Alan Young (born November 19, 1919) is an English-born, Canadian-American actor, voice artist, comedian, radio host, television host and personality best known for his role as Wilbur Post in the television comedy series Mister Ed and as the voice of Scrooge McDuck in Disney films, TV series and video games. During the 1940s and 1950s, he starred in his own shows on radio and television.
Young was born on 19 November 1919 in North Shields, Northumberland England to John Cathcart Young, a shipyard worker, and Florence Pinckney, whose ancestors included a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence. The family moved to Edinburgh, Scotland when Young was a toddler, and to West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada when he was six years old. Young came to love radio when bedridden as a child because of severe asthma.
Near the start of his radio career, during World War II, Young served in the Royal Canadian Navy.
Young had his own comedy radio series on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In 1944, he moved to American radio with The Alan Young Show, NBC’s summer replacement for Eddie Cantor’s show. He switched to ABC two years later, then returned to NBC.
Young’s film debut was Margie (1946), and featured in Chicken Every Sunday (1949).
In 1950, the television version of The Alan Young Show began. By 1951, the series had garnered not only praise but also several Primetime Emmy awards, including “Outstanding Lead Actor” for Alan Young.
After its cancellation, Young continued acting in films, among which Androcles and the Lion (1952) and Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1955), and two George Pal films, tom thumb (1958) and The Time Machine (1960).
He is best known, however, for Mister Ed (1961–66), a CBS television show, in which he starred as Wilbur Post, the owner of Mr. Ed, a talking horse that would talk to no one but him, thus causing hilarious situations for Wilbur Post with his wife, neighbours and acquaintances.
He also starred as Stanley Beamish in the unaired 1966 pilot episode of Mr. Terrific, but apparently declined to appear in the broadcast series in 1967 that followed.
He appeared in the episode “Thin Ice” of the NBC espionage drama Five Fingers, starring David Hedison. Young’s television guest roles include Gibbsville, The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, St. Elsewhere, Coach, Party of Five, The Wayans Bros., USA High, Hang Time, ER, Maybe It’s Me and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch where he played Zelda’s love interest in the episode “Sweet Charity”.
In the late 1960s, he retired from acting for several years. During that time, he founded a broadcast division for the Christian Science Church.
Since 1974, he has voiced Scrooge McDuck in numerous Disney films and in the popular series DuckTales (1987-1990). In Mickey’s Christmas Carol, he portrayed the character’s miserly namesake. He also plays Scrooge in video games that he appears in, such as the Kingdom Hearts series and most recently in DuckTales: Remastered in 2013 and the Mickey Mouse cartoon “Goofy’s First Love” released in 2015.
During the 1980s, Young became active in voice acting. Apart from Scrooge McDuck, his other prominent roles are Farmer Smurf on The Smurfs, 7-Zark-7 and Keyop in Battle of the Planets and Hiram Flaversham in The Great Mouse Detective. He also guest starred on The Incredible Hulk, The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.
In 1991, Alan Young returned to the stage, starring as Cap’n Andy Hawkes in The California Music Theatre’s adaptation of Show Boat. He had been called for the role after Van Johnson, who was initially cast in the part, was hospitalised. He had also appeared in the plays A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Girl With the Freudian Slip.
In 1993, he recreated his role as Filby for the mini-sequel to George Pal’s The Time Machine, reuniting him with Rod Taylor, who had played George, the Time Traveller. It was called Time Machine: The Journey Back, directed by Clyde Lucas. In 2002, he had a cameo as the flower store worker in Simon Wells’ remake of The Time Machine and in 2010, he read H.G. Wells’s original novel for 7th Voyage Productions, Inc.
In 1994, Young co-starred in the Eddie Murphy film Beverly Hills Cop III. He played the role of Uncle Dave Thornton, the Walt Disney-esque founder of the fictional California theme park Wonderworld.
Since 1994, he has played at least eight characters, most notably antique dealer Jack Allen on the popular radio drama Adventures in Odyssey.
In 1997, he did the voice of Haggis McMutton in the PC game The Curse of Monkey Island. His recent guest roles in animated series include Megas XLR, Static Shock, House of Mouse, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Duckman, Batman: The Animated Series and TaleSpin.
Young was married twice: He and Mary Anne Grimes were married from 1941 to 1947 and had two children. He was married to Virginia McCurdy from 1948 until her death in 2011 and had two children as well. Young currently lives in Woodland Hills, California.