Actor John Byner

John Byner (born John Biener; June 28, 1938) is an American actor, comedian, and impressionist who has had a lengthy television and film career. His voice work includes the cartoon series The Ant and the Aardvark, in which the title characters are voiced by Byner’s impressions of Dean Martin and Jackie Mason, respectively.


On The Ed Sullivan Show, where he made his first early TV appearances, he mimicked Ed Sullivan among many others. Other impressions included John Wayne and he sings as Dean Martin and Johnny Mathis. His ability to mimic “Toastmaster General” George Jessel came in handy during his appearances on panel programs such as celebrity “roasts” and other tributes.

On a 1967 episode of Get Smart, he played a KAOS agent who made a phone call to the Chief of CONTROL (played by Edward Platt), performed a perfect impression of President Lyndon B. Johnson, and told the Chief he was fired and replaced with agent Maxwell Smart (Don Adams).

In 1970-71, he hosted 22 episodes of Something Else, a syndicated half-hour musical variety series. He then hosted his own show in 1972 called the John Byner Comedy Hour, where the character Super Dave Osborne, portrayed by Bob Einstein, was first introduced. That same year, he had a cameo appearance in What’s Up, Doc? In the mid-1970s, he guest starred in two episodes of The Odd Couple.[citation needed]

Byner played a comedian/impersonator aboard a cruise ship in season 6 of Hawaii Five-O. His character, Duffy Malone, did impersonations of John Wayne and then got hit on the back of his head as a diversionary tactic by the bad guy. He had a recurring role in the situation comedy The Practice during its first season in 1976.

In the late 1970s, he had a featured role as Detective Donahue on the TV series Soap. He was cast in Happy Days as Mork from Ork but found the premise ridiculous, so he declined the role days before filming began. Robin Williams was called in at the last minute, and that substitution proved to be a career-making part for the comedian who deeply impressed everyone with his talent.

In the 1970s, Byner appeared several times on The Carol Burnett Show, where in one comedy sketch he wore a Donald Duck costume and mimicked the cartoon character’s distinctive voice. He appeared several times on talk shows hosted by David Letterman.

In the 1980s, he hosted Bizarre (produced and filmed in Canada), which re-introduced many people to hapless daredevil Super Dave Osborne played by Bob Einstein. In 1983 he had a role as “Doc,” who was Burt Reynolds’s longtime childhood friend in the film Stroker Ace. In 1985 The Walt Disney Company’s animated feature The Black Cauldron was released, featuring Byner voicing the characters Gurgi and Doli. He was a regular celebrity guest on Hollywood Squares during the John Davidson years and later hosted the 1988-89 syndicated game show Relatively Speaking.[citation needed] He appeared in an episode of Friday the 13th: The Series as a washed-up ventriloquist.

On May 26, 2017, it was reported that Byner had been cast in a supporting role in the Amazon Video horror anthology series Lore, which is based on the podcast of the same name. Byner portrays Patrick Boland, the father of Bridget Cleary (played by Holland Roden). Lore premiered on October 13, 2017.

Personal life

Byner was born John Biener in New York City, the son of Christina, a mental hospital attendant, and Michael Biener, a truck mechanic. Byner has been married four times, and has four children with his first wife Eleanor Belcher. One of his children, Don (Donny) Byner, strongly resembles his father and appeared for the first time on TV dressed as a leprechaun on “Captain’s Log with Captain Mark Gray”. He has been married to Anne Gaybis since 1992.



Year Title Role Notes
1969 The Ant and the Aardvark Ant / Aardvark Short film; voice role
1969 Hasty But Tasty Ant / Aardvark Short film; voice role
1969 The Ant from Uncle Ant / Aardvark / Aunt Short film; voice role
1969 I’ve Got Ants in my Plans Ant / Aardvark / Green Aardvark Short film; voice role
1969 The Deadwood Thunderball Roland Short film; voice role
1969 Technology, Phooey Ant / Aardvark / Computer Short film; voice role
1969 Tijuana Toads Texas Grasshopper Short film; voice role
1969 Never Bug an Ant Ant / Aardvark Short film; voice role
1969 Dune Bug Ant / Aardvark / Life Guard / Woman Short film; voice role
1969 Isle of Caprice Aardvark Short film; voice role
1970 Scratch a Tiger Ant / Aardvark Short film; voice role
1970 Odd Ant Out Ant / Aardvark / Green Aardvark Short film; voice role
1970 Ants in the Pantry Ant / Aardvark / Pest Control Employee Short film; voice role
1970 Science Friction Ant / Aardvark / Scientist Short film; voice role
1970 Mumbo Jumbo Ant / Aardvark / Tiny Short film
1970 The Froze Nose Knows Ant / Aardvark Short film; voice role
1970 Don’t Hustle an Ant with Muscle Ant / Aardvark Short film; voice role
1971 Rough Brunch Ant / Aardvark Short film; voice role
1971 From Bed to Worse Ant / Aardvark Short film; voice role
1972 What’s Up, Doc? Man at the Hotel Banquet Uncredited
1977 The Great Smokey Roadblock Bobby Apples also known as The Goodbye Run and the Last of the Cowboy
1979 A Pleasure Doing Business Lenny
1983 Stroker Ace Doc Seegle
1985 The Black Cauldron Gurgi / Doli Voice
1985 Transylvania 6-5000 Radu
1992 Munchie Strikes Back Coach Elkins
1997 Wishmaster Doug Clegg
2000 My 5 Wives Preston Gates
2008 RoboDoc The Judge
2009 The Greatest Show on Earth Walter / The Magnificent Mr. Beauregard Short film
2015 The Kustomonster Movie Colonel Climber
2016 Endangered!!! Narration Short film
TBA D.O.A. The Movie Majak Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Steve Allen Comedy Hour Himself Episode: #1.01
1967-1968 Accidental Family Dewey Recurring role; 4 episodes
1968 Get Smart Gorshen Episode: “The Hot Line”
1968 The Mothers-in-Law Arnold Lacy Episode: “It’s a Dog’s Life”
1969 That’s Life Episode: “Chalk Can Be Sexy”
1969 The Pink Panther Show Ant / Aardvark Unknown episodes
1971 Aesop’s Fables Tortoise Animated television special; voice role
1972 The Don Rickles Show Giuseppe Episode: #1.3
1972 The Singles Television film
1973 Love, American Style Wendall McFee Segment: “Love and the Lifter”; Episode: “Love and the Comedienne/Love and the Lie/Love and the Lifter/Love and the Suspicious Husband”
1973-1974 The Odd Couple Hooper / Bert Guest role; 2 episodes
1974 Hawaii Five-O Duffy Malone Episode: “Killer at Sea”
1975 When Things Were Rotten Dr. Otto Bahn Episode: “The Ultimate Weapon”
1976 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Himself Episode: #15.4
1976 The Practice Dr. Roland Caine Guest role; 2 episodes
1976 The Pink Panther Laugh and a Half Hour and a Half Show Ant / Aardvark Voice role
1977 Maude Marshall Keebler Episode: “Captain Hero”
1977 McNamara’s Band Johnny McNamara Television film
1978-1980 Soap Detective Donahue Recurring role; 17 episodes
1978 Three on a Date Donald Lumis Television film
1978 A Guide for the Married Woman Elevator Man Television film
1979 Stockard Channing in Just Friends Jerry Smeg Episode: “The Hollywood Syndrome”
1979 The Man in the Santa Claus Suit Stan Summerville Television film
1980 Murder Can Hurt You! Len “Hatch” Hatchington Television film
1980-1986 Bizarre Himself Host and Performer; 141 episodes
1982 Will: G. Gordon Liddy Richard Nixon Television film; voice role
1986 ABC Weekend Special Guest with Dog Episode: “The Mouse and the Motorcycle”
1986 The Love Boat Arthur Burkley Guest role; 2 episodes
1988 A Whole Lotta Fun Television film
1988 Friday the 13th: The Series Travis Plunckett Episode: “Read My Lips”
1991 Married… with Children The Prospector Episode: “Route 666: Part 1”
1991 A Wish for Wings That Work Bill the Cat Television special; voice role
1992-1994 Silk Stalkings Cotton Dunn Recurring role; 12 episodes
1993 Garfield and Friends Guest role; 2 episodes, voice role
1993 Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron David Littlebin Episode: “Enter the Madkat”; voice role
1993-1994 The Pink Panther Ant / Aardvark Guest role; 3 episodes, voice role
1994 Lamb Chop and the Haunted Studio Himself Television film
1994-1995 Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Sheriff / Old Man / Dean Guest role; 3 episodes
1994-1996 Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man Dr. Gerhardt Morsink Guest role; 2 episodes
1995 In the Heat of the Night Tom Harwood Episode: “Grow Old Along with Me”
1995 The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat Mr. Frog Guest role; 2 episodes, voice role
1997 Rugrats Carwash Owner / Cashier Episode: “The Carwash/Heatwave”; voice role
1997 Dharma & Greg Reverend James Episode: “And Then There’s the Wedding”
1998 Super Dave’s All Stars Elvis Episode: #1.4
1998 The Angry Beavers Alien Object / Man’s Voice Episode: “The Day the World Got Really Screwed Up”; voice role
1999 The Simpsons Zorro Episode: “E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)”; voice role
2002 The Big Time Ed Wynn Television film
2013 The First Family Malcolm MacDougal Episode: “The First Shrink”
2017 Lore Patrick Boland Episode: “Black Stockings”

External Links

Actor John Byner – Wikipedia

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