Sam Edwards

Actor and Disney voice artist

Although playing the town banker Mr Anderson in
Little House on the Prairie made Sam Edwards's face familiar to television viewers when he was in his sixties, his voice had already made an impact on the lives of many. He was a stalwart of thousands of shows during the early years of US radio and was the voice of the rabbit Thumper as an adult in Walt Disney's classic film
Bambi (1942).



Sam Edwards, actor: born Macon, Georgia 26 May 1915; married 1969 Beverly Motley (three stepchildren); died Durango, Colorado 28 July 2004.



Although playing the town banker Mr Anderson in Little House on the Prairie made Sam Edwards's face familiar to television viewers when he was in his sixties, his voice had already made an impact on the lives of many. He was a stalwart of thousands of shows during the early years of US radio and was the voice of the rabbit Thumper as an adult in Walt Disney's classic film Bambi (1942).

He was also one of the regulars who narrated and provided multiple voices on the Disneyland label's "Storyteller" albums, and on its Winnie the Pooh releases his was the singing voice of Owl, Rabbit and, perhaps best known, Tigger for the original recording of "The Wonderful Things About Tiggers".

Edwards was born into a theatrical family in Macon, Georgia, in 1915. His father, Jack Edwards, was an actor and producer with his actress mother's company, the Edna Park Players. The young Sam made his stage début as a baby cradled in his mother's arms.

In their teens, Sam and his younger brother Jack, Jnr, acted the title roles and sang popular songs of the day in the early radio serial The Adventures of Sonny and Buddy, about two boys travelling with a medicine show. It was written by their mother, featured their father in the adult male roles and ran for nine months.

In 1933, at the height of the Depression, the family moved to San Diego and signed a deal to continue The Adventures of Sonny and Buddy. It was the first drama serial recorded at RCA Victor Studios in Hollywood and ran for 100 episodes.

On relocating to San Francisco in 1937, the family produced another radio programme, The Edwards Family, in which they all played themselves. Sam Edwards also took the role of Tracy Baker in the long-running radio soap opera One Man's Family and appeared in films such as East Side Kids (1940) and Captain Midnight (1942).

In 1942, after the US entered the Second World War, Edwards was drafted into the Army Air Corps but soon seconded to a group of entertainers who wrote and performed in a fundraising show titled Hey Rookie, starring Sterling Holloway (later the voice of Winnie the Pooh). By the time the production was entertaining troops in North Africa, then Naples and India, Edwards had established himself as the troupe vocalist.

After the war, Edwards resumed his career in radio and films. His best-known role of the time was as Dexter Franklin, teenage boyfriend of the title character, in the hugely popular radio sitcom Meet Corliss Archer (1946-56) - even though he was then in his thirties.

Edwards appeared in the first episode of the television police series Dragnet (1951) and 12 more (1952-70), taking different parts in each. This and roles in series such as I Love Lucy (1956), Gunsmoke (1958-74), Perry Mason (1959), The Andy Griffith Show (1960-66), The Virginian (1963-67), Cannon (1971-75) and Barnaby Jones (1974-77) established him as a versatile character actor.

He then joined the wholesome family drama Little House on the Prairie as the bank manager, Bill Anderson, on and off (1978-83) for the second half of the show's long run.

Anthony Hayward

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
News
Bill O'Reilly attends The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City
media It is the second time he and the channel have clarified statements
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola, writes Ian Herbert
News
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Designer / Design Director

£38000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B content marketing agen...

Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn