Entertainment & Arts

Actor Norman Alden dies aged 87

Norman Alden in 1961 film Portrait of a Mobster
Image caption One of Alden's (centre) many roles was in 1961 film Portrait of a Mobster

American character actor Norman Alden, who starred in hundreds of TV shows, films and commercials, has died age 87.

He was the voice of superhero Aquaman in 1970s cartoon Super Friends and featured in films such as Back to the Future and Ed Wood.

Alden was frequently cast in tough guy roles throughout his 50 year career.

His family told The Hollywood Reporter that he died of natural causes at an assisted living facility in Los Angeles.

They estimate that Alden's appearances on camera number around 2,500, although he rarely had a regular acting gig.

He featured in TV series such as Charlie's Angels, JAG and Batman, where he played one of the Joker's henchmen.

In 1985's Back to the Future he played the owner of Lou's Cafe alongside Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd.

But one of the actor's most recognizable roles in the US was as another Lou - a mechanic in a series of commercials for car part manufacturers AC Delco.

In the mid 1970s, he starred in seven episodes of spoof TV soap Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, before his character Coach Leroy Fedders drowned in a bowl of Mary's chicken soup.

On film, Alden also played outlaw Johnny Ringo in 1961's The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, voiced Sir Kay in Disney's The Sword in the Stone and played roller derby skater Horrible Hank Hopkins in Raquel Welch's Kansas City Bomber.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, he spent time on a tour of duty in Europe during World War II before attending Texas Christian University.

He left Fort Worth in his early twenties to go to New York before winning US variety show Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts when he moved to Los Angeles.

He had also worked at KXOL Radio as a DJ before getting his first break on sitcom The Bob Cummings Show in 1957.

Alden is survived by children Brent and Ashley, a grandson and longterm partner Linda Thieben.

A celebration of his life will be held in Los Angeles in August and in Fort Worth in September.

His family requested donations be made to his former university's drama department, the department of cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles or the Frostig Center in Pasadena, which helps children with learning disabilities.

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