George O'Hanlon

George Samuel O'Hanlon (November 23, 1912 – February 11, 1989) was an American actor, comedian, writer and director. He was best known for his role as Joe McDoakes in the Warner Bros.' live-action Joe McDoakes short subjects from 1942 to 1956 and as the voice of George Jetson in Hanna-Barbera's 1962 prime-time animated television series The Jetsons and its 1985 revival.

George O'Hanlon
George OHanlon life of riley.JPG
O'Hanlon as Calvin Dudley in The Life of Riley
George Samuel O'Hanlon

(1912-11-23)November 23, 1912
DiedFebruary 11, 1989(1989-02-11) (aged 76)
OccupationActor, comedian, writer, director
Years active1932–1989
Inez Witt
m. 1932; div. 1948)

m. 1949; div. 1952)

Nancy Owens
m. 1953)

Early lifeEdit

George O'Hanlon was born on November 23, 1912 in Brooklyn, New York.



From the early 1940s, O'Hanlon was a character comedian in feature films, usually playing the hero's streetwise, cynical friend. He appeared in features for various studios while continuing the Joe McDoakes role for Warner Bros. After the McDoakes series lapsed in 1956, O'Hanlon returned to character work, mostly in television (two rare post-McDoakes movie appearances are in Bop Girl Goes Calypso and Kronos, both from 1957).


In the 1953-54 season, O'Hanlon appeared several times on NBC's The Dennis Day Show. In 1957, he played Charlie Appleby on an I Love Lucy episode, "Lucy and Superman". In 1958, O'Hanlon played a New York publicist for a fashion model, Loco Jones (Barbara Eden) in the syndicated romantic comedy How to Marry a Millionaire.

In 1962-63, he voiced one of his most prominent characters, George Jetson in the original The Jetsons, a role he would reprise over 20 years later in two additional seasons from 1985 to 1987.[1]

In the autumn of 1964, he appeared as a cab driver in the 13-episode CBS drama The Reporter starring Harry Guardino. In 1966, O'Hanlon appeared opposite Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden's loudmouthed "bum brother-in-law", on Gleason's first TV show of the 1966-67 season. He also made various appearances on ABC's Love, American Style, a series for which he wrote the screenplays and also directed several episodes.

O'Hanlon as Joe McDoakes

In 1971, O'Hanlon appeared as a bear trainer on The Partridge Family, season 2, episode 6, "Whatever Happened to Moby Dick?", a drunk in The Odd Couple, season 2, episode 6, "Murray the Fink" and a drunk in Adam-12, season 4 episode 1, "Extortion".


Apart from acting, the comedian wrote screenplays and also wrote the storyboard for nearly all of the Joe McDoakes shorts. He wrote stories for television series in the 1960s such as Petticoat Junction, 77 Sunset Strip, and wrote episodes for Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones. He also auditioned for the role of Fred Flintstone, but lost to Alan Reed; however, he was remembered when it was time to cast The Jetsons. He once said: "George Jetson is an average man, he has trouble with his boss, he has problems with his kids, and so on. The only difference is that he lives in the next century."[2]

Personal lifeEdit

O'Hanlon was married three times; he was first married to Inez Witt from 1932 to 1948. After divorcing from Witt, he later married actress Martha Stewart in 1949, they divorced in 1952 after three years of marriage.[3] In 1953, O'Hanlon married Nancy Owens, a fellow actress, and they had two children (actor George O'Hanlon, Jr., and daughter Laurie O'Hanlon, a registered nurse). They remained married until his death.[1]


In the mid-1980s, Hanna-Barbera revived The Jetsons and brought back its original voice cast of O'Hanlon, Daws Butler, Mel Blanc, Don Messick, Penny Singleton, Jean Vander Pyl, and Janet Waldo. O'Hanlon had suffered a stroke and was blind and suffering from limited mobility. He recorded his dialogue in a separate session from the other cast members by having all lines read to him by the recording director Gordon Hunt and then recited one at a time.[4][5]

On February 11, 1989, just after recording dialogue for Jetsons: The Movie.[1] O'Hanlon complained of a headache and was taken to Saint Joseph's Hospital in Burbank, California where he died of a second stroke.[6] According to Andrea Romano, who was Hanna-Barbera's casting director at the time, O'Hanlon found it difficult to read and hear, and in the end, he died doing what he loved.[7] The film was dedicated to him, along with Jetsons co-star Mel Blanc who died nearly five months later. Both were replaced by Jeff Bergman to finish the movie.[8]

He is interred in Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Cemetery in Westlake Village, California.




Production workEdit


  1. ^ a b c Associated Press (February 15, 1989). "George O'Hanlon, 76, George Jetson's Voice". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. p. 24.
  2. ^ "George O'Hanlon; Father's voice on Jetsons". Los Angeles Times. February 14, 1989. Archived from the original on 10 August 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. ^ Andre Soares. "Martha Stewart Still Alive?",; accessed February 26, 2016.
  4. ^ Takamoto, Iwao (2009). Iwao Takamoto: My Life with a Thousand Characters. Twao. ISBN 9780786486946.
  5. ^ Lawson, Tim (2004). The Magic Behind the Voices: A Who's Who of Cartoon Voice Actors. Persons. ISBN 9780786486946.
  6. ^ "Location of death".
  7. ^ "Talking Toons With Rob Paulsen: Episode 16 with Guest: Andrea Romano". Talking Toons With Rob Paulsen.
  8. ^ "Porky and pals get new, familiar voice". The Tennessean. Retrieved 23 May 2016.

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