George O'Hanlon

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George O'Hanlon
George OHanlon life of riley.JPG
O'Hanlon as Calvin Dudley in The Life of Riley
George Samuel O'Hanlon

(1912-11-23)November 23, 1912
DiedFebruary 11, 1989(1989-02-11) (aged 76)
OccupationActor, comedian, writer, director
Years active1932–1989
Notable work
Joe McDoakes
The Jetsons
Inez Witt
(m. 1932;div. 1948)

Martha Stewart
(m. 1949;div. 1952)

Nancy Owens(m. 1953)

George Samuel O'Hanlon (November 23, 1912 – February 11, 1989) was an American actor, comedian, writer and director. [1] He was best known for his role as Joe McDoakes in the Warner Bros.' live-action Joe McDoakes short subjects from 1942 to 1956 and as the voice of George Jetson in Hanna-Barbera's 1962 prime-time animated television series The Jetsons and its 1985 revival.

Warner Bros. American entertainment company

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., commonly referred to as Warner Bros. and abbreviated as WB, is an American entertainment company headquartered in Burbank, California and a subsidiary of AT&T's WarnerMedia. Founded in 1923, it has operations in film, television and video games and is one of the "Big Five" major American film studios, as well as a member of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

Joe McDoakes American short film series

Joe McDoakes is the protagonist of a series of 63 black and white live action comedy one-reel short subjects released between 1942 and 1956. The Joe McDoakes shorts are also known as the Behind the Eight Ball series or the So You Want... series. The character's name comes from "Joe Doakes," which was then a popular American slang term for the average man.

George Jetson Fictional character in The Jetsons

George J. Jetson is a fictional character from the animated television series The Jetsons. He is the father of the Jetson family. He is the husband of Jane Jetson and the father of teenage daughter Judy and son Elroy.


Early life

George O'Hanlon was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 23, 1912.



From the early 1940s, O'Hanlon was a character comedian in feature films, usually playing the hero's streetwise, cynical friend. He appeared in features for various studios while continuing the Joe McDoakes role for Warner Bros. After the McDoakes series lapsed in 1956, O'Hanlon returned to character work, mostly in television (two rare post-McDoakes movie appearances are in Bop Girl Goes Calypso and Kronos , both from 1957).

Bop Girl Goes Calypso is a 1957 American United Artists film directed by Howard W. Koch and starring Judy Tyler. It featured Calypso music, and music by the Bobby Troup Trio and bassist Jim Aton.

<i>Kronos</i> (film) 1957 film by Kurt Neumann

Kronos is a 1957 independently made American black-and-white science fiction film from Regal Films, produced by Irving Block, Louis DeWitt, Kurt Neumann, and Jack Rabin, directed by Kurt Neumann, that stars Jeff Morrow and Barbara Lawrence. Kronos was distributed by 20th Century Fox as a double feature with She Devil.


In the 1953-54 season, O'Hanlon appeared several times on NBC's The Dennis Day Show . In 1957, he played Charlie Appleby on an I Love Lucy episode, "Lucy and Superman". In 1958, O'Hanlon played a New York publicist for a fashion model, Loco Jones (Barbara Eden) in the syndicated romantic comedy How to Marry a Millionaire .

<i>The Dennis Day Show</i> television series

The Dennis Day Show is an American comedy/variety show that aired from 1953 to 1954 on NBC. The series stars singer and radio and television personality Dennis Day, whose career otherwise was rooted as a supporting cast member of the long-running The Jack Benny Program on CBS and later NBC.

<i>I Love Lucy</i> American television sitcom

I Love Lucy is an American television sitcom that originally ran on CBS from October 15, 1951, to May 6, 1957, with a total of 180 half-hour episodes spanning 6 seasons. The show starred Lucille Ball, her real-life husband Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. It followed the life of Lucy Ricardo (Ball), a middle class housewife in New York City, who either concocted plans with her best friends to appear alongside her bandleader husband Ricky Ricardo (Arnaz) in his nightclub, or tried numerous schemes to mingle with, or be a part of show business. After the series ended in 1957, a modified version continued for three more seasons with 13 one-hour specials; it ran from 1957 to 1960. It was first known as The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show and later in reruns as The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour.

Lucy and Superman 13th episode of the sixth season of I Love Lucy

"Lucy and Superman" is an episode of the sitcom I Love Lucy, and was first broadcast on January 14, 1957 on CBS. The episode was written by Bob Carroll, Jr., Madelyn Pugh, Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf. Directed by James V. Kern, it is the 13th episode of the sixth season, and the 166th episode of the series.

In 1962-63, he voiced one of his most prominent characters, George Jetson in the original The Jetsons , a role he would reprise over 20 years later in three movies.

<i>The Jetsons</i> Animated american sit-com

The Jetsons is an American animated sitcom produced by Hanna-Barbera. It originally aired in prime time from September 23, 1962, to March 17, 1963, then later in syndication. New episodes were produced in 1985 to 1987 as part of The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera block. It was Hanna-Barbera's Space Age counterpart to The Flintstones.

In the autumn of 1964, he appeared as a cab driver in the 13-episode CBS drama The Reporter starring Harry Guardino. In 1966, O'Hanlon appeared opposite Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden's loudmouthed "bum brother-in-law", on Gleason's first TV show of the 1966-67 season. He also made various appearances on ABC's Love, American Style , a series for which he wrote the screenplays and also directed several episodes.

<i>The Reporter</i> (TV series) American drama series

The Reporter is an American drama series that aired on CBS from September 25 to December 18, 1964. The series was created by Jerome Weidman and developed by executive producers Keefe Brasselle and John Simon.

Harry Guardino American actor

Harry Guardino was an American actor whose career spanned from the early 1950s to the early 1990s.

Jackie Gleason American comedian, actor, and musician

John Herbert Gleason, known as Jackie Gleason, was an American comedian, actor, writer, composer and conductor. Developing a style and characters from growing up in Brooklyn, New York, he was known for his brash visual and verbal comedy, exemplified by his bus driver Ralph Kramden character in the television series The Honeymooners. By filming the episodes with Electronicams, Gleason was later able to release the series in syndication, which increased its popularity over the years with new audiences. He also developed The Jackie Gleason Show, which maintained high ratings from the mid-1950s through 1970. After originating in New York City, filming moved to Miami Beach, Florida, in 1964 after Gleason took up permanent residence there.

O'Hanlon as Joe McDoakes Joe McDoakes title card.jpg
O'Hanlon as Joe McDoakes

In 1971, O'Hanlon appeared as a bear trainer on The Partridge Family , season 2, episode 6, "Whatever Happened to Moby Dick?", a drunk in The Odd Couple , season 2, episode 6, "Murray the Fink" and a drunk in Adam-12 , season 4 episode 1, "Extortion".


Apart from acting, the comedian wrote screenplays and also wrote the storyboard for nearly all of the Joe McDoakes shorts. He wrote stories for television series in the 1960s such as Petticoat Junction , 77 Sunset Strip , and wrote episodes for Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones . He also auditioned for the role of Fred Flintstone, but lost to Alan Reed; however, he was remembered when it was time to cast The Jetsons. He once said: "George Jetson is an average man, he has trouble with his boss, he has problems with his kids, and so on. The only difference is that he lives in the next century." [2]

Personal life and death

O'Hanlon was married three times; he was first married to Inez Witt from 1932 to 1948. After divorcing from Witt, he later married actress Martha Stewart in 1949, they divorced in 1952 after three years of marriage. [3] In 1953, O'Hanlon married Nancy Owens, a fellow actress, and they had two children (actor George O'Hanlon, Jr., and daughter Laurie O'Hanlon, a registered nurse). They remained married until his death. [1]

In the mid-1980s, Hanna-Barbera revived The Jetsons and brought back its original voice cast of O'Hanlon, Daws Butler, Mel Blanc, Don Messick, Penny Singleton, Jean Vander Pyl, and Janet Waldo. O'Hanlon had suffered a stroke and was blind and suffering from limited mobility. He recorded his dialogue in a separate session from the other cast members by having all lines read to him by the recording director Gordon Hunt and then recited one at a time.

O'Hanlon died of a second stroke on February 11, 1989, while recording dialogue for Jetsons: The Movie . [1] According to Andrea Romano, who was Hanna-Barbera's casting director at the time, O'Hanlon found it difficult to read and hear, and in the end, he died in the recording studio doing what he loved. [4] The film was dedicated to him, along with Jetsons co-star Mel Blanc who died nearly five months later. Both were replaced by Jeff Bergman to finish the movie.

He is interred in Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Cemetery in Westlake Village, California.




Production work

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  1. 1 2 3 Associated Press (February 15, 1989). "George O'Hanlon, 76, George Jetson's Voice". The New York Times . The New York Times Company. p. 24.
  2. "George O'Hanlon; Father's voice on Jetsons". Los Angeles Times . February 14, 1989. Archived from the original on 10 August 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. Andre Soares. "Martha Stewart Still Alive?",; accessed February 26, 2016.
  4. "Talking Toons With Rob Paulsen: Episode 16 with Guest: Andrea Romano". Talking Toons With Rob Paulsen.