Biography

Over-the-top comic actor Kenneth Mars made an unbearably funny screen debut as the ex-Nazi playwright responsible for the smash miss "Springtime for Hitler" in Mel Brooks' The Producers (1968). He was just as exaggerated, though not quite as amusing, as the one-armed police inspector in Brooks' Young Frankenstein (1974). Mars seemingly never held anything back, a trait that was prized by his admirers but caused discomfort among his detractors: reviewing the actor's performance in Peter Bogdanovich's What's Up Doc? (1972), Jay Cocks noted, "As a pompous middle-European intellectual, Kenneth Mars mugs and drools in a manner that Jerry Lewis might find excessive." Still, Mars nearly always delivered the laughs -- especially on TV, where he was a regular on such programs as He and She and The Carol Burnett Show. Another of his screen appearances was as a remonstrative rabbi in Woody Allen's Radio Days (1986). Kenneth Mars has also provided voices for dozens of TV cartoon shows, where he sometimes fell prey to the indignity of having his name spelled Len Mars in the credits. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi