John Stephenson (actor)

John Stephenson (actor)

John Stephenson (born August 9, 1923) is an American voice actor. He has also been credited as "John Stevenson." He was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin.


Early guest starring roles

He started his career acting in numerous television shows in the 1950s and into the 1970s, usually in small guest star roles on such shows as:
*"Bonanza" in one episode as John Henry in the episode "The sisters" (12 December 1959).
*"Perry Mason" in three episodes; as Ed Davenport in "The Case of the Runaway Corpse" (23 November 1957), as Grant Reynolds in "The Case of the Borrowed Brunette" (10 January 1959), and as Frank Avery in "The Case of the Gallant Grafter" (6 February 1960.
*"The Beverly Hillbillies", in three episodes; as Mr Landman in "Jed Pays His Income Tax" (3 April 1963), and as Professor Robet Graham in "Cabin in Beverly Hills" (27 May 1964) and in "Jed Foils a Home Wrecker" (3 June 1964).
*"Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.", in two episodes; Major Stone in "They Shall Not Pass" (4 December 1964) and as Mr. Clark in "Sue The Pants Off 'Em" (1 February 1967).
*"Hogan's Heroes" as Captain Muller in "Go Light on the Heavy Water" (12 November 1965, Professor Bauer in "The Dropouts" (27 December 1970), Major Rudel in "The Softer They Fall" (23 January 1970), Decker in "Bad Day in Berlin" (7 December 1968), Karl in "The Collector General" (9 March 1968), Felix in "One in Every Crowd" (11 November 1967), Major Kohler in "Information Please" (23 December 1966) and as an Inspector General in "Colonel Klink's Secret Weapon" (24 March 1967).

Voiceover work

He did many voice overs for commercials of the era, including spots for Peter Pan Peanut Butter featuring character actor Jesse White. For several decades, Stephenson worked for Hanna-Barbera Productions, providing supporting voices for many of its 1960s and 1970s animated television series, including "Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy", "Top Cat", "Scooby-Doo", "The Jetsons", and "Jonny Quest", among many others. Stephenson's most notable role for Hanna-Barbera was as the voice of Mr. Slate, Fred Flintstone's hard-edged boss at Slate Rock and gravel Company, from the original "The Flintstones" series up through to the present. He also did "Help! It's the Hair Bear Bunch!" and "Inch-High, Private Eye".

Stephenson was most often called upon to voice curmudgeon and irascible characters. His range was limited but served him well in the roles he brought to prominence. In total, Stephenson had about five or six 'voices' he would apply to characters. There is his most-used voice, which he gave to Mr. Slate on "The Flintstones" series. Another character given that same vocal delivery was Chief Wiggins on the series "Dynomutt, Dog Wonder", Sheriff Bagley on "Clue Club", and countless others. Another voice Stephenson liked to use was the high nasal "Joe Flynn" inspired voice. This voice was usually given to the characters that were either rude, or smart-alecks, or flat out mean. Also, these characters were prone to short tempers and two characters voiced by Stephenson spring to mind Mr. Peevly from "Help! It's the Hair Bear Bunch!" and "Schnooker" from the litte seen series "Inspector Mumbly" which aired as part of the "Tom and Jerry, Grape Ape, and Mumbly" series. Stephenson was cast most often in the "Scooby-Doo" cartoons as the villains or the red herring scientist. In "High Rise Hair Raiser", one episode of "Scooby-Doo", Stephenson was the voices of Red Sparks, Mr. Daugherty, Mr. Speck, and the villain of that episode, The Specter. Still, another voice Stephenson was noted for, was his take on "Boris Karloff". A lot of the Karloff-sounding villains in early episodes of "Scooby-Doo" were provided by Stephenson.

Although not noted as a mimic, Stephenson has borrowed the vocal traits of Joe Flynn for several characters as mentioned earlier, Boris Karloff for several more, and did a pretty good Jimmy Durante for the 1970s and 1980s version of "Doggie Daddy". Also, if needed, Stephenson has been known to do to a take-off on Paul Lynde as heard on the 1977 series "Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics" as the character Mildew Wolf. Originally, Paul Lynde voiced the character as part of a segment shown on a series called "Cattanooga Cats" but was not interested in reprising the role on "Laff-a-Lympics". Stephenson also gave voice to the re-designed Dick Dastardly character on that series whose name was Dread Baron. A further Stephenson voice was used for the magician The Great Fondoo, inspired perhaps by Bela Lugosi.

Stephenson reprised his role of Luke from "Wacky Races" in the "Wacky Races" video game.


During the 1980s, he contributed to notable cartoons of the period such as "The Smurfs", "Galaxy High" and '. John also voiced Huffer, Windcharger, Thundercracker, and Alpha Trion from the 1980s mega-hit "The Transformers" and took over the role of Kup for the show's third season (the character was voiced by Lionel Stander in ').


Stephenson is perhaps best known, however, as the narrator in the classic television series "Dragnet" (1967–1970), recapping the fate of the perpetrators at the end of every episode. (The opening narration at this time was performed by George Fenneman.)


Stephenson, using his "Mr. Slate voice," currently provides the voice of Mr. Fernwell in a series of Accountemps radio ads.

External links

*imdb name|id=0827267|name=John Stephenson

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