George O'Hanlon, since 1962 the voice of the space-age patriarch in the animated situation comedy "The Jetsons," died Saturday shortly after he finished recording his role as George Jetson in "Jetsons: The Movie," a full-length feature.
He suffered a stroke and was taken to St. Joseph's Medical Center in Burbank, where he died. The veteran film, radio and TV character actor was 76.
O'Hanlon, who once said he "never thought I could do voices," had spent much of his career playing such average Joes as Calvin Dudley, the next-door neighbor on the TV show "The Life of Riley" and Joe McDoakes in the long-running series of theatrical shorts "Behind the 8-Ball."
When he did decide to audition for animation it was as a tryout for the original voice of Fred Flintstone (a role that went to Alan Reed). But even though he lost out, he was not forgotten, and when producer Joe Barbera, half of Hanna-Barbera Productions, was looking for a spokesman for his futuristic father he remembered O'Hanlon.
"George Jetson is a very average man," said O'Hanlon, who made 75 Jetsons episodes. "He has trouble with his boss, he has problems with his kids, and so on. The only difference is that he lives in the next century."
O'Hanlon's survivors include his wife, Nancy, a son, daughter and granddaughter. The family suggests contributions to the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills.