Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Jerry Dexter

One of Hanna-Barbera’s best-recognised voices of the late ‘60s has passed away. I’ve received a note from Jerry Dexter’s son Jay that Jerry died June 21st. He was 78.

Jerry apparently hit his head after a fall in his home in early June.

I first heard him on Hanna-Barbera’s “Shazzan” and he also appeared on one of the Superman/Aquaman shows at produced by Filmation at the same time. His voice suited the characters; he had a quality where he never really sounded like an adult trying to do the voice of a teenager.

His most famous role is likely that as Alan on “Josey and the Pussycats;” at least, I’d argue that was his biggest cartoon hit. You can probably find a full list of his work on some web sites.

Jerry was a disc jockey during a fine period in southern California radio. He had been the publicity director at KENO Las Vegas before heading to Seattle for a morning show job at KVI in October 1959. He lasted two months, during which time he asked his listeners to drop off a peanut butter sandwich to a guy who was trapped in an elevator in the Tower Building. Staff at the office building were left figuring out what to do with 700 sandwiches after the guy was freed. In December, Jerry left for a gig at KMPC Los Angeles, age 24, then was enticed to KLAC in October 1962 for a show sponsored by Pepsi-Cola. He was replaced by a chap named Gary Owens. He hosted a KABC-TV interview show called “Good Day L.A.” in 1968, not many months after he started doing cartoon voice work. This picture of Jerry is from Jay’s collection. He was also signed as a regular on “Happy Days.” No, not that “Happy Days.” This one was a summer replacement show for Jim Nabors in 1970, featuring an extremely funny cast of (among others) Chuck McCann, Jim McGeorge, Louis Nye, Bob and Ray, Bill Oberlin and Julie McWhirter, with music by guest stars Tex Beneke and others from the Big Band era.

Jay explains his dad’s agent was Don Pitts, who represented all kinds of cartoon voice talent, including Mel Blanc and June Foray, and helped him land the job at Hanna-Barbera. Both Pitts and Jerry (and Lucille Bliss, another Pitts client) were from San Francisco.

If you’re wondering what Jerry sounds like when he’s not a teenaged boy cartoon character, here’s a video from around 1968 that’s self-explanatory.



I hadn’t read anything about his death anywhere, so I thought I would pass on word. My sympathies to Jerry’s family.

10 comments:

  1. I learned of his death yesterday and posted it this morning at https://www.facebook.com/voicesites

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  2. June! Why wasn't any information posted on newspapers or at least on voicechasers.com. How old was he? He did have a great way of doing the voices of boys in puberty or out of puberty. His best known role was Gulliver.

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  3. Rest in peace Jerry Dexter. You will be missed. And you will be remembered, too.

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    1. I agree. An old and close friend who I had been trying to find...I'm shocked that the media did not see fit to announce his passing. A great guy.RIP

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  4. Real sorry to hear of his passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.So sad. Another great one has passed. On another note,I know that Julie McWhirter would go an to marry Rick Dees, for some of her voice credits have her listed as Julie Dees.

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  5. Jerry Dexter created a lot voices during my youth. My sympathies to his family & friends.
    He will live on in my DVD collection.
    Jez

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  6. I just looked up Jerry to see where he is now. So sad to hear of his passing. I knew him in 1963 at KLAC. We made him an honorary member of the Soupy Sales Fan Club. I mention Jerry in my book on Soupy. My condolences to the family. I Remember Jerry Dexter as a really nice guy. RIP.

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  7. His real last name came from Alsace, in where is now France. May his memory be eternal!

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  8. Anonymous I am so sad to hear of Jerry Dexter's death. Jerry and his very dear Aussie friend Max will always be remembered by me.They leave such fond memories of Cannes in April and our first pulled pork sandwiches in Sonoma. Your smile and energy and of course your voice live on Jerry. Thank You.

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