Arthur Anderson, who performed on radio as a teenager with Orson Welles’s Mercury Theater and appeared on Broadway, in films and on television, but whose most enduring role was as the voice of Lucky Charms cereal’s leprechaun, died on Saturday in Manhattan. He was 93.
He wasn’t just the Lucky Charms Leprechaun, of course. He had a career that spanned nearly the entire history of broadcast media, beginning with an appearance on radio as a ukelele-playing orphan on a show called Tony and Gus on NBC in 1935, at the tender age of 12. He had television and movie roles in things like Car 64, Where Are You? and Law and Order, Zelig and Midnight Cowboy, and kept working in voice over the entire way through. Most recently he was the voice of Eustace Bagge in Courage the Cowardly Dog.
[krvod url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgOBmAR9xM0] He was cast in 1963 for the voice of the famous animated leprechaun, and felt able enough after that to chart his own destiny that he proposed to his sweetheart, a casting director named Alice Middleton (she died last year). “I never got free cereal,” he told ABC News in 2005. “But they gave me lots of green money. And it was a fun character to play. Hardly a day goes by when somebody doesn’t ask me to sing the Lucky Charms jingle, and I’m proud of that.”
“His range was incredible,” said Sean Dougherty, an organizer of the conventions. “He made himself famous playing a leprechaun, though he wasn’t in any way Irish. On ‘Let’s Pretend,’ he played a troll, a parrot, a giant in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’ He was always the oddball voice. Arthur said: ‘I never got the girl, not in 19 seasons. I was never starred, I was never featured. But I always worked.’”Mr. Anderson also appeared in the Woody Allen film “Zelig” (1983) and John Schlesinger’s “Midnight Cowboy” (1969) and on television in “Car 54, Where Are You?” and “Law & Order.” He was the voice of Ducky Drake, the mascot for the Drake’s Cakes brand; appeared in performances at the Metropolitan Opera; filled in for the puppeteer on “The Rootie Kazootie Club”; published two memoirs; and was a regular at annual conventions of the organization Friends of Old Time Radio.
He is survived by their daughter, Amy Anderson.