Jackson Beck, the voice-over master of the SUPERMAN radio show, has died, reports NEWSDAY. He was 92. Beck died at about 6:00 am July 28, 2004 of complications of old age, according to Jeff David, a friend. He had been ill after suffering a series of small strokes four or five years ago, David said.
Best known for the classic phrase "It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!," Beck also voiced villains, supporting characters and the Daily Planet copyboy, Beany, on the popular radio broadcasts of the 1940s. He also lent his voice to Bluto in more than 300 POPEYE cartoons, as well as the Cisco Kid and world leader impersonations for "The March of Time," an enactment of the week's news from TIME magazine. His commercial credits included Aqua Fresh toothpaste to Combat roach killer, Sugar Frosted Flakes, Pepsi, Brawny paper towels, Hasbro-Bradley's GI Joe figures and dozens of other products, as well as football and boxing promotions for NBC. In addition, he also did voice-over for two Woody Allen movies, RADIO DAYS and TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN, and could be heard on NATIONAL LAMPOON radio broadcasts and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.
Beck, the son of Max Beck, a silent film actor, was a founding member of the American Federation of Radio Artists, which merged with the Television Authority to become what is now the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. He is survived by a son, Leslie Winter.