Alan Sues

Alan Grigsby Sues (March 7, 1926 – December 1, 2011) was an American actor widely known for his roles on the 1968–1973 television series Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.

Alan Sues
Alan Grigsby Sues

(1926-03-07)March 7, 1926
DiedDecember 1, 2011(2011-12-01) (aged 85)
OccupationActor, comedian
Years active1953–2009
TelevisionRowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Phyllis Gehrig
(m. 1953; div. 1958)

Sues's on-screen persona was campy and outrageous. Typical of his humor was a skit that found him following a pair of whiskey-drinking cowboys to a Wild West bar and requesting a frozen daiquiri.[1][2] His recurring characters on the program included "Big Al the Sportscaster", "Uncle Al the Kiddies' Pal", and "Jo Anne Worley", after Worley left the show.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Alan Grigsby Sues was born on March 7, 1926, in Ross, California, to Alice (née Murray) and Melvyn Sues, who raised racehorses, requiring the family to move frequently. He served in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II.[3]


Sues used his GI Bill benefits to pay for acting lessons at the Pasadena Playhouse, where he performed, later making his Broadway debut in the stage play Tea and Sympathy, directed by Elia Kazan, which had a successful run in New York City beginning in 1953.[3] During this period, he met and married Phyllis Gehrig, a dancer and actress, subsequently starting a vaudevillian nightclub act in Manhattan — with which they toured North America before divorcing in 1958.[3]

After touring the country with his wife, he got more work in stand-up comedy (at Reuben Bleu and Blue Angel, both clubs in Manhattan), worked with Julius Monk, and joined an improv/sketch group with The Mad Show, which led to his being cast in Laugh-In.[3] Outside of Laugh-In, he appeared in the classic Twilight Zone episode "The Masks", in a non-comedic role.[4] He also had supporting roles in the films Move Over, Darling (1963) and The Americanization of Emily (1964).[5]

After Laugh-In, Sues portrayed Professor Moriarty onstage in Sherlock Holmes (opposite John Wood, and later Leonard Nimoy), which, according to Alan, was "one of my favorite roles, because it's so against type, and I loved the makeup". The makeup for Moriarty was used in several books about makeup as an example of shadowing and technique.[2] Sues appeared in television commercials for Peter Pan Peanut Butter during the 1970s, as a tongue-in-cheek Peter Pan. He toured with Singin' in the Rain, playing the Elocution Instructor. He also appeared in several movies, and provided voiceovers including Oh! Heavenly Dog and Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July.[6]

During the 1970s, Sues appeared as a celebrity guest on some popular game shows of the era, including The Movie Game, Celebrity Sweepstakes, The Cross-Wits and Liar's Club.[citation needed]

Later yearsEdit

Sues appeared in the short films Lord of the Road (1999) and Artificially Speaking (2009), the latter making its premiere at the 2009 Dances With Films festival in Los Angeles.

In 2008, fifty years after their divorce, Sues and his former wife, Phyllis, conducted a lengthy interview at his home for her website.[7]


Sues died on December 1, 2011, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, where he was taken after suffering an apparent heart attack while watching television with his beloved dog, Doris, according to his partner and accountant, Michael Michaud.[3]






  1. ^ a b Erickson, Hal (2000). From Beautiful Downtown Burbank: A Critical History of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, 1968-1973. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co. ISBN 978-0-7864-0766-8.
  2. ^ a b "Alan Sues dies". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. December 11, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e Slotnik, Daniel E. (December 2, 2011). "Alan Sues, a 'Laugh-In' Cast Mainstay, Dies at 85". The New York Times. p. A21.
  4. ^ "The Twilight Zone - Season 5 (The Definitive Edition)". DVD Talk. December 26, 2005. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  5. ^ "Actor Alan Sues dead at 85". United Press International. December 2, 2011. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  6. ^ Crump, William D. (2013). The Christmas Encyclopedia (3rd ed.). McFarland & Company. p. 349. ISBN 978-0786468270.
  7. ^ "Talking with Alan Sues, Part One" on YouTube
  8. ^ Florenski, Joe. "Kenley Players Productions". The Kenley Players. Retrieved 5 December 2011.

External linksEdit