Impressionist Fred Travalena dies
Known as 'The Man of a Thousand Voices'Impressionist Fred Travalena, a headliner in Las Vegas showrooms and a regular on late-night talk shows with his takes on presidents, crooners and screen stars, died Sunday at his home in Encino. He was 66.
Publicist Roger Neal said Monday that Travalena died after a recurrence of the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that first surfaced in 2002.
Travalena was known for the sheer volume of celebrities he imitated, leading to the nicknames "The Man of a Thousand Voices" and "Mr. Everybody." His act included presidents from Kennedy to Obama, musicians from Frank Sinatra to Bruce Springsteen and actors from Marlon Brando to Tom Cruise.
Sinatra once said that "If you like me, go see Fred Travalena; He does me great."
The Bronx native started his career in Las Vegas in 1971 and a year later appeared on the ABC show "The Kopykats," which established him as a top impressionist. He went on to appear on many TV game shows and then hosted his own show, "Anything for Money," in 1984-85.
Travalena also guest starred on such TV shows as "Murphy Brown," "Fantasy Island" and "The Love Boat" and lent his voice talents to animated series like "The Smurfs" and "Animaniacs." For "Casino's" run on broadcast television, producers turned to Travalena to dub in less-profane versions of Robert De Niro's lines.
Travalena also had small roles in films including "The Buddy Holly Story" (1978) "Buy & Cell" (1987) and this year's "An American Carol."
He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.
Among Travalena's survivors are his wife of 39 years, Lois, and his two sons, Fred IV and Cory. Private services will be held this week, with a memorial service for friends and fans to be scheduled.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.