Alan Reed

Alan Reed (born Herbert Theodore Bergman; August 20, 1907 – June 14, 1977)[1] was an American actor and voice actor, best known as the original voice of Fred Flintstone on The Flintstones and various spinoff series. He also appeared in many films, including Days of Glory, The Tarnished Angels, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Viva Zapata! (as Pancho Villa), and Nob Hill, and various television and radio series.

Alan Reed
Herbert Theodore Bergman

(1907-08-20)August 20, 1907
DiedJune 14, 1977(1977-06-14) (aged 69)
Other namesAlan Reed Sr.
Teddy Bergman
Alma materAmerican Academy of Dramatic Arts
Columbia University
OccupationActor, voice actor
Years active1930–1977
Known forVoice of Fred Flintstone (1960–1977)
Notable work
The Flintstones
Finnette Walker (m. 1932)

Early years

Reed was born Herbert Theodore Bergman in New York City to Jewish parents. His father was a Lithuanian-Jewish immigrant and his mother was born in the United States to Ukrainian-Jewish parents from Galicia.[2] He attended Washington High School[3] (now George Washington Educational Campus) and majored in journalism at Columbia University.

Between graduating from WHS and entering Columbia, he studied drama at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.[4] He began his acting career in the city, eventually working on Broadway.

For several years, Reed toured in vaudeville with his cousin, Harry Green.[5] He also had two other jobs—operating a wholesale candy factory and working at the Copake Country Club as "social director, entertainment producer and actor."[4]

For a time, he continued to list himself either as Teddy Bergman or Alan Reed, depending on the role he was playing (Reed for more comedic roles, Bergman for more serious ones). He was able to act in 22 foreign dialects, and made a career as a successful radio announcer and stage actor.


Radio and stage

As early as 1930, Reed (billed as Teddy Bergman) co-starred with Herbert Polesie in Henry and George, a CBS program that featured "minute dramas, popular laughmakers ... interspersed with dance music selections."[6]

Reed's radio work included having two roles in Valiant Lady,[7] the role of Solomon Levy on Abie's Irish Rose, as the "Allen's Alley" resident poet Falstaff Openshaw on Fred Allen's NBC radio show, and later on his own five-minute show, Falstaff's Fables, on ABC, as Officer Clancey and other occasional roles on the NBC radio show Duffy's Tavern, as Shrevey the driver on several years of The Shadow, as Chester Riley's boss on the NBC radio show The Life of Riley, as Italian immigrant Pasquale in Life with Luigi on CBS radio, various supporting roles on Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, and as Lt. Walter Levinson in several episodes of Richard Diamond, Private Detective.

Reed was "heard regularly on the Crime Doctor series,"[8] and "was the original Daddy to Fanny Brice on Baby Snooks."[9] Billed as Teddy Bergman, he had the title role on Joe Palooka.[9]

Billed as Teddy Bergman, Reed appeared on Broadway in Double Dummy (1936), and A House in the Country (1937),[10] and Love's Old Sweet Song (1940).[11]

Television and voice acting

From 1957 to 1958, Reed appeared in a recurring role as J.B. Hafter, a studio boss, on the CBS sitcom Mr. Adams and Eve, starring Howard Duff and Ida Lupino, then married in real life, but appearing as a fictitious acting couple living in Beverly Hills, California. He also played the same character in The Bob Cummings Show. In 1963, he appeared as Councilman Jack Gramby in episode 8 of the CBS sitcom My Favorite Martian. In 1964–65, he had a recurring role as Mr. Swidler in the ABC sitcom Mickey, starring Mickey Rooney as the owner of a resort hotel in Newport Beach, California.

As a voice actor, Reed provided the voice of Boris the Russian Wolfhound in Walt Disney's Lady and the Tramp in 1955. In 1960, he began the voice role for which he was most famous, that of Fred Flintstone, the lead character of Hanna-Barbera's prime-time animated series The Flintstones. Reed provided Fred's voice for the entire six-season run of the show, as well as in several spin-off series (The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show, The Flintstone Comedy Hour) and specials. His final performance as Fred Flintstone was a cameo guest role on an episode of Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics. Among his other voice roles for Hanna-Barbera was Touché Turtle's sidekick, Dum Dum.

Radio playwright and director Norman Corwin cast Reed as Santa Claus in the 1969 KCET television reading of his 1938 play The Plot to Overthrow Christmas.

In television commercials Reed was the voice over for J.J. Keebler, a creation of the Leo Burnett Agency.[12]

Personal life

In May 1932, Reed married the former Finette Walker[13] (1909–2005), a Broadway actress whom he met at television station W2XAB (later WCBS-TV) in New York City.[3] She appeared on stage in the early 1930s and was a chorus member in the original 1934 Broadway production of Anything Goes with Ethel Merman.[14] They had three sons, including actor Alan Reed, Jr. (born May 10, 1936). Once his son started acting, Reed took the professional name Alan Reed, Sr.


Reed, who was a heavy smoker, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 1967. He underwent an operation to have the organ removed, which successfully eradicated the cancer,[15] but he later developed emphysema and died of a heart attack on June 14, 1977, two months before his 70th birthday.[15] His body was donated to medical research.





Voice-over roles




  1. "Alan Reed profile". Retrieved 2014-04-13.
  2. "Fred Flintstone: A Stone Age Star With A Jewish Voice.", October 10, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  3. Schmidt, Bill Jr. (April 24, 1932). "Airy Chats". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. p. 63. Retrieved December 12, 2015 via
  4. Witte, Lawrence (December 9, 1960). "Static". Denton Journal. Maryland, Denton. p. 2. Retrieved December 13, 2015 via
  5. Cox, Jim (2007). Radio Speakers: Narrators, News Junkies, Sports Jockeys, Tattletales, Tipsters, Toastmasters and Coffee Klatch Couples Who Verbalized the Jargon of the Aural Ether from the 1920s to the 1980sA Biographical Dictionary. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6086-1. P. 234.
  6. "Henry and George In Lincoln". The Lincoln Star. Nebraska, Lincoln. August 3, 1930. p. 33. Retrieved December 12, 2015 via
  7. Buxton, Frank and Owen, Bill (1972). The Big Broadcast: 19201950. The Viking Press. SBN 670-16240-x. P. 249.
  8. "Fanny Brice on the Air Tonight". Belvidere Daily Republican. Illinois, Belvidere. September 26, 1940. p. 8. Retrieved December 13, 2015 via
  9. DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. P. 223.
  10. "Teddy Bergman". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  11. "CBS Actor Has Head Shaved for Summer". El Paso Herald-Post. Texas, El Paso. May 31, 1940. p. 21. Retrieved December 13, 2015 via
  12. Cerny, JoBe (May 11, 2015). "Icons of Advertising". Screen Magazine. Archived from the original on June 7, 2015. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  13. "Behind the Microphone" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 1, 1932. p. 19. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  14. "Finette Walker: Performer." Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  15. Thomas, Nick (September 23, 2015). "Alan Reed Jr. remembers 'The Flintstones' at 55". USA Today. Retrieved November 1, 2017.

Further reading

  • Reed, Alan. The Alan Reed Story. Albany, Georgia: BearManor Media, 2009. ISBN 1-59393-313-4
  • Terrace, Vincent. Radio Programs, 1924–1984. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1999. ISBN 0-7864-0351-9
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