EXPIRED: 04/18/10 – Allen Swift, 86, was born as Ira Stadlen but changed his name to honor radio comedian Fred Allen and 18th century satirist Jonathan Swift.
He was best known as a voice actor, playing roles for cartoons of the 50’s and 60’s like Simon Bar Sinister on the Underdog cartoon show. He provided the voices of many of the characters in The Bluffers, most of the voices for the 1960s underwater puppet show Diver Dan, and the voices in many Tom and Jerry cartoons. He was also the actual live human host on a children’s TV show in WPIX – Channel 11 – New York City as “Captain Allen” where he did skits and played cartoons from the Popeye series.
Swift supplied most of the character voices for the NBC Howdy Doody Show, and when Buffalo Bob Smith, who did the voice of Howdy himself, suffered a heart attack, Swift took home some recordings over the weekend, returned on Monday and supplied Howdy’s voice for more than a year. Kids across America were none the wiser.
Swift lived in Manhattan, which allowed him to guest-star on Law & Order episodes, but he recently fell and broke his hip while walking his dog. That led to a speedy decline in his health.