Kenneth Mars, who played two of Mel Brooks' most memorable characters, died on Saturday at his home in Granada Hills, California, at the age of 75 from pancreatic cancer, CNN has confirmed.
Mars is best known for portraying Nazi playwright Franz Liebkind in the original 1968 film "The Producers" (a role taken on by Will Ferrell in the 2005 version), and police inspector Hans Wilhelm Friedrich Kemp (he of the wooden arm, eye patch and monocle) in "Young Frankenstein."
Mars also had a role on the 1967 sitcom "He & She," made many guest appearances on television in the succeeding decades and had roles in other big-screen comedies such as "Fletch" and "Yellowbeard."
He also had quite the voice acting career on shows such as "Darkwing Duck" and "Freakazoid!"
Above all else, and like most Mel Brooks actors, he will probably best be known for lines such as: "Following in his grandfather's footsteps, footsteps, footsteps!," "A riot is an ugly thing ..." (both said in a thick accent), and "I must tell my birds!"
What will you remember most about Mars? Any other favorite lines? Comment below.
I loved Kenneth's voice performances as King Triton in The Little Mermaid and Grandpa Longneck in The Land Before Time Movie Series. Such a terrible lost. He was such a Great Actor. I'm really gonna miss Kenneth Mars.
There are too many lines that where important and a favorite of mine. He will be remembered for what he contributed to Movies and TV for many more years and will always be remembered in our hearts.
"See this, you see this? This is an example of smartness, I thought that it was the quick fuse and it is....THE QUICK FUSE!!!"
Just one of many. I miss you... Rest In Peace <3
KENNETH MARS WAS AN UNSUNG COMEDIAN IN MY BOOK. HE BROUGHT TO LIFE THE ROLE OF 'OTTO'IN THE SERIES 'MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE'. 'THE PRODUCERS'...'YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN'...AND ALL THE WONDERFUL ROLES HE GAVE ONLY HIS PERSONAL BRAND OF HUMOR TO. TRULY,TRULY,TRULY MISSED. KEEP 'EM LAUGHING,WHEREVER YOU ARE! WITH PEACE AND MERCY JAN
Brilliance personified. You will be sorely missed by all fans of Cinema comedy.
"But first, to der lumberyard!"
"Baby?!?! Vat ist dis BAAAAAAABY?!?! Mein Fuhrer never said, Baby!!! - Franz Liebkind responding to Dick Shawn's L.S.D ad lib during rehearsal of "Springtime for Hitler". My favorite of his lines in The Producers. Hilarious! The original movie can NEVER be surpassed! The synergy of Stars in it was a once in million years event.
I will always remember his roles in "Young Frankenstein" and "What's Up Doc". Funny, talented actor with great timing.
"A riot iss a terrible thing...und...I think it iss about time zat ve had vone!"
Was the line in BC and the SK, How many of you have your own horses? (silence) How many of you have your own guns? silence) How many f you want me to furnish you with guns? (silence)
Ahh, so sad.
I was just a little girl when I first heard a performance of his, and unfortunately wasn't born yet to watch the Producers.
REST IN PEACE, KING TRITON.
It looks like the "curse of working for Mel Brooks" strikes again.
You mean the curse of growing old and dying of natural causes? Yeah, weird, huh?
"Hitler, now there was a painter. He could paint an entire apartment in ONE AFTERNOON, TWO COATS!!"
You brought so much to so many. RIP Kenneth.
"You are the audience. I am am the author. I outrank you!"
RIP and thanks for sharing the laughter.
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Such a loss. It saddens me to see the alumni club of Mel Brooks passing on. He will forever be remembered for his outstanding contributions to comic genius. I salute you, sir, wherever you may be now.
I worked with Kenny Mars many times and always found him to be a smart, gracious, not to mention hysterically funny performer. With all his brilliant moments on film, his talent will be remembered and cherished forever. It's a tough call, but my favorite line has to be: "I find that as difficult to swallow as this potage au gelee." from What's Up Doc? His delivery was just brilliant.
"Foolish, foolish of you! It was that essay that allowed me to become one of two finalists in contention for the Larraby grant.
Amazingly, you are the other one!"
What's Up Doc
Loved him in "Young Frankenstein" of course, but here's also a shout out for his voicework as King Triton in Disney's "The Little Mermaid." Here's to a truly loved performer.
Baby! Baby!... Why does he say this "baby"? The Führer has never said "baby". I did not write, "baby". What is it with this, "baby"?
Ah! Didn't see your post when I left mine, Mike. You have the correct wording. I was going from (a bad) memory. Good to know that I'm not the only one who loves this line from The Producers.
I heard that Mel Brooks was going to play the part of Franz Liebkind but when he saw Mars he changed his mind. Good choice. He was perfect for that role and absolutely brilliant.
Inspector Kemp...what a rich character. He ruled every second he was on screen. You will be missed Kenneth Mars.
Yes, Malcolm ITM is my fondest of memories of him. Not only was he my favorite comic "relief" on that show, but he always seemed to brighten my spirit when he appeared. There was some glow within him that seemed to transcend acting, go beyond humor, and somehow make me feel just a little better about myself and my life. To wear something special that comes from within you, to wear that on the outside – like your heart on a sleeve – is a special talent in the acting realm that appears in a rare few; he was one. "The spirit of man [is] the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly" (Proverb 20:27). Check out his work in 'Adventures In Odyssey'.
Yes! As the odiously obnoxious Russian musicologist in "What's Up Doc", Mr. Mars played his part with true gusto! One of the best lines from that movie, as I recall, was when he pompously claimed to be a Doctor of Music. Another character asked him is he could fix a hi-fi. He answered "No". And the other character replied "Then shut up!".
A true comic, deftly playing all manner of characters with zeal, Mr. Mars was a wonderful member of Mel Brooks fantastic stable of funny people. He now joins Madeleine Kahn, Marty Feldman and others in our memories. Bravo, Mr. Mars...bravo!
He was Croatian, not Russian....and hilarious.
My brother and I remember Kenneth Mars from the 1972 film, "What's Up Doc?," in which the main stars were Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal.
His best performance, in my opinion, was in "What's Up Doc?".
Ya will be sadly missed but not forgotten obviously! I think "What's up Doc" from '72 is one of the best 'screwball' comedies of all time and a big personal fave....Great cast and Kenneth Mars as Hugh Simon was hilarious!! I think it was recently re-released on DVD (hopefully cleaned up)...if you haven't seen it, check it out!! Ryan O'Neal is dead-pan perfect and 'Babs' is excellenlty funny (genuinely channeling Bugs Bunny at times!!) and it has one of the best chase scenes of all time with some prime stuntwork!!
Here's my first memory of Kenneth Mars. What a comic talent!
"'Baby'? Vat is zis 'Baby'? Der Fuhrer never said 'Baby'!"
Hilarious as Hugh in What's Up Doc (1972)!!
Hugh (Mars): I find that as difficult to swallow as this potage au gelee.
Judy (Barbra Streisand): How would you like to swallow one sandwich d'knuckles?
As some posted, Kenneth Mars was brilliant in everything he did, but his most recent work on Malcolm in the Middle was incredibly hilarious proving that with age his craft continued to improve and delight all new generations of fans. I am saddened to hear of his passing and my condolences to his family and friends. Thank you for the many tears you have brought to our eyes over the years through laughter.
Good lord CNN why not just say Kenneth Mars has passed away... and speaking oh which, rest in peace Ken.
My favorite line of all time and it's from What's Up Dock when a gang breaks into a party and Mars shouts in his Russian accent, "My God don't shoot, I'm part Italian".
he will be missed..Time to watch the origional Producers for the 500th time.
King triton will be missed.
"Churchill! He couldn't even say Nazis – he would say Nawsees. We wasn't Nawsees – we was NAZIS!!!"
I remember him from Malcolm in the Middle. Francis worked for him and his wife. I thought he was hilarious in that part.
Bialystock: We're here to talk to you about your play.
Liebkind: You mean "Springtime for......you-know-who?"
As funny as he was with Mel Brooks and the sublime Madeline Kahn, he was a total riot (pun intended) on Malcolm in the Middle. Never failed to get a laugh out of me.
I love this guy. He brought tears of laughter to my eyes.
all the good ones are dying off. the new crop of no talent drug addicts and alcoholics just keep on living!
He was one of those actors that made the most out his roles. A secondary charactor that would steal the show. A class act. RIP I think I just heard god chuckle!
" A rrriott iss an ugly thingk... and I sink it's about time we had one!" "Ziz iss not ein example of schmart..." Und s&%t. Kenneth Mars is gone. RIP, Kenneth, we really loved you.
It was so sad....
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He was great in the Mel Brooks films as we all remember. He was also hilarious in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". He was the sheriff who gets upstaged by a bicycle salesman while trying to get a posse together....all while being watched with amusement by Butch from a nearby brothel. Rest Well!
Are you THE Jim Messina?
I was walking to my boat early one evening and bumped into Ken, who had forgotten his dock key on his boat and couldn't get back through the locked gate. At that point in time we had never met before.
My boat was in the same anchorage, so my key worked to open up his gate. He was so grateful, he invited me down to his boat and then offered to buy me dinner at the nearby Charthouse restaurant.
We never did have that dinner (I had other plans that evening), but I'll always remember his generous show of appreciation for my simple act of opening up his dock gate – something that anyone in the marina would do for him, if asked. He was a true gentleman.
Gene Grossman: http://www.LegalMystery.com
Amazing in 'What's Up Doc'! hilarious and super talented. RIP.
Wasn't he the one-eyed hangman in Robing Hood: Men in Tights? "Do you want a blindfold? How about half of one?" Well, you know what they say, no noose is good noose!"
I am SO glad to see other people remember him in What's Up Doc? He so made the movie. In his entire career , Mars posted an amazing array of perfect charaterizations. I've never seen him fail to raise the overall production much, much higher.
Thank you much, Kenneth Mars, for everything.
Inspector Kemp is one of the funniest roles of all time.
What a horrible and disrespectfully written article; No mention of the deceased age, cause of death, survivors, etc...items included in any such notice. Take a journalism class or two!
Didn't you read the article. It's all right there – age and cause of death.
Overreact much? You remind of that he/she who posted that crying "Leave Britney Alone!" YouTube video.
Lets not forget he played the Marshall in Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.
Thank you Duke! I was searching the comments to see if anyone mentioned the wonderful turn he had in "BC & the SD Kid" one of my alltime favorites.
Franz Liebkind spoke about "mein Fuehrer" in the producers. "Mein Fuehrer was an artists, a painter. He could paint a whole apartment in one afternoon. - Two coats!"
From the Producers:
"This is not good. I am not killing you. Don't you undertand? You must die! Will you cooperate?!"
"He vass a nice guy". Spoken about Hitler in 'The Producers'.
What a wonderful legacy to leave behind – laughter shared and remembered amongst all of us posting here, and many others, for many years past and (I'm sure) into the future as well! RIP, Kenneth.
Just watched Young Frankenstein last week...he was so hysterical with the wooden arm! RIP
" Churchill – he couldn't even say "Nazi"! He said "Nahzi, Nahzi". We vasn't Nahzies, Ve vas NAZIs!!! Producers
I will always remember him from What's Up Doc?
Even now he is still making us laugh. Oh What a party they're having in Heaven, RIP Kenneth
ffffht, ffffht, ffffht. Nice placing.
The line that, of all of them seems the most classic to me is – after trying to shoot himself in the head in Bialystock and Bloom's office (in The Producers – my favorite film), the gun misfires – and he says "Boy....when things go wrong..".
Hard to get more ironic (and iconic) than that. The minute I saw the headline "Actor in Mel Brooks films dies, I knew it was Ken Mars. Madaline Kahn went to my high school and Mel Brooks lives downstairs from my first cousin – I feel like I'm related to all of them – sad day.
"Alan Stanwick is not involved in any improprieties, I don't know where the SEC gets off making such an accusation"
Well, you know that and I know that, but somebody is bucking for a promotion, It's probably that
My prior comment was wrong, Shtarker was King Moody. Still, Mars was very funny. (So was Moody.)
Sorry. The line is from The Producers, not Young Frankenstein.
From YF: "I am ze aussor; you are ze audience! I outrrrank you!"
He was the voice of King Triton in the "The Little Mermaid!"
Two lines that always make me laugh–voootshtops, vootshtops! in the townhall is one of them. He was terrific! (Other was "He vass my boyfriend!")
I remember him in the old sitcom "He and She" from the 1960's. He played a fireman who lived next door to Paula Prentiss and Richard Benjamin, who were married in real life as well as on the show. What stands out most is how Mars used to cross over on a diving board to enter their apartment. Someone had given it to them as a wedding gift and they had no place to use it.
Thanks for the reminder; I loved "He & She" and Mr. Mars's role on the show.
I loved him in "He and She." He was the cute, nice firefighter who worked next door.
I worked with Kenneth. I real gentleman. He wrote many of those famous lines himself.
In recent years he was known as Otto the inkeeper in malcolm in the middle
Wasn't he "Shtarker" on Get Smart? Hilarious. Siegfried would say, after Shtarker did something really silly, " Shtarker!! This is KAOS! We don't [fill in blank] here!!!"
don't forget Ketteth Mars' brilliant role in the now-forgotten classic, "What's Up, Doc?"
Mars played a snobby Croatian musicologist to perfection. What a loss. RIP Kenneth Mars
oh...not so forgotten...many of us on here are sharing wonderful memories of that role. when my parents had me watch it in the 70s i hated Hugh! but oh do i love him now!
If I remember correctly he was also the voice of King Triton in "The Little Mermaid." Very talented guy.
Loved him in the Mel Brooks stuff, but he also played a German dude ranch owner on Malcolm in the Middle. He owned the ranch that the oldest brother Francis worked at for a while. Funny in that as well. RIP Mr. Mars.
"Tonight, Broadway – tomorrow "makes 'the world' gesture with his hands"
"Oh beautiful, for spacious skies..."
Franz Liebkind- "The Producers" in court in a full body cast after making another monumental and hilarious mistake line:
"See!!! You see this?!!! This is smartness! This is the quick burning fuse!!!"
The Producers and of course Malcolm in the Middle as the oldest brother's Ranch owning boss..He was hilarious..what a loss!
"I vill put zis dynamite back." – The Producers
One of my favorite lines...especially the seriousness with which he delivered it! One of his greatest qualities was his ability to deliver the craziest lines with conviction and passion. He was funny on "Malcom", too!
What a loss! Kenneth Mars was a comic genius and I agree that his turns in WHAT'S UP DOC and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN were inspired. Best line to Barbra Streisand in WHAT'S UP DOC: "I find that story as hard to swallow as this Potage Enjoli."
"To zee lumberyard!"
How many remember him from Fernwood Tonight where he always wore this corrective brace on his chin that he got from the "chinodontist".
"My papers are in order. Why do you persecute me?"
"The Fuhrer was a beautiful man."
" Ohhh, he vas a vunderful dahncer!" (Producers)
He kut dance ze PANTZ offa Churcill!
He was hilarious as W.D. "Bud" Prize with his "chinodontics" on Fernwood Tonight.
Glad you remembered that, Erik. Whenever Mr. Mars appeared on that wonderful show with that chin contraption, he was spectacular. He and some girl who did cheerleader dances were always the highlights of that Martin Mull program.
Don't touch me I'm a Doctor!
What kind of a Dr.?
A Dr. of music.
Can you fix a HiFi?
No (What's up Doc)
I remember he played in "What's up Doc?" with Ryan O'Neill and Barbara Streisand.
In Young Frankenstein, he questions Gene Wilder while Wilder is throwing darts. In my mind the most hilarious scene in the movie and here were lots of them. Perhaps better stated, among the funniest.
I think the cat yowl at the end of that scene was actually Mel Brooks.
I bet he and Madeline Kahn are having a fine time together now – RIP Kenneth.
Both great comedic actors. We will always have their performances on film to remember.
Don't forget Peter Boyle too.
"I do not know who he is, but she is duh-finit-lee not herzelf." (What's up, Doc)
From "What's Up Doc?" "I am Hugh" (mistaken for "I am You" in a run in with the crazy judge)
You are me?
(Judge) Who are you? (Hugh) I am Hugh. (Judge) You are me? (Hugh) NO, I am HUGH! (Judge) Stop saying that!
I may be a bit off on the correct lines but that banter was tops in my book. Rest in Peace Kenneth.
Oh, he was brilliant in What's up Doc? !! What a fine actor. So good at accents. He will be missed!!
Yes... "I'm You! I'm You!" & the Judge replies "Get him to stop saying that!"
Excellent call. I will miss Kenneth Mars.
I loved that role! He and "Burnsie" played quite well off one another!
One of the funniest movies of all time...written by the severely demented Buck Henry. In this clip you can also see a very young Sorrell Brook
"What's Up Doc?" is my favorite Kenneth Mars movie!
Hitler, there was a painter. He could paint an entire apartment in one afternoon –two coats!
hahaha! that is my favorite for sure, his delivery and passion on the line is hilarious
"And now, let's go back to my place for a little wine, a little sponge cake!"
"...TO THE LUMBER YARD!!"
" and who are you that you order these people about" – Young Frankstein
LOL! Loved the way he played dart.
That was one of the best lines
There are so many......so many. What a brilliant actor. What a loss.
"You will please be unconscious!" – Franz Liebkind, "The Producers", while knocking out a stage hand with a blunt object.
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