomplished radio performer by the age of 13, and at 17 years of age, he started writing and performing his own show for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. After serving in the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II, he went back to his career in radio, moving to the United States where he launched The Alan Young Show in 1944. The situation comedy was broadcast on both NBC and ABC, which was eventually turned into a TV series of the same name, which ran from 1950 to 1953 and won two Emmy Awards, including one for Young himself as Best Actor in 1951.
Alan Young went on to star in a number of movies like Androcles and the Lion, Gentlemen Marry Brunettes, Tom Thumb and The Time Machine, before landing his biggest role to date, Wilbur Post on the iconic TV series Mr. Ed. The show ran for six seasons between 1961 and 1966. After the show went off the air, the actor took nearly a decade off from acting, which he devoted to running a broadcast division for the Christian Science Church in Boston. He returned in the late 1970s to provide narration for the Black Beauty TV movie, while voicing the title character, and although he would still act in movies and TV shows throughout the years, voice work became his primary passion.
In the late 1970s, Alan Young started lending his voice to several animated programs such as Battle of the Planets and The Incredible Hulk. He would take on another iconic role in 1983, when he voice Scrooge McDuck for the first time in the short film Mickey's Christmas Carol. He went on to voice the penny-pinching Scrooge in the animated TV series DuckTales, which ran from 1987 to 1990, and he also voiced a number of different characters in The Smurfs and Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Alan Young also starred as Uncle Dave Thornton in the comedy sequel Beverly Hills Cop III, a character which was loosely based on Scrooge McDuck. He went on to voice Scrooge in a number of different programs, such as Mickey Mouse Works, House of Mouse, and a number of video games. He was also the only actor to star in the original 1960 movie The Time Machine and its 2002 remake, where he played a flower store employee. He also voiced roles in shows such as Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and Ren & Stimpy. The actor is survived by four children.