Actor George S. Irving, a Tony winner in 1973 for Best Featured Actor in a Musical in Irene opposite Debbie Reynolds, died December 26.
Born George Irving Shelasky November 1, 1922, in Springfield, Massachusetts, he grew up singing at neighborhood synagogues and churches. In 1942 he was cast in the chorus at the MUNY in St. Louis, and made his Broadway debut in 1943 in Oklahoma!. With 32 Broadway credits, Irving performed in such classics as Gentleman Prefer Blondes, Can-Can, Bells Are Ringing, the 1981 revival of The Pirates of Penzance, and Me and My Girl, for which he earned a Tony nomination. He was last seen on a Broadway stage for the one-night-only benefit performance A Wonderful Life for The Actors’ Fund.
Irving performed his solo show at Feinstein’s in New York City in 2008 to raves, and later that year received the 17th Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre. Playbill spoke to him just last year about his star turn in Project Shaw's A Chekhov and Shaw Comedy Night.
The actor also worked in television, most known as a recurring guest star on All in the Family, playing Russ DeKuyper. He also appeared on the 1976 sitcom The Dumplings and did commercials for White Owl cigars. Irving was a noted voice actor, having provided the sound for Heat Miser in the animated holiday special The Year Without a Santa Claus and also as Mister Gepetto in Pinocchio’s Christmas.
His voice is easily recognizable in some familiar Broadway cast recordings:
“I‘m a-Tingle, I’m a-Glow” from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
The announcer in the title song of Bells Are Ringing
“They Go Wild, Simply Wild, Over Me” fron Irene.
“Virtue, Arrivederci” from Bravo Giovanni
Irving was married to actor Maria Karnilova until her death in 2001. He is survived by their two children and three grandchildren.