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Ken Berry, who is remembered for his roles on sitcoms “F Troop,” Mayberry, R.F.D.” and “Mama’s Family,” has died at the age of 85. Berry’s ex-wife Jackie Joseph-Lawrence announced the news of his death on Facebook saying, “With very deep sorrow, I must inform friends of Ken Berry that he died a short time ago.” No further details about his death were given.
Born Kenneth Ronald Berry in Moline, Illinois on Nov. 3, 1933., Berry started out as a singer and dancer. He served in the U.S. Army special services under Sgt. Leonard Nimoy, who helped introduce him to studios after he left the Army. Soon Berry was under contract to Universal to appear in movie musicals. Berry worked in several musical revues, including with Abbott and Costello, and with Lucille Ball. Carol Burnett also worked with Berry, who later became a frequent guest on her show (and the co-star of spin-off “Mama’s Family”).
After roles on “The Ann Sothern Show,” “Ensign O’Toole” and medical drama “Dr. Kildare,” Berry landed his first regular starring role on “F-Troop,” which aired from 1965 to 1967. He also hosted summer variety series “The Ken Berry ‘Wow’ Show” in 1972.
In a 1974 episode of the final season of “The Brady Bunch,” Berry played the adoptive father of three multiracial kids, which was a backdoor pilot that never made it to series. Berry also guest starred in an abundance of TV shows including “Combat!,” “Hazel,” “Rawhide,” “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Medical Center,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “Fantasy Island” and “The Golden Girls.”
On the big screen, the family-friendly Berry also starred in the Disney films “Herbie Rides Again” in 1974 and “The Cat From Outer Space” in 1978.
In 1960, Berry married actress Jackie Joseph, whom he had met on “The Billy Barnes Revue.” They adopted two children before divorcing in 1977. In addition to his ex-wife, their daughter, Jennifer, survives him, as does his longtime partner, Susan, and nieces Bonnie and Candy.