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Marty Ingels

Marty Ingels

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: March 9, 1936 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: Cast ... actor
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BIOGRAPHY

An exuberant - some might say oppressively so - comic and personality, Marty Ingels survived a largely disastrous stint on television, which culminated in the failed sitcom "I'm Dickens, He's Fenster" (ABC, 1962-63) before he shifted gears in the 1970s to become a high-priced broker for celebrity clients working in television commercials. He also gained fame and some degree of respect as the husband of actress Shirley Jones, though their improbable marriage was fraught with its ups and downs. In the 1990s and 2000s, Ingels was in the news as the litigant in scores of lawsuits against a vast array of forces, from his own clients, to radio host Tom Leykis and various lawyers, television stations and random individuals. This aspect of his personality did much to undermine the goodwill he had generated for several decades as an agent, and reduced his legacy from minor celebrity-turned-businessman to hapless crackpot, a fate he surely did not intend for himself.

Born Martin Ingerman in Brooklyn, NY on March 9, 1936, he was one of two sons by dentist Jacob Ingerman and his wife, Minnie. Ingels reportedly endured a rough childhood, and fled the neighborhood for Queens College, which lasted all of six weeks before he launched into a string of short-lived business opportunities, including bookkeeper, barber's hair model and greeting card writer. The Army was his next stop, following shortly thereafter by a winning appearance on "Name That Tune" (NBC/CBS, 1953-59). Ingels liked the shine of the spotlight, so he dove into summer stock and made his name as a comic actor in TV bit parts. The roles eventually expanded a bit, most notably a stint as Rob Petrie's Army buddy, Sol Pomeroy, on a pair of episodes of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (CBS, 1961-66). In 1962, Ingels was teamed with John Astin in "I'm Dickens, He's Fenster," about a pair of scheming carpenters. It was not a success, but unlike Astin, who bounced back from the failure with "The Addams Family" (ABC, 1964-68), Ingels returned to guest shots on other series and regular appearances on game shows, variety programs and primetime talk shows.

As the 1960s wore down to a close, Ingels survived another failed series, "The Phyllis Diller Show" (ABC, 1966-67), where, ironically, he was again cast as a carpenter, and made occasional forays into features like "If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium" (1969) and "The Picasso Summer" (1969). By the early 1970s, he added voiceover artist to his résumé by lending his unmistakably rusty tones to cartoons like "Cattanooga Cats" (ABC, 1969-1971) and "The Great Grape Ape Show" (ABC, 1975-79). In 1971, Ingels suffered what appeared to be an anxiety attack during an appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (NBC, 1962-1992), and allegedly suffered from hysterical paralysis. His incapacitation put not only his precarious career in jeopardy, but cost him his marriage to model Jean Marie.

While attempting to rebuild his acting career with guest appearances, he was approached by a friend in the mail-order business to assist him in signing Jazz Era crooner Rudy Vallee to be the spokesman for a series of albums sold on television. Ingels closed the deal and found himself an in-demand talent broker for actors seeking to expand their finances through television commercials. Among his clients were such major Hollywood personalities as Orson Welles, whom Ingels booked for a spot hawking brandy; John Wayne for a free appearance in an American Cancer Society ad; and Howard Cosell, Robert Wagner, Don Knotts and Farrah Fawcett Majors, who appeared in a series of savings bond ads promoted by the Carter Administration.

In the mid-1970s, Ingels began to court Oscar-winning actress and singer Shirley Jones, who was still stinging from the failure of her fabled first marriage to fellow actor-singer, Jack Cassidy, who had also recently perished in a 1976 fire. The two soon became one of the entertainment industry's most unlikely couples, with Jones herself publicly expressing doubt about Ingels' intentions to the media. However, Ingels closed the deal and married Jones in 1977, much to the consternation of her sons, Shaun, Patrick and Ryan Cassidy, and stepson David, who loudly expressed reservations about their new stepfather on several occasions.

In 1982, Ingels earned his first hit series with "Pac-Man: The Animated Series" (ABC, 1982-83), a series based on the popular arcade game of the day. Ingels voiced the title character, and reportedly received a Pac-Man arcade cabinet as part of his contract. That same year, Ingels and Jones sued the National Enquirer over a story that suggested that his erratic behavior had pushed Jones into alcoholism. The case would mark the first of several run-ins between Ingels and the legal system over the next two decades.

The year 1993 alone saw Ingels involved in four major lawsuits. He lodged a civil suit against attorney David Harris over fraudulent business practices in a real estate investment partnership in the late 1980s. Harris challenged Ingels' suit but lost in 1996 after a lengthy, three-year battle. During this period, Ingels was also engaged in a war of wills with actress June Allyson over alleged non-payment of commissions for landing her the job as television spokesperson for Depends adult incontinence products. Allyson and her husband, David Ashrow, countered with a lawsuit of their own that alleged Ingels had harassed them with numerous phone calls. Allyson's lawyer, Hugh Duff Robertson, also filed suit against Ingels over advertisements for his legal services that he said the actor placed in The Advocate, a national newspaper for gay readers.

Things grew worse for Ingels in the new millennium. With never-abating pressure from her famous sons, Jones filed for divorce from Ingels in 2002, then withdrew the petition that same year. In 2003, he became embroiled in a lawsuit with popular and controversial radio host Tom Leykis and his network, Westwood One. After taking umbrage at dating advice Leykis had passed on to a listener, Ingels assumed a false identity and attempted to talk to the radio personality. Ingels alleged that after telling members of Leykis' staff that he was 60 years old, they verbally abused him before passing him along to Leykis, who further chastised him. Ingels filed a complaint stating that Leykis' comments had violated California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals in business. The lawsuit was eventually thrown out of court in 2005, and Ingels was required to pay Leykis' legal fees, which totaled $25,000.

In May 2008, Ingels appeared as a plaintiff on "Judge Joe Brown" (syndicated, 1997- ) in regard to a lawsuit against Ventura county attorney Scott Whitenack over development of property he and Jones had purchased in Fawnskin, CA. Ingels won the case and $2,500 in legal fees. December of that year saw Ingels in the news for allegedly shoplifting a $500 hat from a custom haberdashery. No charges were filed.

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