Marty Ingels, Actor and Husband of Shirley Jones, Dies at 79

Marty Ingels, Comedian and Husband of
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Marty Ingels, an actor, talent agent and industry raconteur who was married to Shirley Jones for nearly 40 years, died Wednesday at Tarzana Medical Center following a massive stroke. He was 79.

Ingels made his mark as a comic actor in the 1960s with his zany style and rapid-fire, raspy-voiced delivery. In later years he worked as an agent and as a voice artist in cartoons, in addition to producing.

“He often drove me crazy, but there’s not a day I won’t miss him and love him to my core,” Jones said.

Ingels co-starred opposite John Astin in the 1962 ABC comedy “I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster” about two carpenters, one married and one a playboy; Ingels played the swinging single Arch Fenster. The series, created by sitcom vet Leonard Stern, lasted only one season but has endured as a cult favorite among vintage TV fans.

Ingels logged numerous TV guest shots in that era. He notably played Rob Petrie’s Army buddy on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” and had appearances on “Bewitched,” “The Ann Sothern Show” and “Pete and Gladys.” He was also seen on the big screen in supporting roles in “Armoured Command” (1961), “The Horizontal Lieutenant” (1962), “Wild and Wonderful” (1964), “The Busy Body” (1967), “A Guide for the Married Man” (1967), “For Singles Only” (1968), “The Picasso Summer” (1969), and “If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium” (1969).

Born in Brooklyn in 1936, Martin Ingerman served a stint in the Army and then wound up in Los Angeles where he got his break as an actor at the Pasadena Playhouse.

By the 1970s, Ingels turned to working behind the scenes doing voice-over work on hundreds of commercials and cartoon series. He was the voice of AutoCat on “Motormouse and AutoCat” and Beegle Beagle on “The Great Grape Ape Show.” He later lent his distinctive vocal style to the 1980s videogame-inspired toon “Pac-Man.”

During this period Ingels also launched his own talent rep firm, Ingels Inc., which specialized in booking TV commercials for notable actors such as John Wayne, Cary Grant and Orson Welles.

Ingels and Jones met in 1974 at a party at the home of “Little House on the Prairie” star Michael Landon. They married in 1977. Ingels remarked of their odd-couple relationship: “I was a Jewish kid from Brooklyn and she was Miss America. A lot of people never got that.” The pair published the autobiography “Shirley & Marty: An Unlikely Love Story” in 1990.

Ingels continued to make periodic TV guest appearances on shows ranging from “The Love Boat,” “Baywatch” and “Murder She Wrote” to “ER,” “CSI” and a 2013 episode of “New Girl.”

In his later years, Ingels was relentless in promoting various TV, film and stage projects he sought to get off the ground as a producer. He was known to make frequent calls to Variety editors and reporters with story pitches. A conversation with Ingels could be time-consuming, but it was never dull.

In addition to Jones, Ingels’ survivors include three stepsons, Shaun, Patrick and Ryan Cassidy, Jones’ sons from her marriage to actor Jack Cassidy; a niece, Lauren Ingerman; and 12 grandchildren.

Correction: An earlier version of the post misidentified the character Ingels played on “I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster.”

 

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  1. Anne Cobb says:

    My deepest Condolences to you and your family.Stay strong because he loved that in you. Cry when you need too don’t keep it in, throw something if it makes you feel better. Sending prayers and Angels to wrap their wings around you for comfort. You was blessed to have a wonderful person in your life to help you enjoy life, don’t stop enjoying life I think he would want you to love life even without him. He still watches over his girl. That’s you Miss Jones. Take care of yourself.

  2. Rick Dack says:

    Funny as voice of Pacman but publicly was obnoxious and not funny…just annoying. Tried too hard to be amusing.

  3. wishinwell says:

    Sad to hear, remember that show with John Astin, would have never remember the name of show, funny man. Shirley Jones and Ingels seemed like an odd pair but hey it worked- 41 years, nice.

  4. Lizzy says:

    So sorry to hear of his passing! Such a funny man and a nice man who brought joy to Shirley’s life and her kids! Why wasn’t David Cassidy’s name mentioned!? Shaun Cassidy, oh the memories! Da do run run …blessings and prayers to you all and hoping you find comfort in the best memories!

  5. Sorry to hear what happen to him his family are in my prayer

  6. TheBigBangof20thCenturyPopCulture says:

    Miss Jones passed on Sinatra to be with the tragic Cassidy…and the comic Ingels. Only in Hollywood.

  7. Correction: It’s “Motormouse and Autocat” that Ingels lent his pipes as Autocat, not “AutoCat and Motormouse.”.

    • David says:

      Variety also failed to mention that “Motormouse and Autocat” was a segment of the 1969 cartoon series “Cattanooga Cats.”

  8. Back in the 1970’s, Marty and Shirley commissioned famed Texas crayon artist Marion Sitton to render Shirley in a large crayon portrait. They flew Marion from Texas out to L.A. to deliver it in person. My interview with Marion, (who had a career as a comic book artist for Marvel of the 1950’s and 1950’s), shows both the portrait and the photo they all took together.

    • The link to the photos was stripped from my comment. Anyone wanting to see them will have to google “Marion Sitton The Interview”. The painting, the photo and a thank you letter written by Marty and Shirley to Marion are about 3/4 way down.

  9. Laura says:

    Today I am reminded of the impermanence of life. And despite their seeming disparity, an old friend, a dead computer and a Hollywood Celebrity have brought me to today’s musing. Not quite two years ago, my dear friend, Michelle Irons lost her battle with cancer. My dearest Fab hadn’t told many people about her illness until she had decided on a course of treatment. She started a “Care” page to report on her progress then boarded a cruise ship with family to celebrate her upcoming birthday. She let loose her beautiful spirit whilst on the high seas. I miss her and think of her daily. On Monday, the Arts Council computer died and with it, almost 10 years of data was irretrievably lost as well. I was cut-off from the work I and previous Arts Council director’s had created and I had no email or facebook – I know, “the horror of it all…” And now, Marty Ingels has died. Oddly enough, Marty Ingels, a raconteur extraordinaire, a vibrant comic and a truly wacky soul was a friend of sorts to Fab and I along with our on-line circle of friends (Deb ‘Learing’ Rombough & Valinda Bennett among others) who listened to his L.A. radio show from NYC, Toledo, South Dakota and Canada, etc. via the internet. See where I’m going with this? This on-line circle of friends even met up in LA, rented a spiffy convertible and lived it up in Hollyweird for several days. We met up with Marty at a Vintage, Old Hollywood Coffee Shop and became “Marty’s Angels” – I still have the embroidered angel he sent me as a remembrance of that time. So – impermanence and connectivity. Unrelated people that connected through the internet and those of us left behind to ponder their passing. Rest in Peace Michelle Irons and Marty Ingels. If the Arts Council’s computer finds it’s way to heaven, maybe you two can resurrect the hard drive. Love, Marvy (aka Queen Laura of Marty’s Angels)

  10. sandy says:

    Yeah, no mention of David Cassidy, although he’s no bargain.

    • Natalie says:

      That’s because David was Shirley Jones stepson, not son, David’s mother is not Shirley. They listed only Shirley’s sons.

  11. sandy says:

    Sad, but he looked like hell.

  12. Prayer to you Shirley and your family. I’ve been a fan of yours for 50+ years.

  13. Mary says:

    I think you forgot someone on the list of cassidy’s..like David?

    • Sherri says:

      David is Shirley’s stepson. Her late ex-husband, Jack Cassidy, is the father of her three sons mentioned, but David is Jack’s son by a previous marriage.

  14. stanely21 says:

    My sympathies to Shirley and the family. RIP Marty.

  15. Cathleen Montilla says:

    ALWAYS GOT A KICK OUT OF MARTY! SO SORRY SHIRLEY, ALSO LOST MY MOM THIS YEAR @ 82. MAY HE REST IN PEACE.

  16. lorri johnsonl says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, Ms. Jones. He was so funny. He must have driven you crazy, but you probably never laughed more.k

  17. I always thought that this was an interesting couple. I guess opposites really do attract. My condolences to Ms. Jones.

  18. He was this weirdly funny guy I saw at theater opening nights. I’ll always have his red carpet moments to remember.

  19. Susan Fox says:

    Very sad to lose a sweet man who gave us a lot of laughs over the years. And what a love story! My sincere condolences to Ms. Shirley Jones/Mrs. Ingels and all their family and friends. May God comfort you and give you peace. RIP, Mr. Marty.

  20. Connie Womack says:

    very sad day he’s going to be greatly missed. He always made me laugh
    Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends
    RIP Marty

  21. Anne D says:

    So sorry for your loss. Thank you Mr Ingels for the laughter!

  22. Frank C says:

    A FUNNY MAN!!!..RIP Marty and thanks for the memories!!!

  23. G Cox says:

    He will be missed.

  24. I should also add my condolences to Shirley Jones and the rest of his family.

  25. You have the Marty Ingels role in “I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster” turned around. Ingels played Fenster, all right, but he was the single playboy. John Astin played “Dickens” who was married (in the series) to Emmaline Henry. That being said, he was pretty funny in just about every role he ever played.

  26. Chris says:

    I was lucky enough to be at a Christmas party a few years ago, where Shirley and Marty were among the guests. I observed how zany he could be, but more importantly how she laughed at him so whole-heartedly. It was obvious that they loved each other very much. RIP Marty. My condolences Shirley.

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