Mr. Roland, born in Eldred, PA, and raised in Brooklyn, started his career in show business as a well-known boy soprano, singing all over the country, most notably at the 1939 World's Fair, his son Richard told Playbill.com. He made his Broadway debut as a replacement in the original production of South Pacific playing Seaman Tom O'Brien. It was a favorite job, his son said.
Mr. Roland went on to appear in the original Broadway casts of Pipe Dream (Bill), Bells Are Ringing (Paul Arnold, Inspector Barnes), Do Re Mi (Lou), Come On Strong (Mike Amidon), 110 in the Shade (Noah Curry) and I Had a Ball (Brooks). He was a regular performer at Julius Monk's Upstairs at the Downstairs and other downtown clubs. He also made two notable guest appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show," accompanying himself on his guitar.
Summer stock and tours were also part of his career. He played opposite Dorothy Loudon in a tour of The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
In the 1960s, he began finding success in TV and radio commercials, appearing in and voicing thousands of ads. He was widely recognized for selling everything from diapers to cigarettes to cars and everything in between, said his son, who followed his parents into a life in the theatre.
Mr. Roland was born on July 16, 1928, went to Erasmus High School in Brooklyn, served in the Korean War and went right to Broadway.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Lispet Nelson Roland (they met performing together in I Had a Ball) and son Richard Roland and husband Raymond Sage, and daughter Kristina Roland and husband Christopher Kolb.
There will be no funeral, but a memorial celebration is planned for later this year. In lieu of flowers or cards, the family suggests donations to The Actors Fund.