Charlie Callas missed by Hollywood

Jan. 29, 2011 at 9:20 AM

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Producer Mel Brooks called Charlie Callas, who died in Las Vegas this week, a one-man cast of characters who will be missed by his fellow comedians.

"Charlie Callas was a cast of thousands all by himself," Brooks told the Los Angeles Times. "The world of comedy will miss him very much."

Callas died of natural causes Thursday at the age of 83, his son, Mark, said.

The Brooklyn-born World War II veteran had a long career as a nightclub comic and actor who appeared in the Brooks films "High Anxiety" and "Silent Movie." He also was the voice of Elliott in "Pete's Dragon" and was a frequent guest on the "Tonight Show."

"He could do a thousand faces, a thousand voices and a thousand sound effects," Brooks said. "He cost me a lot of money -- it was almost impossible to finish a scene without the whole crew collapsing in laughter."

Callas also was a fixture in Las Vegas and frequently opened for Frank Sinatra, the Times said.

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