Billy Costello

Born 1898. Died 9 October 1971
Billy Costello
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1898
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Billy Costello

Billy Costello Biography (Wikipedia)

William Arnold "Billy" Costello (February 2, 1898 – October 9, 1971), commonly known as "Red Pepper Sam", was an American live and voice actor, and the original voice of Popeye the Sailor in animated cartoons.

Costello was born on February 2, 1898, in Rhode Island, to William E. and Susan B. (née Steere) Costello. In addition to voice acting, he worked as a vaudeville performer under the name "Red Pepper Sam". In the early 1930s he also played drums with the Fred Waring Orchestra. Costello had worked with the Fleischer Studios as the voice of Gus the Gorilla on the Betty Boop radio show, and they felt that the raspy voice he had used for that character would work for the new Popeye character they were planning. He was cast to provide the voice for the first Popeye cartoon, 1933's Popeye the Sailor. Costello appeared in the next 24 Popeye shorts until he was fired by the Fleischers, allegedly over "bad behavior." Although he never received onscreen credit, Costello knew of Popeye's international popularity and reputedly became difficult to work with, demanding more money and days off in the middle of a recording session. He was replaced with Jack Mercer who was working in the studio. Costello's final appearance as Popeye was in You Gotta Be a Football Hero (1935).

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Billy Costello Tracks

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Sammy Lerner
I'm Popeye The Sailorman
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I'm Popeye The Sailorman
Samuel Lerner & Billy Costello
I'm Popeye The Sailor Man
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I'm Popeye The Sailor Man
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