Norman Alden | Character actor, 87

Posted: August 03, 2012

Norman Alden, 87, a character actor who played a soda jerk in Back to the Future, a cameraman in Tim Burton's Ed Wood and the title role in cult director Richard C. Sarafian's first film, Andy, died Friday in Los Angeles.

His death was confirmed by Linda Thieben, his partner of more than 30 years.

Mr. Alden acted in television and film for 50 years, appearing regularly on shows such as The Legend of Wyatt Earp, The Untouchables, and My Three Sons.

His television career led to parts in films, including Tora! Tora! Tora! and I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. He also voiced many cartoon characters, including King Arthur's foster brother, Sir Kay, in Walt Disney's Sword in the Stone, and Kranix, a robot who narrowly escapes destruction by Unicron, voiced by Orson Welles, in the 1986 animated film Transformers.

Mr. Alden's star turn came in 1965, in the picaresque Andy. The title character is a 40-year-old mentally disabled son of Greek immigrants in New York who sets out for a last night of seedy adventures before his parents commit him to an asylum.

Norman Adelberg was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on Sept. 13, 1924. He attended Texas Christian University and served in Europe during World War II before he began acting on the radio and performing stand-up comedy. He also performed in commercials.

In addition to Thieben, he is survived by a son, Brent, and a daughter, Ashley, from a prior marriage; two stepsons, Randy and Kevin Thieben; a stepdaughter, Sherri Thieben; one grandson; and one step-granddaughter. - N.Y. Times News Service

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