NORFOLK, VA--Mel Welles, a trained psychologist who embarked on a varied, globe-trotting life that took him
to 28 countries, and included work as an actor, director, producer and concert impresario, but is perhaps best
remembered for his portrayal of flower shop owner Gravis Muchnik in Roger Corman's 1960 black comedy "The
Little Shop of Horrors," died at a hospital here Aug. 19 of heart failure. He was 81. MSTies will recall his
memorable turn as crooning grave digger Smolken in the movie in episode 806- THE UNDEAD.
Before arriving in Hollywood, the New York native did stints as a clinical psychologist (he had a Ph.D. in Psychology
from Columbia University) and a radio deejay. He began to get roles in radio dramas and in various stage productions,
and that led to work in about 60 films, including "Attack of the Crab Monsters" "Abbott And Costello
Meet The Mummy" and "Rock All Night." He also made more than 300 TV appearances in series including
"Maverick," "Peter Gunn," "Topper," "The Lone Ranger," "Circus Boy,"
"Rin Tin Tin," and "Wyatt Earp." In the 1960s he moved to Europe, where he directed a number
of B movies, (he was also a well-known there as film consultant). He moved on to the far east, where he produced
and directed classical music concerts in Australia and southeast Asia. By the time he returned to the U.S., he
spoke five languages fluently and became known for voice-over work.
Most recently, he has been a corporate teacher, creating and conducting seminars and experimental workshops for
executives, including work with The Center For Executive Re-Invention in Austin, Texas.
He is survived by his wife, Anne.