Ken Berry is a veteran American actor, dancer, and singer. He has given more than 5 decades of his life to the entertainment industry and provided happiness to millions of fans worldwide through his skillful acting. Born to a Swedish-English family in 1933, Ken Berry celebrates his birthday on 3 November.
He was born and raised at Moline in Rock Island County, Northwestern Illinois. His father Darell Berry worked as an accountant while his mother Bernice Berry was a homemaker. He has one sibling.
After watching a children’s dance performance during a school assembly, Ken’s interest in dancing was raised. He was 12 years old at that time. His dream was to perform in movie musicals and would go to the film theaters and watch his favorite movies. He started learning tap dance and at age of 15, he won a local talent competition.
He was invited by Horace Heidt to accompany him on his tour. He toured the US and Europe for 15 months and this exposure gave little Ken a lot of learning experience and also lasting relationships with Horace, his son, and other cast members.
Ken Berry’s career
After graduating from the high school, Ken enrolled in the US Army and was posted at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Here he participated in a talent contest and having won it was sent to New York City for his television debut.
He also entertained the army troops with his dancing capabilities. His TV performance was watched and appreciated by many. He was then offered a screen test by Twentieth Century Fox at Universal Studios. He first started as a contract player. He was gradually groomed by the Studios to replace Donald O’Connor in the movie series named ‘Francis the Talking Mule’.
He actively used the studio’s talent development programs and learned jazz dance, vocal, ballet, and acting.
He had thought of doing acting sometimes and making dance and singing as his career but soon it was the other way round. Acting became his main career. He was cast in Hello Down there, Guardian of the Wilderness, Herbie Rides Again, and in The Cat from the Outer Space. He also did a lot of theaters, mainly in Las Vegas.
He was referred and bagged a number of shows. He worked with Billy Barnes. He won a talent show and got to work on a TV for a week and was offered more shows after that seeing his great talent. The great entertainers of that time such as Lucille Ball wanted Ken on their shows. He was part of innumerable TV series and shows and his fame continued to rise. He also did commercials and recorded albums.
Ken Berry’s personal life
Ken met Jackie Joseph on one of the shows and married her on 29 May 1960. The couple did not bear any children and adopted two kids; son John Kenneth in 1964 and daughter Jennifer Kate in 1965. However, the couple separated and divorced in 1976. Son John also died in 2016 due to brain cancer.
He is retired from the industry in 2006 and is living a retired and relaxed life in LA. He is fond of cars and wheeled vehicles and would explore the LA mountain ranges on his motorcycle. He also was the proud owner of a 1966 Mini Moke.
Reference: Wikipedia.org, people.com