From Beautiful Downtown Burbank, Announcer Gary Owens gone at 80
Written by Art Vuolo, Jr.
He probably made Burbank more popular than Warner Brothers, Walt Disney and all of the other studios in this nearby Los Angeles suburb. With his left hand cupped over his ear, the man with the slicked back black hair and his signature horn-rimmed glasses, Gary Owens WAS the voice of Rowan & Martin's "Laugh In" on NBC-TV from 1968 to 1973.
Owens was also big in RADIO, putting in 20 years with Gene Autrey's Golden West Broadcasting and the 50,000 watt AM 710 KMPC. At that station he worked for PD James K. Davis, remembered locally in the early 70's as Big Jim Edwards at CKLW. Golden West also owned Detroit's once famous WCAR-AM 1130 (now WDFN). Owens was a popular DJ long before his venture into network TV. He even voiced hundreds of cartoons and wrote for the famous Rocky & Bullwinkle Show! He was truly multi-talented.
He is survived by two sons Chris and Scott and his wife of 57 years, Ardie and he lived in the San Fernando Valley community of Encino. I was lucky to get to know Gary fairly well and remember when he told me he was probably the only person in LA to subscribe to The Ann Arbor News! Turns out he was a property owner in Ann Arbor...a little known fact.
At the start of 1998, I was fortunate to be able to videotape Gary doing his syndicated Music of Your Life radio show featuring adult standards music. Click here to actually see what a master he was at his craft. There are simply no personalities on radio today that represent the iconic Gary Owens.