Ken Berry

Wilton Parmenter, "F Troop", Vinton Harper, "Mama's Family"


An unsung master of deadpan and calmly detached comic performance, Ken Berry often appears to be THE most relaxed television comedian in history.

Born November 3, 1930, Berry cut his showbiz teeth in the 1940s with Horace Heidt's Youth Opportunity Caravan. During the next decade, Berry would make his television debut on Arlene Francis' "Talent Patrol." He later landed a booking on "The Ed Sullivan Show." His career then dwindled until he got into sitcoms in the late '50s. Berry finally started working regularly on "The Ann Sothern Show" from 1960 to 1961. He also had a regular, albeit brief, job on the earliest "Bob Newhart Show" in 1962.

After Newhart's show, it was back to guest appearances. And Berry made plenty of them. He appeared in the classic "Dick Van Dyke Show" episodes "The Backache" and "My Mother Can Beat Up Your Mother," both in 1964. "Hazel" and "Wendy and Me" also provided ample opportunity for Berry's talents. Then came "F Troop."

Berry's low-key Captain Parmenter provides a perfect foil to the over-the-top antics of Larry Storch and Forrest Tucker. "F Troop" originally aired from 1965 to 1967. Berry loved the concept and the cast and often said the job was like two years of recess.

Once recess was over, though, Berry became a regular on "Mayberry RFD." He had his very own "Ken Berry 'WOW' Show" in 1972 and showed up on everything from "Love, American Style" to the "The Lucy Show" to "Love Boat II." Berry could be seen showing off his own soft-shoe stylings in numerous Kinney shoe commercials in the 1970s. He also appeared as a regular on the "Carol Burnett Show" spin-off "Mama's Family."