George O'Hanlon is best known as the voice of hapless dad of the future George Jetson. He also starred as the lovable everyman Joe McDoakes in a series of short films of the 1940s and 50s.
George O'Hanlon was born November 23, 1912, in Brooklyn, New York. From the young age of nineteen he acted in plays Off Broadway, and he began making appearances in small films in 1938. In 1941, he got a job working with the Naval Film Commission making films for the troops, mostly propaganda but with a few practical pieces. George discovered his knack for comedy, and after his two year stint, he was left to his own devices. Using the common man he had created for the few military films he had done, he and director/writer Richard L. Bare began their famous "So You Want To" series, with O'Hanlon starring as Joe McDoakes.
From smoking to hair loss to horse racing, George played the silent straight man to Art Gilmore's humorous narration. Completely in tune with the post-war America, all in all George helped write and star in over 80 of the shorts. By the later years, the series had devolved into more theatrical and impractical scenarios - "So You Want To Be A Detective" had Joe daydreaming as hardboiled private eye Phil Snarlowe, while "So You Don't Trust Your Wife" led to tree-climbing, binocular-toting escapades. By 1957, George and the crew felt wore out by the series, and went their separate ways.
Left to his own devices, George now turned to the booming age of television for roles. He made guest appearances on a number of popular tv shows, from "I Love Lucy" to "Maverick" and "Mister Ed", George was often reprising his Joe McDoakes character, the straight man to his co-star's eccentric leanings. Tall, clean-cut, and with some quirky oversized glasses, O'Hanlon was the perfect man for the job. However, it was the attribute he had never gotten to show off with Joe - his voice - that would get him his most renown in life.
In 1962, fresh off the hit success "The Flintstones", Hanna-Barbera was looking for another 30 minute series for primetime. They thought, why not just make a sitcom in the future? With that, the birth of "The Jetsons" came about. Cast in the lead role of George Jetson was O'Hanlon. Jetson, much like McDoakes, was the everyman: he had a normal job with an overbearing boss; a daughter obsessed with boys and fashion; a loving but occasionally spazzy wife; a rambunctious son and a loving dog. Of course, all of this had a 23rd century bent to it, but George's character and likeability shined through.
"The Jetsons" only lasted for three seasons, but George continued to reprise the role of George in a number of television movies and in the feature-length film "Jetsons: The Movie." In the meantime, he also made more television guest stints ("CHiPs", "Love, American Style", "The Odd Couple") as well as in a string of small movie roles, from a spot as a television personality in Rocky to a soldier in Karate Kid Part II.
His last role was in the aforementioned Jetsons movie, and he passed away of a stroke February 11, 1989, 8 months before the film's release. He was survived by his son George O'Hanlon, Jr., an actor in his own right.
What a doll. She's got everything. Too bad all girls aren't like her, oh well, somebody's got to be in the PTA.