Co-stars remember the ''phenomenal song-and-dance man'' Ken Berry

Carol Burnett, Larry Storch and more honored the actor.

Image: The Everett Collection

The recent loss of Ken Berry has struck fans of classic TV hard this week, and that includes the veteran actor's many co-stars. Most recently, Carol Burnett shared a sweet remembrance with The Hollywood Reporter, saying, "A lot of people only know him from F Troop or Mama's Family, but he was a phenomenal song-and-dance man. He was funny, he was sexy — he was the whole ball of wax." (Anyone who loved those Kinney Shoes commercials Berry did can confirm this is true.)

In the post, she recalls being so floored by Berry when she saw him perform initially that, first, she advocated to get him on The Gary Moore Show, then she cast him in her very first TV special, airing before "Mama's Family" was even a ghost of a sketch embedded in the iconic comedian's very popular variety show. In fact, Burnett liked Berry so much she estimates that she had him on The Carol Burnett Show 19 or 20 times and guessed he would've been as big as Fred Astaire if he'd been born just a few years sooner, based on his endless charisma. She said Fred Astaire himself even gave Ken Berry a nod of approval, "I remember once Ken did a spoof of Fred Astaire singing 'Puttin' on the Ritz.' Afterward, I heard from Fred: 'That kid is terrific!'"

Of course, once Mama's Family broke out from The Carol Burnett Show, Berry became a crowd favorite as Vinton Harper, a character younger generations likely remember best. However, fans of 1960s TV likely knew him better as Captain Wilton Parmenter on the hilarious military sitcom F Troop. In a Facebook post, Berry's co-star Larry Storch (who played Cpl. Randolph Agarn) shared this remembrance, "We are at a true loss for words. Ken, we hope you know how much you were loved. Goodnight Captain. We miss you already."

On Twitter, more co-stars remembered Ken Berry. Actress and performer Mitzi Gaynor said, "Ken Berry was a kind & wonderful man, and one of the most talented performers I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with. He could do anything. I adored working with him."

As did his Herbie Rides Again co-star Stefanie Powers, "I grieve the loss of my partner in Herbie."


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