Legendary Character Actor Michael Vale Passes Away at 83-Years Old

Share Article

Michael Vale, character actor best known for his portrayal of Dunkin’ Donuts’ sleepy-eyed “Fred the Baker,” died on December 24, 2005 in New York City due to complications from diabetes. He was 83 years old.

Michael Vale, character actor best known for his portrayal of Dunkin’ Donuts’ sleepy-eyed “Fred the Baker,” died on December 24, 2005 in New York City due to complications from diabetes. He was 83 years old. In one of the longest running ad campaigns in TV history, Vale’s Dunkin’ Donuts “Fred” became a cultural icon with the unforgettable slogan, “Time to make the donuts.”®

Born on June 28, 1922, in Brooklyn, NY, Vale studied acting at The Dramatic Workshop in New York City under the legendary German director Erwin Piscator along with classmates Tony Curtis, Mike Gazzo, Ben Gazzara and Rod Stieger. A veteran of the Broadway stage, film and television, Vale appeared in over 1,300 TV commercials, including originating the role of the curmudgeonly Sam Breakstone for Breakstone Dairy Products and a Clio award-winning fifteen-year career as Fred the Baker, from which he retired in 1997.

Vale was dedicated to charitable causes and made many appearances in the Greater New England area at children’s hospitals and at the Special Olympics. He helped to raise more than one million dollars along with the Northeast Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees for The Jimmy Fund in 1997. Vale is survived by his wife Nancy, son Tracy, daughter Ivy, and granddaughter Violet.

Television

Over 1,300 TV commercials including

  • Fred the Baker (Dunkin’ Donuts)
  • Sam Breakstone (Breakstone Dairy Products)

Shows include

  • The Bill Cosby Show
  • Kojak
  • Marlo Thomas Special
  • Kaddish – Allen Ginsberg
  • The Jackie Gleason Show
  • Car 54

Guest appearances include

  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Regis & Kathie Lee
  • Today Show
  • Vicki Lawrence Show
  • Ricki Lake
  • Joe Franklin

Film    ß Marathon Man

  • Shut Up, I’m Crying – Academy Award nominated short
  • A Hatful of Rain

Broadway

  • Neil Simon’s California Suite (starring role)
  • Unexpected Guests (Charles Grodin, Director)
  • Saturday, Sunday, Monday (Franco Zeffirelli, Director)
  • Man of La Mancha (musical, with Richard Kiley)
  • The Impossible Years (with Alan King)
  • The Last Analysis (with Sam Levine)
  • Café Crown (musical, with Theodore Bikel)
  • The Egg (with Dick Shawn)
  • 42 Seconds to Broadway (with Henry Winkler)
  • A Teaspoon Every Four Hours (with Jackie Mason)

Off Broadway - Red Eye of Love – winner Obie Award

  • Little Shop of Horrors (original role of Mr. Mushnick)
  • Yale Rep. Company
  • Chelsea Theater Company

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Christopher Buttner
Visit website