Alan Young

Active - 1946 - 2010  |   Born - Nov 19, 1919 in North Shields, Northumberland, England  |   Died - May 19, 2016   |   Genres - Comedy, Children's/Family, Musical

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Born in England, Alan Young was raised in Canada, where his precocious talents won him work on network radio while he was still a teenager. Already quite popular in his adopted country, Young was given an ABC network radio program in the States in 1944, which confined his wide-ranging talent for music and mimicry in a standard sitcom format. Still youthful looking enough to pass for a high school kid, Young's screen debut was in the teen romance Margie (1946), which led to several years of collegiate roles (he was a college senior in Mr. Belvedere Goes to College, even though he was 30 at the time). In 1950, the actor headlined a comedy-variety TV series, CBS' The Alan Young Show, which spotlighted his pantomime skills; unfortunately, the series degenerated into yet another situation comedy when it returned to CBS in 1953 after an 11-month hiatus. In the mid-'50s, Young was offered the lead in a comedy series about a talking horse, but turned it down cold; after several years of relative inactivity, Young was more responsive to the offer, and in 1961 began a five-year run on Mister Ed as the horse's bemused master, Wilbur Post. Upon Ed's cancellation in 1965, Young turned his back on show business to devote himself to the Christian Science movement. By 1980, the actor and the Movement had come to a parting of the ways, and he was free to accept performing work again. Very little happened until Young was hired to provide the voice of Scrooge McDuck in the 1983 Disney cartoon short Mickey's Christmas Carol. He did so well with this assignment that he became the permanent voice of Scrooge in the TV cartoon series Duck Tales, which ran from 1987 through 1990 and yielded 100 episodes. In 1988, Alan Young could be seen as well as heard in Coming of Age, a CBS sitcom set in an Arizona retirement community -- the closest Young ever come to true and full retirement. He continued to voice Scrooge McDuck in various Disney shows and video games until the end of his life. Young died in 2016, at age 96.

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  • Was raised in Scotland and Canada.
  • Suffered from debilitating asthma in his youth, leaving him bedridden for long periods.
  • Tried to enlist in the military during World War II but was dismissed due to his record of poor health.
  • Began starring in his own radio show, The Alan Young Show, in 1944.
  • Originally turned down his role on Mister Ed when it was offered to him in the mid-1950's.
  • Published an autobiography, Mister Ed and Me, in 1995.