Carl Ballantine has died at 92
Carl Ballantine, best known for his supporting role of crew member Lester Gruber on "McHale's Navy", died from age-related causes on Tuesday at his Hollywood Hills home. He is survived by daughters Saratoga and Molly, and a sister, Esther Robinson. Ballantine's wife of 45 years, actress Ceil Cabot, died in 2000.
Ballantine's greatest performance was as a comically inept magician variously billed as "The Amazing Ballantine," "The Great Ballantine" and "Ballantine: The World's Greatest Magician". It was his performance of this role that launched his career on "The Ed Sullivan Show", and influenced a generation of magicians and comedians such as Steve Martin and David Copperfield.
Ballantine also hosted several television shows, including the Garry Moore, Andy Williams, Danny Kaye and Dean Martin shows, as well as "The Hollywood Palace" and "The Tonight Show." He appeared in numerous films such as "The Shakiest Gun in the West" (1968), "The World's Greatest Lover" (1977) and "Mr. Saturday Night" (1992).