Mario Bros. actor Danny Wells, best known for portraying Luigi in the 1989 television series based on the Nintendo video game, dies at age 72. The actor, whose real name was Jack Westelman, played one-half of the famous brother duo.
The Super Show’s series ran for 65 episodes in the late 1980’s. He also recurred on The Jeffersons as Charlie the Bartender, from 1975-1985.
The show was most notable for its live-action skits that framed each cartoon segment, featuring the actual voice actors of the cartoon Mario and Luigi — Professional wrestler “Captain” Lou Albano and Danny Wells.
Many people remember how excited they were as young kids to see characters they played on their Nintendo getting into Saturday morning TV. The actual video game characters didn’t have voices back then, so The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! was the first introduction to each character’s personality, whether it was considered canon or not. Fortunately, it was just the right age to not notice the awkward Italian-American stereotypes.
His vast number of television credits also included appearances on “Rhoda,” “Columbo,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “Kojak,” “Sanford and Son,” “The Bionic Woman,” “Fantasy Island,” “Eight Is Enough,” “Lou Grant,” “Happy Days,” “The A-Team” and “Murder She Wrote.”
He also appeared in feature films including “Magnolia,” “Gus,” “The Shaggy D.A.,” “Private Benjamin,” “Body and Soul” and “Protection.”
Wells also did a number of TV movies including “A Guide for the Married Woman,” “The Man in the Santa Claus Suit,” “The Rousters” and “Snow in August.”