Comedian Charlie Callas, known for his zany collection of sound effects, passed away at the age of 83 at a Las Vegas hospice on January 27. He had a long and successful career, not only as a stand-up comic, but also as an actor in movies and on television.
Fans of the TV private eye drama "Switch" in the mid-seventies will remember Callas in the role of Malcolm Argos. That series starred Eddie Albert and Robert Wagner.
Some might recall that Callas was the voice of Elliot in 1977's live-action/animated film, "Pete’s Dragon".
Many more recall his numerous routines on variety and talk shows as far back as the sixties. He did several appearances on The "Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson", "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in", and "The Hollywood Squares", as well as successful character-driven spots on "Dean Martin's Celebrity Roast".
Frequently, Callas used odd sounds to aid his act.
According to the New York Times, the Executive Director of the National Comedy Hall of Fame Tony Belmont stated in an October 2010 interview that “He could think very fast on his feet, and he had an unbelievable number of sounds that he made with his voice. He would tell a joke about two guys hunting. If you or I told it, the joke wasn’t so funny. But Charlie made it hysterical by sticking in these sounds; so you would hear the gun cocking, the duck flying overhead, the explosion of the shotgun and then the duck falling and screaming all the way to the ground.”
Callas was widowed in July when his wife, Evelyn, passed away. The couple had two children, Mark and Larry. It was Larry who stated that his mother's death had broken his father's heart.