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Wally Campo, the Roger Corman regular who did his best Det. Joe Friday impersonation as Sgt. Joe Fink — and also served as the narrator — in the original The Little Shop of Horrors, has died. He was 99.
Campo died Jan. 14 of natural causes in Studio City, his son, musician Tony Campodonico, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Campo also played a goofball in Monte Hellman‘s Beast From Haunted Cave (1959) and appeared for director Burt Topper in Hell Squad (1958), Tank Commandos (1959) — where he was top-billed — and the Victor Buono-starring The Strangler (1964).
Campo showed up in the Corman-directed Machine-Gun Kelly (1958), Ski Troop Attack (1960) and Tales of Terror (1962) and in the Corman-produced Devil’s Angels (1967). Many of his movies were made at the filmmaker’s low-budget American International Pictures.
His acting credits also included Edward Dmytryk’s Warlock (1959), the Vincent Price-starring Master of the World (1961) and Shock Corridor (1963), directed by Sam Fuller.
Born Wallace Joseph Campodonico on April 23, 1923, in Stockton, California, he served during World War II and made it to Iwo Jima.
After attending the College of the Pacific, he came to Los Angeles in the 1950s and landed with the Orchard Gables Repertory Theatre Company in Hollywood, co-founded by husband and wife actors Paul Sorensen and Jacqueline May and others.
Campo met his future wife, actress Geraldine Matthews, there, and they worked together on stages around L.A., including the Showplace Theater in Studio City. He also taught acting at Orchard Gables and at his own Actors Workshop.
Campo directed documentaries in Africa, India and stateside and helmed one feature, Mark of the Gun (1969). Shot by László Kovács, it was released the same year as another film shot by the cinematographer, Easy Rider.
In addition to his son — who as a young actor portrayed Scotty Baldwin on ABC’s General Hospital — survivors include his daughter-in-law, Cheryl, and grandchildren Laurena and Jade.
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