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John Stephenson

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  Summary  

John Stephenson is an American actor and voice actor. He has also been credited as John Stevenson. Stephenson has never given any interviews and has rarely been seen in public.

  Biography  

 career
 Early guest starring roles
He started his acting career in numerous television shows in the 1950s and into the 1970s, usually in small guest star roles on such shows as:
  • The Johnny Carson Show where Stephenson played himself but acted as a super serious news-break announcer on several episodes while Carson played the roving reporter in the sketches; On screen Stephenson wore a suit and a fedora, typical attire for the hard-boiled character often played up on early television; Carson's series ran during 1955-1956.
  • Bonanza in one episode as John Henry in the episode "The Sisters" .
  • Perry Mason in three episodes; as Ed Davenport in "The Case of the Runaway Corpse" , as Grant Reynolds in "The Case of the Borrowed Brunette" , and as Frank Avery in "The Case of the Gallant Grafter" .
  • The Beverly Hillbillies, in three episodes; as Mr. Landman in "Jed Pays His Income Tax" , and as Professor Robert Graham in "Cabin in Beverly Hills" and in "Jed Foils a Home Wrecker" .
  • F Troop, in one episode, "Old Ironpants", as General George Armstrong Custer .
  • Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., in two episodes; Major Stone in "They Shall Not Pass" and as Mr. Clark in "Sue The Pants Off 'Em" .
  • Hogan's Heroes as Captain Muller in "Go Light on the Heavy Water" , Professor Bauer in "The Dropouts" , Major Rudel in "The Softer They Fall" , Decker in "Bad Day in Berlin" , Karl in "The Collector General" , Felix in "One in Every Crowd" , Major Kohler in "Information Please" and as an Inspector General in "Colonel Klink's Secret Weapon" .
  • The Millionaire in two episodes; as Doctor Cartwright in "The Irene Marshall Story" , and as Chet in "The Candy Caldwell Story" .
  • Treasury Men in Action as Agent Warwick in "The Case of the Frightened Man" , as Agent Jennings in "The Case of the Perfect Gentleman" , as Agent Weston in "The Case of the Man Next Door" , as Agent Grant in "The Case of the Steady Hand" , and as Agent Trumbull in "The Case of the Princely Pauper" .
  • The Lone Ranger in one episode as Ranger Roy Barnett in "Dan Reid's Fight for Life .
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as Varner in "The Never-Never Affair"

Stephenson had a small part as a man from the State Department in John Wayne's Hellfighters.

 Voice acting
Stephenson provided the voice for commercials of the era, including spots for Peter Pan Peanut Butter featuring character actor Jesse White. For several decades, Stephenson worked for Hanna-Barbera Productions, doing voice acting for many of its 1960s and 1970s animated television series, including Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy, Top Cat, Scooby-Doo, The Jetsons, Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, Jonny Quest and Luke and Blubber Bear in the Wacky Races, among many others. Stephenson's most notable role for Hanna-Barbera was as the voice of Mr. Slate, Fred Flintstone's hard-edged boss at Slate Rock and Gravel Company, from the original The Flintstones series up through to the present, although he provided the voices of the majority of the show's guest characters, making him one of the main cast members of the show. He is now the only living cast member of the show. He also did voices on Help!... It's the Hair Bear Bunch!, Arabian Knights, and Inch High, Private Eye.

Stephenson was most often called upon to voice curmudgeon and irascible characters. His range was limited but served him well in the roles he brought to prominence. In total, Stephenson had about five or six 'voices' he would apply to characters. There is his most-used voice, which he gave to Mr. Slate on The Flintstones series. Another character given that same vocal delivery was Chief Wiggins on the series Dynomutt, Dog Wonder, Sheriff Bagley on Clue Club, and countless others. Another voice Stephenson liked to use was the high nasal Joe Flynn inspired voice. This voice was usually given to the characters that were either rude, or smart-alecks, or flat out mean. Also, these characters were prone to short tempers; examples include Mr. Peevly from Help! It's the Hair Bear Bunch! and Schnooker from the litte seen series Inspector Mumbly which aired as part of the The New Tom and Jerry/Grape Ape/Mumbly Show. Stephenson was cast most often in the Scooby-Doo cartoons as the villains or the red herring scientist. In "High Rise Hair Raiser", one episode of Scooby-Doo, Stephenson was the voices of Mr. Daugherty, Mr. Speck, and the villain of that episode, The Specter. Still, another voice Stephenson was noted for, was his take on Boris Karloff. A lot of the Karloff-sounding villains in early episodes of Scooby-Doo were provided by Stephenson. He voiced Hairy Scary on Casper and the Angels along with Casper's Halloween Special and Casper's First Christmas.

Stephenson borrowed the vocal traits of Joe Flynn for several characters as mentioned earlier, Boris Karloff for several more, and did a pretty good Jimmy Durante for the 1970s and 1980s version of Doggie Daddy. Also, if needed, Stephenson has been known to do a take-off on Paul Lynde as heard on the 1977 series Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics as the character Mildew Wolf. Originally, Paul Lynde voiced the character as part of a segment shown on a series called Cattanooga Cats but was not interested in reprising the role on Laff-a-Lympics. Stephenson also gave voice to the re-designed Dick Dastardly character on that series whose name was Dread Baron. A further Stephenson voice was used for the magician The Great Fondoo, inspired perhaps by Bela Lugosi.

For the Adventures of Gulliver series, he voiced both the villain Captain Leech and the Lilliputian monarch, King Pomp; in the first episode of the series he also voiced Gulliver's father. Stephenson reached back for the Paul Lynde voice when he was cast as Wilfred Wolf in the early 1980s series, Kwicky Koala.

Stephenson reprised his role of Luke from Wacky Races in the Wacky Races video game.

His recent voice work includes doing voices for What's New, Scooby Doo?, as Ganthet on Duck Dodgers, and he voiced Grandpa Squirrel on Squirrel Boy.

In 2004, Stephenson narrated the featurette "Space Age Gadgets" for the Jetsons First Season DVD box set. He also narrated the featurette "Wacky Inventions" for the Flintstones Complete Series DVD box set. Recently in 2010, the voice actor played Sheriff on Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo, marking the first time, he voiced a character on a direct to DVD Scooby-Doo movie.

1980s
During the 1980s, he contributed to various cartoons of the period such as The Smurfs, Galaxy High and G.I. Joe. John also voiced Huffer, Windcharger, Thundercracker, and Alpha Trion from the 1980s mega-hit The Transformers and took over the role of Kup for the show's third season . In 1987, he reprised his role of Fancy-Fancy in Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats. He provided the voice of Professor X in Pryde of the X-Men (which is interesting as he previously provided the voice for X-Men nemesis Magneto during the character's appearance in the 1970s Fantastic Four cartoon).

Dragnet
Stephenson is perhaps best known, however, as the narrator in the classic television series Dragnet (1967–1970), recapping the fate of the perpetrators at the end of every episode.

Accountemps
Stephenson, using his "Mr. Slate voice", currently provides the voice of Mr. Fernwell in a series of Accountemps radio ads.

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "John Stephenson (actor)", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.