Hello, and welcome to my thoughts and musings. Today I honor a long lost, and recently honored Disney Legend, Ed Wynn.
Isaiah Edwin Leopold was born on November 9, 1886 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He made his vaudeville debut in 1903. It was during his vaudeville career that he developed the high pitched giggle he famous for.
In the 1930 Wynn took his comedy routine to radio airwaves, as most vaudeville performers were doing. He choose to do his live show in front of a studio audience, and would stand out by wearing bright colored outfits and a red firefighter hat.
At the urging of his son, Keenan Wynn, Ed began to pursue a film career. His first film role came in 1927 in Rubber Heels. After a few other roles, he turned down a role in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. The role would go to Frank Morgan, who played the title character. Wynn also won an Emmy award in 1950 for The Ed Wynn Show, one of the first variety shows to air on the medium.
Ed Wynn began his Disney career in the 1951 animated film Alice in Wonderland. Playing the Mad Hatter, the character was drawn in a caricature of Wynn. This role was fitting to Ed, as he was able to provide his trademark giggle, and also Wynn sold women’s hats in his youth while making a name for himself.
Live action Disney roles soon followed, including the 1961 films Babes in Toyland and The Absent Minded Professor, where he again played a fire chief. Unique to his role in Absent Minded Professor was that Alonzo P. Hawk was played by his son Keenan.
Wynn”s best known live action role came in 1964’s Mary Poppins where he played Uncle Albert, who laughs so hard he has floated to the ceiling and cannot come down until he thinks of something sad.
Wynn also had a role in That Darn Cat, and as well as the 1967 Disney film The Gnome-Mobile, as Rufus. Sadly, Wynn never saw the final version of The Gnome-Mobile as he passed away on June 19, 1966.
One interesting note, actress Karen Dotrice, who played Jane Banks in Mary Poppins and Elizabeth Winthrop in The Gnome Mobile shares the same November 9 birthday with Ed Wynn.
For his work in the Disney universe, Ed Wynn was named a Disney Legend in July 2013…far too late for the recognition he deserves, in my opinion. Nonetheless, happy birthday to both Ed Wynn and Karen Dotrice!
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