John Byner (born John Biener; June 28, 1938) is an American actor, comedian, and impressionist who has had a lengthy television and movie career. His voice work includes the cartoon series The Ant and the Aardvark, in which the title characters are voiced by Byner's impressions of Dean Martin and Jackie Mason, respectively.
June 28, 1938
New York City, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, impressionist|
(m. 1960; div. 1969)
(m. 1982; div. 1983)
(m. 1985–?; divorced)
|Children||4 (with Eleanor Belcher)|
On The Ed Sullivan Show, where he made his first early TV appearances, he mimicked Ed Sullivan among many others. Other impressions included John Wayne and he sings as Dean Martin and Johnny Mathis. His ability to mimic "Toastmaster General" George Jessel came in handy during his appearances on panel programs such as celebrity "roasts" and other tributes.
On a 1967 episode of Get Smart, he played a KAOS agent who made a phone call to the Chief of CONTROL (played by Edward Platt), performed a perfect impression of President Lyndon B. Johnson, and told the Chief he was fired and replaced with agent Maxwell Smart (Don Adams).
In 1970-71, he hosted 22 episodes of Something Else, a syndicated half-hour musical variety series. He then hosted his own show in 1972 called the John Byner Comedy Hour, where the character Super Dave Osborne, portrayed by Bob Einstein, was first introduced. That same year, he had a cameo appearance in What's Up, Doc? In the mid-1970s, he guest starred in two episodes of The Odd Couple.
Byner played a comedian/impersonator aboard a cruise ship in season 6 of Hawaii Five-O. His character, Duffy Malone, did impersonations of John Wayne and then got hit on the back of his head as a diversionary tactic by the bad guy. He had a recurring role in the situation comedy The Practice during its first season in 1976.
In the late 1970s, he had a featured role as Detective Donahue on the TV series Soap. He was cast in Happy Days as Mork from Ork but found the premise ridiculous, so he declined the role days before filming began. Robin Williams was called in at the last minute, and that substitution proved to be a career-making part for the comedian who deeply impressed everyone with his talent.
In the 1970s, Byner appeared several times on The Carol Burnett Show, where in one comedy sketch he wore a Donald Duck costume and mimicked the cartoon character's distinctive voice. He appeared several times on talk shows hosted by David Letterman.
In the 1980s, he hosted Bizarre, which re-introduced many people to hapless daredevil Super Dave Osborne played by Bob Einstein. In 1983 he had a role as "Doc," who was Burt Reynolds's longtime childhood friend in the movie Stroker Ace. In 1985 The Walt Disney Company's animated feature The Black Cauldron was released, featuring Byner voicing the characters Gurgi and Doli. He was a regular celebrity guest on Hollywood Squares during the John Davidson years and later hosted the 1988-89 syndicated game show Relatively Speaking. He appeared in an episode of Friday the 13th: The Series as a washed-up ventriloquist.
On May 26, 2017, it was reported that Byner had been cast in a supporting role in the Amazon Video horror anthology series Lore, which is based on the podcast of the same name. Byner portrays Patrick Boland, the father of Bridget Cleary (played by Holland Roden). Lore premiered on October 13, 2017.
Byner was born John Biener in New York City, the son of Christina, a mental hospital attendant, and Michael Biener, a truck mechanic. Byner has been married four times, and has four children with his first wife Eleanor Belcher. One of his children, Don (Donny) Byner, strongly resembles his father and appeared for the first time on TV dressed as a leprechaun on "Captain's Log with Captain Mark Gray". He has been married to Anne Gaybis since 1992.
|1969||The Ant and the Aardvark||Ant / Aardvark||Short film; voice role|
|1969||Hasty But Tasty||Ant / Aardvark||Short film; voice role|
|1969||The Ant from Uncle||Ant / Aardvark / Aunt||Short film; voice role|
|1969||I've Got Ants in my Plans||Ant / Aardvark / Green Aardvark||Short film; voice role|
|1969||The Deadwood Thunderball||Roland||Short film; voice role|
|1969||Technology, Phooey||Ant / Aardvark / Computer||Short film; voice role|
|1969||Tijuana Toads||Texas Grasshopper||Short film; voice role|
|1969||Never Bug an Ant||Ant / Aardvark||Short film; voice role|
|1969||Dune Bug||Ant / Aardvark / Life Guard / Woman||Short film; voice role|
|1969||Isle of Caprice||Aardvark||Short film; voice role|
|1970||Scratch a Tiger||Ant / Aardvark||Short film; voice role|
|1970||Odd Ant Out||Ant / Aardvark / Green Aardvark||Short film; voice role|
|1970||Ants in the Pantry||Ant / Aardvark / Pest Control Employee||Short film; voice role|
|1970||Science Friction||Ant / Aardvark / Scientist||Short film; voice role|
|1970||Mumbo Jumbo||Ant / Aardvark / Tiny||Short film|
|1970||The Froze Nose Knows||Ant / Aardvark||Short film; voice role|
|1970||Don't Hustle an Ant with Muscle||Ant / Aardvark||Short film; voice role|
|1971||Rough Brunch||Ant / Aardvark||Short film; voice role|
|1971||From Bed to Worse||Ant / Aardvark||Short film; voice role|
|1972||What's Up, Doc?||Man at the Hotel Banquet||Uncredited|
|1977||The Great Smokey Roadblock||Bobby Apples||also known as The Goodbye Run and the Last of the Cowboy|
|1979||A Pleasure Doing Business||Lenny|
|1983||Stroker Ace||Doc Seegle|
|1985||The Black Cauldron||Gurgi / Doli||Voice|
|1992||Munchie Strikes Back||Coach Elkins|
|2000||My 5 Wives||Preston Gates|
|2009||The Greatest Show on Earth||Walter / The Magnificent Mr. Beauregard||Short film|
|2015||The Kustomonster Movie||Colonel Climber|
|TBA||D.O.A. The Movie||Majak||Post-production|
|2022||Johnny Bravo The Movie Complication Remake Footage'||Huckleberry Hound / Dr.Gromit / Dinky||Voice|
|1967||The Steve Allen Comedy Hour||Himself||Episode: #1.01|
|1967-1968||Accidental Family||Dewey||Recurring role; 4 episodes|
|1968||Get Smart||Gorshen||Episode: "The Hot Line"|
|1968||The Mothers-in-Law||Arnold Lacy||Episode: "It's a Dog's Life"|
|1969||That's Life||Episode: "Chalk Can Be Sexy"|
|1969||The Pink Panther Show||Ant / Aardvark||Unknown episodes|
|1971||Aesop's Fables||Tortoise||Animated television special; voice role|
|1972||The Don Rickles Show||Giuseppe||Episode: #1.3|
|1972||The Singles||Television film|
|1973||Love, American Style||Wendall McFee||Segment: "Love and the Lifter"; Episode: "Love and the Comedienne/Love and the Lie/Love and the Lifter/Love and the Suspicious Husband"|
|1973-1974||The Odd Couple||Hooper / Bert||Guest role; 2 episodes|
|1974||Hawaii Five-O||Duffy Malone||Episode: "Killer at Sea"|
|1975||When Things Were Rotten||Dr. Otto Bahn||Episode: "The Ultimate Weapon"|
|1976||The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson||Himself||Episode: #15.4|
|1976||The Practice||Dr. Roland Caine||Guest role; 2 episodes|
|1976||The Pink Panther Laugh and a Half Hour and a Half Show||Ant / Aardvark||Voice role|
|1977||Maude||Marshall Keebler||Episode: "Captain Hero"|
|1977||McNamara's Band||Johnny McNamara||Television film|
|1978-1980||Soap||Detective Donahue||Recurring role; 17 episodes|
|1978||Three on a Date||Donald Lumis||Television film|
|1978||A Guide for the Married Woman||Elevator Man||Television film|
|1979||Stockard Channing in Just Friends||Jerry Smeg||Episode: "The Hollywood Syndrome"|
|1979||The Man in the Santa Claus Suit||Stan Summerville||Television film|
|1980||Murder Can Hurt You!||Len "Hatch" Hatchington||Television film|
|1980-1986||Bizarre||Himself||Host and Performer; 141 episodes|
|1982||Will: G. Gordon Liddy||Richard Nixon||Television film; voice role|
|1986||ABC Weekend Special||Guest with Dog||Episode: "The Mouse and the Motorcycle"|
|1986||The Love Boat||Arthur Burkley||Guest role; 2 episodes|
|1988||A Whole Lotta Fun||Television film|
|1988||Friday the 13th: The Series||Travis Plunckett||Episode: "Read My Lips"|
|1991||Married... with Children||The Prospector||Episode: "Route 666: Part 1"|
|1991||A Wish for Wings That Work||Bill the Cat||Television special; voice role|
|1992-1994||Silk Stalkings||Cotton Dunn||Recurring role; 12 episodes|
|1993||Garfield and Friends||Guest role; 2 episodes, voice role|
|1993||Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron||David Littlebin||Episode: "Enter the Madkat"; voice role|
|1993-1994||The Pink Panther||Ant / Aardvark||Guest role; 3 episodes, voice role|
|1994||Lamb Chop and the Haunted Studio||Himself||Television film|
|1994-1995||Aaahh!!! Real Monsters||Sheriff / Old Man / Dean||Guest role; 3 episodes|
|1994-1996||Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man||Dr. Gerhardt Morsink||Guest role; 2 episodes|
|1995||In the Heat of the Night||Tom Harwood||Episode: "Grow Old Along with Me"|
|1995||The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat||Mr. Frog||Guest role; 2 episodes, voice role|
|1997||Rugrats||Carwash Owner / Cashier||Episode: "The Carwash/Heatwave"; voice role|
|1997||Dharma & Greg||Reverend James||Episode: "And Then There's the Wedding"|
|1998||Super Dave's All Stars||Elvis||Episode: #1.4|
|1998||The Angry Beavers||Alien Object / Man's Voice||Episode: "The Day the World Got Really Screwed Up"; voice role|
|1999||The Simpsons||Zorro||Episode: "E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)"; voice role|
|2002||The Big Time||Ed Wynn||Television film|
|2013||The First Family||Malcolm MacDougal||Episode: "The First Shrink"|
|2017||Lore||Patrick Boland||Episode: "Black Stockings"|
- A Party for Wences Archived 2006-09-09 at the Wayback Machine, povonline.com; accessed June 28, 2015.
- (Season 6, Disc 6 Hawaii Five-O complete series)
- "'Happy Days' Cast Reveals How Robin Williams Got Cast as a "Martian" in Show's "Worst Script"". The Hollywood Reporter. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
- "Entertainer Actor Comedian: John Byner", JohnByner.com; retrieved November 3, 2017.
- Katie McNeice (May 26, 2017). "'Ray Donovan' Actor Cathal Pendred to take leading role in 'Lore' Adaption for Amazon". The Irish Film Television Network. Retrieved September 5, 2017.[permanent dead link]
- Eric McAdams (August 29, 2017). "Watch the Trailer for Lore, Amazon's Creepy New Show". Paste Magazine. Retrieved September 5, 2017.[permanent dead link]
- John Byner profile, filmreference.com; accessed June 28, 2015.
- Wallace, Jeff (2015). "5 things you didn't know about John Byner", AXS, Aug 31, 2015. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
- Neuhaus, Cable (1983). "Rude, Crude and Outrageous, John Byner's Bizarre Behavior Makes Him Cable's King of Comedy", People, December 12, 1983. Retrieved November 3, 2017.