Carleton Carpenter, Stage and Screen Actor, Passes Away at 95

Carleton Carpenter began his performing career on Broadway, beginning with David Merrick's first production, Bright Boy.

By: Jan. 31, 2022
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Carleton Upham Carpenter, Jr. (95) an American film, television and stage actor, songwriter, and novelist died Monday, January 31, 2022 in Warwick, NY. He had been in declining health for some years.

He was born July 10, 1926 in Bennington, Vermont, where he attended Bennington High School. Carpenter served as a Seabee in the U.S. Navy during World War II and helped to build the airstrip from which the Enola Gay took off for its flight to bomb Hiroshima.

Carleton Carpenter began his performing career on Broadway, beginning with David Merrick's first production, Bright Boy, in 1944, followed by co-starring appearances in Three to Make Ready with Ray Bolger, John Murray Anderson's Almanac and Hotel Paradiso. He was a featured player on the early television program "Campus Hoopla", which was produced by NBC, which aired from 1946-47.

He was brought to Hollywood by independent producer Louis de Rochemont in 1949 to play the boyfriend in Lost Boundaries, and later in The Whistle at Eaton Falls. Carpenter signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1950, making eight films in three years: Father of the Bride,Three Little Words, Summer Stock, Two Weeks With Love, Vengeance Valley, Fearless Faga, Sky Full of Moon, and Take the High Ground!

Carpenter gained fame when he teamed with Debbie Reynolds in Three Little Words and Two Weeks with Love. In Three Little Words, they perform "I Wanna Be Loved by You" and In Two Weeks with Love, they performed the hit duet "Abba Dabba Honeymoon". This was the first soundtrack recording to become a top-of-the-chart gold record, reaching number three on the Billboard charts.

Later, he exited films for stage, television and radio work. Among his television appearances, he played Gilbert Burton, the recipient of $1,000,000 in a 1959 episode of The Millionaire and co-starred with Ann Sothern in the 1954 TV production of Kurt Weill's Lady in the Dark, which he also recorded for RCA Victor Records. In 1963, he played defendant Peter Brent in the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Lover's Leap".

Later stage appearances include Hello, Dolly!, opposite Mary Martin (which toured Vietnam during the war and was filmed as a one-hour NBC-TV special), The Boys in the Band, Dylan, Crazy For You, and the City Center Encores! revival of Kander and Ebb's 70, Girls, 70.

Carpenter composed the songs "Christmas Eve", recorded by Billy Eckstine, "Cabin in the Woods" and "Ev'ry Other Day", which he recorded for MGM Records and sang in the film The Whistle at Eaton Falls. He wrote the words and melody of the song "Can We Forget". His other song compositions include "I Wouldn't Mind", "A Little Love", and "Come Away". He also wrote the musical Northern Boulevard, produced by actress Rosetta LeNoire.

As a writer he wrote material for Debbie Reynolds, Kaye Ballard, Marlene Dietrich and Hermione Gingold, as well as scripts for films and television. In the 1970s and 1980s, his successful mystery novels included:. "Deadhead", "Games Murderers Play", "Cat Got Your Tongue?", "Stumped", "Only Her Hairdresser Knew", "Sleight of Deadly Hand", and "The Peabody Experience." Carleton's memoir, "The Absolute Joy of Work," was published in 2016.

In 2012, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Hollywood film organization Cinecon, which was presented to him by his former co-star Debbie Reynolds.

There are no known survivors, and there will be a later Memorial.