Earl Hammond
Erwin Saul Hamburger

(1921-06-17)June 17, 1921
Manhattan, New York City, US
DiedMay 19, 2002(2002-05-19) (aged 80)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Years active1928–1998

Erwin Saul Hamburger (June 16, 1921 – May 19, 2002), known professionally as Earl Hammond, was an American actor, who has appeared in several films and television series.


Earl Hammond began acting in radio at the age of 7, and continued working in that venue throughout his life. In 1938, after graduating from Bennet High School in Buffalo, New York, Hammond began acting in Fred and Ethel Dampier's radio skits on WGR, one of the city's major radio stations. He moved on to California, studied acting at Los Angeles City College, and graduated in 1941 with future stars Donna Reed and Alexis Smith among his classmates. He was drafted into the U.S. Army for World War II. After he was discharged, he moved to New York City, where he performed in the late 1940s on radio dramas, in summer theater, and in off-Broadway theater productions. [1][2]

In the 1940s, he had a regular role as a young lawyer on a radio soap opera.[3] He acted on the CBS Radio Mystery Theater[4] from 1974 to 1982, appearing in 189 episodes -- more than 12% of the entire run of the 1,399 episodes of that radio series.[5][unreliable source?]

Hammond started his television career in the early 1950s, his first major role being as a regular called Sergeant Lane on the DuMont police drama Inside Detective (aka Rocky King Detective[6]: 905 ). At the same time, he also was the first of three actors to portray the title character in the short-lived ABC TV science-fiction adventure series Buck Rogers, which ran from April 15, 1950, to January 30, 1951. In the mid-1950s, he had a major role in the daily/noontime CBS television soap opera Valiant Lady as Hal Soames, the married love interest of the widowed title character.

Hammond was perhaps best remembered for providing the voices of Mumm-Ra, Jaga, and other characters on the 1980s animated TV series ThunderCats, and for being the voice of villain Mon*Star on the 1980s animated TV series Silverhawks. He also was the voice of the Transformers villain Megatron in a series of children's read-along books.

In 1994, Hammond was selected from among several hundred actors who auditioned to be the voice of Pope John Paul II on the audiotape version of the Random House book Crossing the Threshold of Hope. [7] The publisher said the pope personally selected Hammond.[3]

Personal life and death

Earl Hammond was born Erwin Saul Hamburger on June 17, 1921 in New York City, NY — his family moved to Buffalo, NY while he was still a toddler. He began his acting career in radio at the age of 7, and continued all the way through high school. In the early 1940s, he moved to California, took acting classes at Los Angeles City College, and changed his name to Earl Hammond.

He was drafted into the US Army during World War Two, learned Morse code, and served in communications. Once discharged, he moved to New York City.

In the late 1950s, as more and more television production moved from New York City to California, so did he, who, based on his television series credits, likely moved to the West Coast around 1960. He married sometime between 1950 and 1980, and had a son and a daughter, both still living at the time of his death by heart failure on May 1, 2002 in New York City.[3]





  1. ^ Secrest, Meryl (1994) "Leonard Bernstein: A Life" A.A. Knopf ISBN 0-679-40731-6, page 151
  2. ^ "Radio Actors Don Strawhats" Billboard Magazine (July 31, 1948) Nielsen Business Media Inc., ISSN 0006-2510, pp. 4 & 17
  3. ^ a b c "Earl Hammond, Noted for Voice Work" (obituary) "The Buffalo News" May 29, 2002 (available online at Earl Hammond In Memoriam webpage
  4. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4.
  5. ^ CBS Radio Mystery Theater webpage of the Old-Time Radio Database website
  6. ^ a b c d e Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  7. ^ "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" webpage on the Books On Tape website
  8. ^ Rocky King, Inside Detective webpage on the Classic TV Archive website