Ronald Ralph "Ronnie" Schell (born December 23, 1931) is an American actor, stand-up comedian, and cartoon voice actor (notably Peter Puck). He appeared on May 28, 1959, episode of the TV quiz program You Bet Your Life, hosted by Groucho Marx. Schell demonstrated a comic barrage of beatnik jive talk. As a stand-up comedian, he first developed his act at the world-famous hungry-i nightclub in San Francisco, California. Schell is probably best known in his 1960s television role as Duke Slater in Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Life and career
In his role as Duke Slater on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Schell's character was cast for three seasons as a Marine private and best friend of Gomer Pyle. Schell left for a season to star as a disc jockey in his own sitcom, Good Morning, World. He then returned to Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. as a corporal for its fifth and final season. Schell played his Duke Slater character as streetwise, compared to Pyle's bucolic background as portrayed by Jim Nabors. Upon returning as a corporal, Slater acted as more of a mediator between Pyle and Sgt. Carter, portrayed by Frank Sutton, than as Pyle's buddy.
Schell also acted in a few Pacific Southwest Airlines commercials such as "Smile Inspection" and "PSA Gives You A Lift Pageant". At the end of a Jerry Lewis PSA jingle, a voice said "That was Jerry Lewis for PSA, and this is Ronnie Schell. What did I do wrong?" He also did a commercial with Don Adams where he parodied Don's TV character Maxwell Smart.
His television guest credits include The Andy Griffith Show, Phil of the Future, Yes, Dear, The Wayans Bros., Step by Step, Coach, The Golden Girls, 227, Saved by the Bell, Empty Nest, Mr. Belvedere, Santa Barbara, Trapper John, M.D., Too Close for Comfort, The Brian Keith Show, The Love Boat, Love American Style, Alice, Mork & Mindy, One Day at a Time, Charlie's Angels, The Dukes of Hazzard, Sanford and Son, Emergency!, Happy Days, Adam-12, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl, Black Sheep Squadron, M*A*S*H, and Jessie, currently on the Disney Channel.
Schells gradual ascendency into the public's attention earned him the title, "America's Slowest Rising Comedian".
In 2007, Schell was part of a touring cabaret show titled, "5 Star Revue" with Gary Collins, Mary Ann Mobley, Ruta Lee, and Steve Rossi. He starred in the 2009 off-Broadway production of Don't Leave it All to Your Children!, a comedic and musical revue dedicated to those baby boomers everywhere who are about to enter into the golden age of senior citizenship.