Charlie Callas, (AP) – Charlie Callas, a versatile actor, whose faces and zany antics made him a regular for over four decades in television, cinema and the casino scene, died in Las Vegas. He was 83.
Callas died Thursday in a hospital, according to his son Mark and Larry Callas Callas.
Callas was a rubber-faced comic whose nervous framed rapid-fire delivery drew laughs and makes him a frequent guest on variety shows and comedy.
“Everyone who met him, he left with a smile,” said Mark Callas.
For years, Charlie Callas made Johnny Carson laugh on the “Tonight Show.” But Carson has forbidden him to return after having pushed Carson Callas from his chair in an attempt to laugh in 1982.
Mark Callas said her father knew all the members of the Rat Pack, a group of players that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.
Callas on tour with Sinatra and Tom Jones, played a role with Jerry Lewis in the movie “The Big Mouth” in 1967, and was invited to varieties on television hosted by Jackie Gleason, Ed Sullivan, Merv Griffin, Andy Williams and Flip Wilson. Callas guest-hosted on “Joey Bishop Show.”
He also played restaurant owner Malcolm Argos in the 1970 TV series “Switch” with Robert Wagner and Eddie Albert, and had roles in films of Mel Brooks’ High Anxiety “and” History of the World: Part I. ”
Callas grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and served in the U.S. Army in Germany during World War II before starting a career as a drummer in the big bands with Tommy Dorsey and Buddy Rich.
He was a natural comic, and it was not long before he gave up drum for standup routines. He dropped a vowel of its legal name, Callias, when he came on stage.
“He was just messing around with the guys and it worked, I guess,” said Mark Callas.
It was Charlie Callas when he made his first television appearance in 1963 in the show “Hollywood Palace” variety.
Mark Callas, who produces the “American Superstars” celebrity impersonators in Las Vegas, said he encouraged his parents to move to Las Vegas from New York in 2002.
Larry Callas said the death of his mother, Evelyn Callas in July at age 80, broke the heart of his father.
Funeral arrangements were made at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas.
Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.