Lionel Wilson, actor-writer perhaps best known to baby boomers as the voice of funnel-topped Tom Terrific in the same-named cartoon shown on TV’s “Captain Kangaroo,” but whose work spanned six decades on the stage and TV as well as in print and recordings, died April 30 in New York City of natural causes. He was 79.
He made his Broadway debut at 14, as a bellboy, in “Dodsworth,” and was featured in “Kiss and Tell,” “Janie” and “The Fragile Fox.
He toured with Gardner McKay in “The Fantasticks,” played Bud Frump in a tour of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and was featured in “Matinee Theatre” on TV’s old Dumont Network.
Beginning in the 1950s, he focused more on voice work, including TV commercial and cartoons. Besides Tom Terrific, he voice Tom’s friend Manfred the Wonder Dog, and even just before his final illness he voiced Eustace the Farmer in Comedy Central’s “Courage the Cowardly Dog.”
He penned a mystery thriller for the stage based on the novel “Come and be Killed,” which toured summer stock and starred June Havoc and Signe Hasso, and he wrote children’s stories, including “The Mule Who Refused to Budge,” released by Crown Publishers and which featured Wilson reading the stories on accompanying CDs.
He also read dozens of other children’s books for the Listening Library including “Chicken Little,” “Chocolate Fever” and “Commander Toad in Space.”
At the time of his death, he had just completed editing his memoir “… And Also in the Cast.”
A brother survives.