Actor John Fiedler, voice of Piglet and "Bob Newhart" regular, dead at 80

Monday, June 27, 2005

American actor John Fiedler died at the age of 80 on June 25. Though he worked extensively on stage, film, television, and radio for over forty years, he is perhaps most remembered for two roles: the mild, fearful voice of Piglet in Disney's many Winnie the Pooh productions, and the role of Mr. Peterson, nervous patient on The Bob Newhart Show.

Born in 1925 in Ohio, Fiedler began his career in New York, working on the radio series The Aldrich Family as sidekick Homer Brown, and making his film debut in Twelve Angry Men (1957), as the nervous Juror #2. Most of his subsequent roles were as gentle or nervous types, though occasionally he broke out of the mold, notably in the original Star Trek episode "A Wolf in the Fold," as an official possessed by Jack the Ripper. On Broadway he was in the original casts of A Raisin in the Sun (as housing commmittee rep Lindner) and The Odd Couple (as poker player Vinnie), reprising both roles for the film versions. Other on-camera work included roles in the films True Grit and The Cannonball Run, plus many TV guest spots from Bewitched to The Twilight Zone, and a recurring part on Kolchak: The Night Stalker as morgue attendant Gordy "The Ghoul" Spangler.

His distinctive voice kept him busiest, however. In addition to playing Piglet in many shorts, four features, several specials, and two TV series, he was heard in the Disney features The Rescuers, Robin Hood, and The Emporer's New Groove. A cause of death has not yet been reported.