Happy Birthday Paul Lynde: Remembering ‘Bewitched’ Actor and Comedian on Would-Be 95th

by Megan Molseed
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Actor and comedian Paul Lynde would have celebrated his 95th birthday this year. Born on June 13, 1926, Lynde, is famously known for his wry sense of humor and one-of-a-kind dry wit.

With his distinctive voice, Lynde found success on stage, film and television. 

Paul Lynde is part of the original 1960 cast of the hit Broadway show Bye Bye Birdie. In the broadway favorite, Lynde played neurotic patriarch Harry MacAfee sharing the stage with some Hollywood icons such as Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera. 

Lynde also lends his one-of-a-kind to a variety of animated Hannah Barbara productions characters.

According to Lynde’s Wikipedia page, actor and director Mel Brooks was quoted describing the comedian as someone who could get laughs by simply reading “a phone book, tornado alert, or seed catalog.”

Lynde’s Most Bewitching Role

One of the roles which Paul Lynde is most remembered for is the charming and rambunctious Uncle Arthur on the classic television show Bewitched

Bewitched entertained audiences for almost a decade between 1964 and 1972. The hit show follows the endearing and beautiful witch, Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery), and her husband, Darrin. Dick York plays the role of Darrin Stephens from 1964-1969. Dick Sargent later picked up the role of Darrin, playing the famous television husband from 1969-1972.

The series follows Samantha and Darrin as they try to navigate life as newlyweds. Making things extra difficult for the couple are Samantha’s witchy relatives who largely disapprove of her marriage to the mortal Darrin. 

Paul Lynde Doubles Up on “Bewitched”

The actor made his first appearance on Bewitched as Samantha’s mortal driving instructor, Harold Harold. His role as the anxious driving instructor received multiple positive reviews. It also impressed the show’s star, Elizabeth Montogomery. Lynde made his first appearance as Uncle Arthur on October 14, 1965. 

Lynde plays the loveable and boisterous brother to Samantha’s mother, Endora (Agnes Moorehead.) A prank-loving warlock, Uncle Arthur loves to play practical jokes. Oftentimes, Darrin is the butt of many of the warlock’s pranks. 

Later, Paul Lynde reprised his role as the crafty jokester a total of multiple times during the show’s successful run. 

Lynde’s unique style of comedy and memorable delivery led him to become a regular guest star on the popular game show The Hollywood Squares. 

A popular take on the game tic-tac-toe, The Hollywood Squares brought celebrities and prizes to the popular classic. 

A fan favorite due to his often sarcastic style of humor and snarky take on many topics, Paul Lynde quickly landed a spot in the coveted “center” square of the celebrity game board. Paul Lynde appears on a total of 707 episodes of the game during its 15-year run.  

Paul Lynde passed away unexpectedly in his home on January 10, 1982 at the age of 55.

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