The Actor with the 3-D Name
Interview by Michael Barnum
VideoWatcHDog No. 143 Sep 2008
Who were some of the voice actors and actresses working in Italy at that time?
The greats were Tony LaPenna (who did most of the four-ball voices for the '60s greats) and Frank Latimore, who did Steve Reeves' voice in one of the films I dubbed; Bill Kuehl, who went on to be one of the big voices in the history of the business. I don't think any of these guys are still with us. There was Roland Bartrop, Mel Welles, Mel Gaines, Dan Sturkie, all deceased; Bill Conti, who did the ROCKY score, even did a few stints in the sala in those years when he was a struggling musician studying composition at some music academy in Rome while playing piano at clubs to support his wife and family. There was also Tony Russel (who was also President of ELDA, the English Language Dubbers Association), Roger Browne, Ed Mannix, Chuck Harrison, Chuck Howerton, Ted Rusoff, Bob Spatford, and so many others whose names just don't come to me at the moment. Among the great ladies were Jodean Russo (Tony Russel's ex-wife), Susan Miller (Bob Spatford's wife), Carolyn De Fonseca (now married to Ted Rusoff), Carol Danell, Pat Starke, Sara Collingswood and, again, so many I just can't bring to mind.
I dubbed every film I was in, with the exception of my role in GOD DOES NOT PAY ON SATURDAY in which I was dubbed by Paul Muller. I was in San Francisco doing MY FAIR LADY that summer and they just wouldn't let me do the dubbing over the phone [laughs]! All of my Italian films were dubbed into Italian, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Danish.
In 1983, in New Delhi, I even saw KILL OR BE KILLED dubbed in Hindi. I was with friends one day and one of them happened to be involved in the Indian film industry. He turned to me at one point and said, "I must ask you, my friend. I saw a movie last evening and there is an Italian actor who looks so much like you that it might be your karmic double." When he told me the English title, I wondered if I should really tell him. I was masquerading as my newest life-persona, Jon Christian Eagle, in that period, yet one of the ladies with us knew that at one point in my past I had been an actor. She pressed me into admitting it was me. Well, in spite of my objections, I was dragged kicking and protesting to see Robert Mark, the Italian cowboy, reciting his lines in impeccable Hindi with a north-Urdu accent. It was an awful film to begin with, but to see myself spouting Hindi, I couldn't help it and enjoyed the hour-and-a-half in spite of myself. Never laughed so hard in my life. Everybody in the theater kept shushing me. What an experience! And here I sat, beard and Turban, looking every inch the Western holy-man, laughing wildly over a serious adult Western. I absolutely scandalized my Indian friends, but we had a great laugh about it afterwards.