Lennie Weinrib, a character actor, writer, director and voice-over artist who brought to life “H.R. Pufnstuf,” died June 28. He was 71.
Weinrib died in Santiago, Chile, after suffering a stroke. He had retired from show business in the early 1990s and moved to Chile, the native country of his second wife, Sonia.
Weinrib had a varied career that included working as a standup comic, appearing in the “Billy Barnes Revue” on Broadway in 1959 and co-writing the 1963 joke classic “The Elephant Book.”
As a character actor, he appeared on such TV shows as “My Favorite Martian,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Munsters” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
Weinrib also had a stint as a director of low-budget teen flicks in the mid-1960s, directing the comedy “Beach Ball,” the spy spoof “Out of Sight,” and the ski-slope comedy “Wild, Wild Winter.” Yet he garnered the most acclaim as a voice-over artist.
By the mid-1960s, he was supplying voices for everything from Ford and Avis to Pepsodent toothpaste and Hunt’s tomato sauce.
On the Sid and Marty Krofft-produced “H.R. Pufnstuf,” Weinrib provided the voice for Pufnstuf, the island’s dragon mayor, as well as many other characters.
Weinrib was instrumental in developing the live-action Saturday morning series, which debuted in 1969, and was its main writer.
He also provided voices for numerous TV cartoons, including “The Addams Family,” “The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show,” “Uncle Sam Magoo,” “The New Tom & Jerry Show,” and “Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo” (on which he did the original voice of Scrappy-Doo).
He is survived by his wife Sonia; daughters Linda, an actress; Grace and Heidi; and two grandchildren.