Bill McCutcheon

MAHWAH, NJ--Bill McCutcheon, an inspired, award-winning comedic actor with nearly 40 years of success to his credit in movies, television and especially on the stage, died here Jan. 9, 2002, of natural causes. He was 77. Although he had a long and successful career in show business, MSTies will remember him most for one of his first roles: the effervescent childlike Droppo in 1964's SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS, featured in episode 321.

A native of Russell, KY, McCutcheon had parlayed small appearances on the "Howdy Doody" show to land the role, and while that production was admittedly rather threadbare, McCutcheon overcame those humble beginnings. He worked extensively in commercials and kids shows; to people of certain age, he will always be remembered for his stint as Uncle Wally on "Sesame Street." But he also did more mature work. His stage credits include roles in "The Marriage of Bette and Boo," for which he won an Obie Award, and revivals of "The Front Page" and "You Can't Take it With You."

In 1988, he won a Tony Award for his portrayal of gangster Moonface Martin in the hugely successful revival of "Anything Goes."

Following that success Hollywood seemed to rediscover him, and he had a number of film roles late in his career, in movies including "Steel Magnolias" (1989), "Family Business" (1989) and "Mr. Destiny" (1990).