Saturday, January 19, 2008

Brady's Butcher Sam Passes Away

According to various reports in the media, character actor Allan Melvin, best known for playing Sam the Butcher on The Brady Bunch, has passsed way at the age of 84. As his wife of 64-years Amelia Melvin told The Associated Press, Allan succombed to cancer Thursday at his home in the Brentwood section of L.A.

The thespian made a career of playhing sidekicks, second bananas and lovable goofs, including Archie Bunker's friend Barney Hefner on All in the Family, and Sgt. Bilko's right-hand man Cpl. Henshaw on the The Phil Silvers Show. But his spot in pop-culture history is forever fixed as butcher and bowler Sam Franklin, the love interest of Brady family maid Alice Nelson, who was played by Ann B. Davis. Melvin played the role from 1970 to 1973.

Born in Kansas City, Mo., in 1923, Melvin grew up in New York and attended Columbia University. He was appearing on Broadway in Stalag 17 when he began his decades-long television career with the Silvers program, playing a role his wife said was always his favorite.

"He was proudest of that show," Amalia Melvin said. "I think the camaraderie of all those guys made it such a pleasant way to work. They were so relaxed."He saw steady employment as a voice actor from the early 1960s to the early 1990s, most famously providing the voice of Magilla Gorilla for the Hanna Barbera cartoon of the same name. His other credits include several guest appearances on The Andy Griffith Show, 'Gomer Pyle: USMC, and The Dick Van Dyke Show.

In addition to Amalia, Melvin, who unfortunately never made it into any of the Brady TV movies, sitcoms or feature film sequels to the original series, is survived by daughter Jennifer Hanson and grandson Jon Hanson Jr. A daughter, Mya, died in 1970.

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