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Last Updated: Friday, 23 April, 2004, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
Voice of Woody Woodpecker dies
Woody Woodpecker with his creator Walter Lantz
Woody Woodpecker with his creator Walter Lantz
Harry Babbitt, the man who voiced the distinctive laugh of popular cartoon character Woody Woodpecker, has died aged 90 in California.

Babbitt was also a member of the Kay Kyser Big Band from 1938 to about 1949, singing on hits such as The White Cliffs of Dover and The Umbrella Man.

He also appeared in seven movies alongside Kyser, who died in 1985.

Babbitt teamed up with a new band in the 1980s but stopped performing in the mid-1990s. He leaves a wife and family.

He obtained the rights to the Kyser band name and back catalogue after Kay Kyser died.


The St Louis-born tenor also featured on Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge, a popular comedy and musical radio quiz show in the US.

The band were famed for their novelty records including Three Little Fishes and the 1948 hit, Woody Woodpecker, sung by Babbitt.

He also made a solo recording of All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth with his trademark high-pitched voice.

His son Michael said he died of old age on 9 April in a nursing home in Newport Beach.

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