Kenneth Mars, a comic actor who specialized in playing foreign characters in comedies ranging from “The Producers” and “Young Frankenstein” to “Malcolm in the Middle,” has died.
Mars, 75, died Saturday (Feb. 12) at his home in Granada Hills, Calif., after suffering from pancreatic cancer, the AP reports.
Mars was born in Chicago in 1936, but he gained his widest fame for playing European characters in a pair of Mel Brooks movies. He played the crazy Nazi playwright Franz Liebkind in “The Producers” (he’s in the center of the picture above with co-stars Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel) and the incomprehensible Inspector Kemp in “Young Frankenstein.”
Mars’ career spanned more than 45 years and included roles in movies including “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “Fletch,” “What’s Up, Doc?” and “Radio Days.” He appeared in dozens of TV shows — most recently a recurring part on “Malcolm in the Middle” as dude ranch owner Otto — and did extensive voice-over work, including in “The Little Mermaid,” where he played King Triton.
Here’s a clip of Mars in “Young Frankenstein.”