Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 22, 2004
Writer, actor, producer, director, and all around, one of the most respected men in television. It was Leonard who gave Bill Cosby one of his first big breaks by casting him in I Spy in the 1960s. Before that, however, Leonard had a long career on the stage, in movies and in radio playing Damon Runyonesque characters, including Harry the Horse in Guys and Dolls, which of course is based on Runyon stories.
One of his highest-profile roles on radio was as a semi-regular on the Jack Benny Radio Program. Leonard played a racetrack tout type, talking out of the side of his mouth, who would try to convince Benny to change his mind regarding a selection.
I would speculate that Mel Blanc, a stalwart of both the WB studio and the Jack Benny show, may have had a hand in getting Leonard to play a role in cartoons. Leonard provided the voice for Dodsworth, the fat, lazy shiftless cat who made two appearences in Bob McKimson cartoons of the early 50s.