Jack Mullaney

Dark-haired, congenial-looking actor Jack Mullaney was one of those gangly and goofy nice guy types who pervaded innocuous 1950s and ’60s film and TV comedy. Born on September 18, 1929 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he usually played the best buddy of the star who seldom got the pretty coed. Jack’s poor schmucks were the huggable, clean-cut kind that every mother would want as a son. In minor film parts from 1957, he provided amiable comic relief, hanging around and about the periphery of silly, youth-oriented fluff, including the roles of an Air Force captain in The Absent Minded Professor (1961), Vincent Price’s slow-thinking assistant Igor in Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965), and Elvis Presley’s klutzy sidekick in Tickle Me (1965). Jack was also featured in Presley’s film Spinout (1966), but he and the film were met with little fanfare.

TV sitcom work served the actor much better as the sure-to-please bellhop on The Ann Sothern Show (1958) and accident-prone supply officer on Ensign O’Toole (1962). Neither part, however, was strong enough to propel him to comedy stardom. Jack’s best showcases were as the bungling scientist on My Living Doll (1964) starring Robert Cummings and the genial astronaut who ends up in the Stone Age in It’s About Time (1966) co-starring Frank Aletter, Imogene Coca, and Joe E. Ross. Jack’s mode of comedy went out of style with the Vietnam Era and, despite a few glimpses of him in such 1970s films as Little Big Man (1970) and Where Does It Hurt? (1972), he couldn’t sustain his career. Little was heard about Jack in the ongoing years until the news of his untimely death on June 1982 at age 52. He died at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, California (near Los Angeles) of complications from a stroke, and after services in California, was interred at the St. John Vianney Columbarium at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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