Gary Owens Passes
February 13, 2015 at 4:36 PM (PT)
Iconic voiceover performer GARY OWENS died on FEB. 12th at his home in the L.A. suburb of ENCINO, VARIETY reports. OWENS, who was 80, was best known as the announcer on NBC-TV’s “ROWAN AND MARTIN’s Laugh-In” (1968-73), but he also enjoyed a lengthy radio career as a DJ on KMPC/LOS ANGELES and as an executive with GENE AUTRY’s GOLDEN WEST BROADCASTERS and GANNETT.
Born GARY ALTMAN on MAY 10th in MITCHELL, SD, OWENS started his career at KORN-A/MITCHELL, SD, then worked in OMAHA, DALLAS, NEW ORLEANS, ST LOUIS, DENVER, SACRAMENTO, and CROWELL-COLLIER Top 40 KEWB-A/OAKLAND-SAN FRANCISCO before moving to sister Top 40 KFWB-A/LOS ANGELES in 1961. Known for his deep voice and deadpan delivery of nonsense words, OWENS moved on to KMPC-A. where he hosted for many years while doing cartoon voicework (including "SPACE GHOST" and "ROGER RAMJET") and the "LAUGH-IN" gig.
He also appeared on or hosted several other TV shows, voiced thousands of commercials, and did more cartoon voices (including "REN AND STIMPY"'s "Powdered Toast Man") and narrations. Later on, he hosted radio shows at KPRZ-A, KFI-A, and MUSIC OF YOUR LIFE.
OWENS coined the term, "beautiful downtown BURBANK," which later became a nightly catchphrase on JOHNNY CARSON’s “Tonight Show.”
As a writer, he wrote for JAY WARD’s company for the series “Rocky & Bullwinkle,” “Fractured Flickers” and “The Nuthouse," and collaborated with his friend JONATHAN WINTERS on three comedy CDs.
He is survived by sons, SCOTT and CHRIS, and his wife of 57 years, ARLETA. Services will be private. Since OWENS had been a diabetic since he was eight, donations may be made to the CHILDREN’S DIABETES FOUNDATION.
ART VUOLO has put this video tribute to GARY OWENS: