TOP CAT STAR STANG DEAD

Published on: December 22, 2009
TOP CAT STAR STANG DEAD

Death claims Arnold Stang, the voice of Top Cat and Frank Sinatra movie pal at 91.

Renowned for playing what was known as milquetoasts (called nerds now) Stang 's owlish face, round glasses and nasal twang gave him instant recognition whether in ads, films, radio or cartoons.

At 5 foot 3 and weighing 100 pounds, Stang described himself as, "I look like a frightened chipmunk who's been out in the rain too long."

In a rare dramatic part, Stang was Frank Sinatra's pal in the heroin addiction drama The Man WithThe Golden Gun in a role the New York Times called a precursor to Dustin Hoffman's Ratzso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy 20 years later.

Stang began his career as a teenager on radio in New York on The Horn and Hardart's Children's Hour and Let's Pretend and appeared on dozens of shows from mysteries and comedies often playing more than one role since no one could see him.

More notable film roles included It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and as Arnold Schwarzenegger's mortal pal in Hercules in New York.

For many, Stang will be best remembered as the animated star of Top Cat aka TC, the ring leader of a conniving bunch of urban cats who ran afoul of Officer Dibble.

Among his many TV appearances were The Henry Morgan Show, The Milton Berle Texaco Hour, McHales Navy, Batman and The Cosby Show.

Adios, amigo.