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Orson Bean (born 22 July, 1928) is an American actor. He did the voice for Bilbo in The Hobbit and Frodo in the The Return of the King. He was a cousin of Calvin Coolidge. Orson will turn 81 this year.

Orson Bean, the American actor, television personality and author, was born Dallas Frederick Burroughs on July 22, 1928 in Burlington, Vermont to George Burroughs, a policeman who later went on to become the chief of campus police at Harvard University, and the former Marian Pollard. The newborn Dallas Burroughs was a second cousin once removed to Calvin Coolidge, who was President of the United States at the time of his birth. The young Dallas, an amateur magician with a taste for the limelight, graduated from Boston's prestigious Latin School in 1946. Too young to see military service during World War II, the future Orson Bean did a hitch in the United States Army (1946-47) in occupied Japan.
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Orson Bean

After the war, he launched himself onto the nightclub circuit with his new moniker, the "Orson" borrowed from reigning enfant terrible Orson Welles. His comedy act premiered at New York City's Blue Angel nightclub, and the momentum from his act launched him into the orbit of the legitimate theater. He made his Broadway debut on April 30, 1954 in Stalag 17 (1953) producer Richard Condon's only Broadway production as a playwright, "Men of Distinction", along with Robert Preston and Martin Ritt. The play flopped and ran only four appearances.

The following year was to prove kinder: he hosted a summer-replacement television series produced at the Blue Angel, and won a Theatre World Award for his work in the 1954 music revue "John Murray Anderson's Almanac", which co-starred Harry Belafonte, Polly Bergen, Hermione Gingold and Carleton Carpenter. It was a hit that ran for 229 performances. He followed this up with an even bigger hit, the leading role in "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter". Next up was a success d'estime as the leading man in Herman Wouk's comic play "Nature's Way", which co-starred Bea Arthur, Sorrell Booke and Godfrey Cambridge. Though the play lasted but 67 performances, Orson Bean had established himself on the Broadway stage.


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