Robert “Bob” Francis Hastings, Sr., a radio actor who found his footing in television, notably for portraying “yes man” Lt. Elroy Carpenter on the popular sitcom “McHale’s Navy,” has died. He was 89.
Hastings died Monday at his Burbank home. He had prostate cancer, his third bout with the illness in 15 years.
FOR THE RECORD
July 2, 10:35 a.m.: An earlier version of this article said Hastings had pancreatic cancer. This is incorrect. Hastings battled prostate cancer.
Hastings began his career in radio in 1936 at the age of 11. He was featured on a variety of shows such as “The Daily Mirror Radio Gang” and “Adventures in King Arthurland.” Less than a decade later, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a B-29 navigator during World War II. Upon his return, his voice found the airwaves again, voicing Archie Andrews until 1953, the main character of the popular comic, according to the Internet Movie Database.
In 1949, Hastings moved to television with roles such as Hal on “Captain Video and His Video Rangers.” That work, and his keen ear for foreign accents, led to a recurring role as a lieutenant on “Sergeant Bilko” in 1956.
Reached in New York, Don Hastings called his older brother and fellow actor his hero.
“I miss him. He was a great guy. He was a good father and a good husband,” Don said. “That’s hard to be in show business.”
The younger Hastings played Dr. Bob Hughes on the soap opera “As The World Turns” for decades.
As the work poured in, Bob Hastings vowed to provide a normal life for his wife, Joan, and their four children, according to a statement provided by the family. Michael, a former Burbank mayor, said he sees his father’s principles in himself, his children and siblings.
“It seems my dad’s legacy is continuing. He told us we have to give back, it’s not ours for the taking,” Michael said. “He was a true American.”
Additional television roles, according to IMDb included portrayals of Tommy Kelsey in “All in the Family” and Capt. Burt Ramsey on “General Hospital.”
Outside of acting, he lent his voice to music with LP’s for children and families. His voice returned as characters to story albums such as “Black Beauty,” “The Arabian Nights” and “The Magic Button.” Hastings also served as an official host of the Universal Studios tour for many years.
Hastings accumulated more than 100 radio, acting and voice-over credits to his name during the years.
“He loved his craft. We learned that from him: You have to love what you do,” Michael said.
Born in Brooklyn, Hastings was the third son of Hazel Mae Kirk and Charles Benedict Hastings Sr. Hastings and his wife met as teenagers, and married in 1948. The family lived in New York before moving to Burbank, chosen for the quality of the schools.
Despite his roots in New York, Hastings was a lifelong Los Angeles Dodgers fan, according to the statement.
Prior to his death, Hastings received care from Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center and the Disney Family Cancer Center. Doctors gave the veteran actor only a few days to live after his release. He lived for almost nine more weeks.
“That’s the way he was,” Michael said about his father.
A rosary for Hastings will be held Monday at 7 p.m. at Saint Finbar Catholic Church in Burbank. The funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday.
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