By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher of MOVIEGUIDE®
Although Michael Jackson’s death has grabbed all the headlines, there have been several famous celebrities who have died recently whose star is on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Farrah Fawcett made some headlines our the world, as did Ed McMahon, but the articles about McMahon overlooked his incredible service to his country in World War II and the Korean War as a Marine aviator.
One of the best and the brightest was Fred Travalena (October 6, 1942 – June 28, 2009). At one point in his career, Fred was a regular on Johnny Carson’s show and some of the best television shows of the day. He also hosted his own television specials.
If you don’t remember him, and you should, it may be because Fred was an impersonator who could be many different people. His impersonations of Jack Nicholson, Liberace, Groucho Marx, Frank Sinatra, and many of the greats were excellent and hilarious.
Fred was known to be one of the few impersonators who could impersonate anyone. What is less known is that Fred was a very committed Christian.
Recently, I was with one of the top producers in Hollywood, Ken Wales, complaining about the filthy humor of Sacha Baron Cohen in BRUNO. Ken pointed out that, during the Golden Age of Hollywood, comedians like Fred Travalena, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason, Gracie Allen, and Martha Raye did positive, upbeat, hilarious humor appealing to audiences of all ages. They did not need to use foul language, sarcasm or cynicism to be very funny men and women.
MOVIEGUIDE® will miss Fred Travalena because he was a fan of our efforts to redeem the media.
Fred Travalena came to the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards Gala several times and was always supportive of our mission and ministry to redeem the values of the media. He was one of the few wholesome comedians whose impersonations always brought forth laughter from all ages. He was a good friend to many of the staff at the Gala, and one of the greatest impressionists of all time. He was always an extremely friendly and gracious gentleman.
We are still a fan of Fred Travalena and look forward to laughing with him in Heaven.
For more information, please go to http://www.fredtravalena.com.