View Full Version : Michael Vale dead at 83

12-28-2005, 09:18 PM
Michael Vale, the character actor who starred in more than 100 Dunkin' Donuts commercials as the early-rising "Fred the baker" and joked that he got paid in doughnuts, has died. He was 83.

Vale died Dec. 24 at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan of complications from diabetes, said his son, Tracy Vale of Los Angeles.

The Brooklyn-born actor was a veteran of a dozen Broadway shows, a handful of movies and about 1,000 commercials when he joined some 300 other actors for a Dunkin' Donuts casting call in 1982.

"The first time he said, 'Time to make the doughnuts,' we were hysterical," Ron Berger, partner and creative director of the company's advertising agency told the Boston Herald in 1997. "We knew the importance of the role. It was such that you want someone that people are going to like and definitely relate to. Michael was it."

Vale became the personification of the burgeoning doughnut chain.

The phrase "time to make doughnuts," was used as the title for a 2001 autobiography by Dunkin' Donuts founder William Rosenberg.

Vale became such a marketing icon that when the company wanted a new advertising campaign, it first surveyed customers to determine the reaction to Fred's possible departure.

Customers said Fred could leave - if he were treated like an honored friend and employee. So Dunkin' Donuts devised an official "retirement" celebration for him, including a Boston parade and free doughnuts for an estimated 6 million customers on Sept. 22, 1997.

Asked by Entertainment Weekly if he had ever actually made doughnuts, Vale quipped: "I'm on record as having made one. I didn't add the sprinkles or frosting - I was too exhausted."

Growing up in Brooklyn, Vale was dubbed "the actor" by his childhood friends because of his ability to imitate ballplayers and celebrities. After serving in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Europe during World War II, he studied at the Dramatic Workshop at The New School in New York.

One of his earliest appearances was in a summer stock production of George Bernard Shaw's "Androcles and the Lion." Vale later described his modest role: "I was thrown to the lions."

Vale appeared in several television series, including "Car 54, Where Are You?" in the 1960s and "The Cosby Show" in 1987. On the big screen, he was a cab driver in "A Hatful of Rain" in 1957 and a jewelry salesman in "Marathon Man" in 1976. The actor described working with British leading man Laurence Olivier in "Marathon Man" as "the most wonderful experience of my life."

In addition to his son, Vale is survived by his wife, Nancy; daughter, Ivy Vale Reil of New York; and a granddaughter.

12-28-2005, 09:26 PM
He was great in the commercials

Made me want to get some dunkin holes:thumbsup:

12-28-2005, 09:45 PM
Made me want to get some dunkin holes:thumbsup: http://weeklydavespeak.com/forums/images/smilies/confused2.gif

12-28-2005, 09:46 PM
The little donut holes

12-28-2005, 09:47 PM
munchkins....the one by me has Bovarian Cream Muchkins......F'ing awsome!!!!!!

12-28-2005, 09:50 PM
Thanks for the proper name, I could think of it at allBavarian cream, damn that sounds good:thumbsup:

12-29-2005, 04:12 PM
anyone see the jon lovitz SNL skit where he is him??? very funny

its sad. ill mourn over my morning dunkachino

12-30-2005, 10:20 AM
I like donuts.


12-30-2005, 10:42 AM
The little donut holesI know what you meant I just thought it was kinda weird that you said a guy dying makes you hungry...:lol:

12-30-2005, 11:02 AM
Besides the whole munchkin thing they got going Krispy Kreme is SO much better!

12-30-2005, 07:38 PM
Krispy Kreme is SO much better!
After years of hearing about how good they are I passed a "real deal" KK this past summer.....they were good....better then in the box....Raspberry :thumbsup: Glazed :thumbsup: the other types I tryied (insert sideways thumb here). I'm indifferent. They're good but don't believe the hype.....OH....and the coffee SUCKS!!!!!!!

01-01-2006, 05:20 PM
I like donuts.

who can argue with that