Ken Berry of 'F Troop,' 'Mama's Family' Dead at 85
December 1, 2018
Ken Berry, a TV and theater actor best remembered as one of the stars of the series "F Troop" and "Mama's Family," has died at 85.
Berry's death on Saturday was announced on social media by his former wife, comic actress Jackie Joseph.
The Illinois-born performer was discovered as a dancer as a teen, shortly before he served in the U.S. Army. While there, he won a dance competition that led to his TV debut. He spent the rest of his time in the military as a part of Special Services, entertaining the troops. A second talent competition resulted in an appearance on Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town," exposure that won him a contract with Universal.
He performed in Las Vegas and as part of "The Billy Barnes Revue," which wound up on Broadway and was where he met his future wife, Joseph.
Berry became a frequent television presence; he was a regular on "The Ann Sothern Show" (1960-1961), "Ensign O'Toole" (1962-1963), "Dr. Kildare" (1961-1964), "F Troop" (1965-1967), "The Andy Griffith Show" (1968), "Mayberry, R.F.D." (1968-1971), and was the star of an episode of "The Brady Bunch" called "Kelly's Kids" (1974), which was a proposed spin-off that did not develop.
Berry had a long association and friendship with Carol Burnett, on whose variety show he appeared 19 times between 1968-1978. He played Vinton Harper in the show's iconic "The Family" sketches, which became the long-running series "Mama's Family," on which he appeared from 1983-1990.
He also acted in the popular Disney films: "Herbie Rides Again" (1974) and "The Cat from Outer Space" (1978).
Berry's last on-screen work was almost 20 years ago, in the short-lived series "Maggie Winters" (1999).
He was preceded in death by his son with Joseph, John, who passed away in 2016 after a battle with brain cancer. He is survived by their daughter together, Jennifer.
BERRY, Ken (Kenneth Ronald Berry)
Born: 11/3/1933, Moline, Illinois, USA
Died: 12/1/2018, Burbank, California, U.S.A.
Ken Berry’s westerns – actor:
Rawhide (TV) – 1965 (Lt. Tendall)
F Troop (TV) – 1965-1967 (Capt. Wilton Parmenter)
Guardian of the Wilderness – 1976 (Zachary Moore)
The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams (TV) – 1977 (Will Boker)
Little House on the Prairie (TV) – 1979 (London)