'Captain Kangaroo's' Cosmo Allegretti Dies at 86

Everett Collection
Bob Keeshan with Bunny Rabbit, one of Allegretti's characters.

He voiced characters and designed puppets for the CBS kids show that ran for almost 30 years.

Cosmo Allegretti, a puppeteer and voice artist who created Dancing Bear and other characters for the Captain Kangaroo kids show, has died. He was 86.

Allegretti died July 26 of emphysema in Phoenix. 

With Bob Keeshan starring as the kindly title character, Captain Kangaroo aired on weekday mornings on CBS from October 1955 to December 1984.

Allegretti started on the show as a set painter. He designed his first puppet for Kangaroo after producers were unhappy with a first version.

He went on to voice characters including Mr. Moose, Grandfather Clock, Bunny Rabbit, Rollo the Hippopotamus, Miss Worm, Cornelius the Walrus and Dennis the Apprentice. He also was the artist behind the show's Magic Drawing Board.

Born in Manhattan, Allegretti also appeared in the films Prince of the City (1981), directed by Sidney Lumet, and Author! Author! (1982) and on Broadway as a boxing promoter opposite John Lithgow's "Mountain" McClintock in a 1985 production of Requiem for a Heavyweight.

Allegretti wed actress-singer Carol Lawrence in 1956, but their marriage was annulled. (She later married singer Robert Goulet.)

Survivors include his son, Peter, and two grandchildren.