LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actor-comedian Alan Young, who played the amiable straight man to a talking horse in the 1960s sitcom “Mister Ed,” has died, a spokeswoman for the Motion Picture and Television Home said Friday. He was 96.
The English-born, Canadian-educated Young died Thursday, according to Jaime Larkin, spokeswoman for the retirement community where Young had lived for four years. His children were with him when he died peacefully of natural causes, she said.
Young was already a well-known radio and TV comedian, having starred in his own Emmy-winning variety show, when “Mister Ed” was being readied at comedian George Burns’ production company. Burns is said to have told his staff: “Get Alan Young. He looks like the kind of guy a horse would talk to.”
Mr. Ed was a golden Palomino who spoke only to his owner, Wilbur Post, played by Young. Fans enjoyed the horse’s deep, droll voice (“WIL-bur-r-r-r-r”) and the goofy theme song lyrics (“A horse is a horse, of course, of course … “). Cowboy star Allan “Rocky” Lane supplied Mr. Ed’s voice.
An eclectic group of celebrities including Clint Eastwood, Mae West and baseball great Sandy Koufax made guest appearances on the show.