Celebrities & Pop Culture

‘Mama’s Family Actor Ken Berry Dies At 85

This is sad news. He will be missed.

Actor Ken Berry, known for his roles in American TV comedies such as “F Troop” and “Mama’s Family,” died Dec. 1, according to a hospital spokesperson. Berry, 85, died at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California.

The actor played Capt. Wilton Parmenter on the 1960s sitcom “F Troop,” and Vinton Harper/ Carl Harper in “Mama’s Family,” which ran from 1983 to 1990, according to his page on IMDb.  He also replaced Andy Griffith when “The Andy Griffith Show” evolved into “Mayberry R.F.D.” from 1968 to 1971.


Looking back on his career, Berry recalled his years on the “F Troop” — which marked his first real starring role — as some of the happiest of his life. “I have never been that happy in my life,” he said of that time period, per the New York Times. “I just walked on air for a long time. I knew how lucky I was at the time.”

In addition to his best-known shows, Berry also appeared on other beloved past favorites including “The Carol Burnett Show,” “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour,” “Fantasy Island,” “Love American Style” and “No Time for Sergeants.” He also starred in “The Ken Berry ‘Wow’ Show,” a 1972 variety-comedy summer replacement series, according to IMDb.

The late star’s last screen acting role was playing a small-town Midwestern sheriff on “Maggie Winters,” a 1998-99 sitcom starring Faith Ford.

He chose to step away from acting in his later years. “I don’t do anything,” he told an interviewer during his later years, per the New York Times. “I go where my day takes me.”

Berry married Jackie Joseph, a fellow “Billy Barnes Revue” cast member, in 1960. They had two children before divorcing in 1976. His son, John, died of brain cancer in 2016. He leaves behind include his longtime partner, Susie Walsh, and a daughter, Jennifer Kate Berry.

“I’m feeling so much love and gratitude for the affection and kindness expressed by Ken’s friends and admirers. And to Susie Walsh, Ken’s dear partner for the last 26 years, for bringing him laughter and devotion and care,” Berry’s ex-wife, Jackie Joseph-Lawrence, posted on Facebook.

Written by Artemis Moshtaghian for CNN. Additional reporting by Simplemost staff. 

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