Earl Hammond (June 16, 1921–May 1, 2002) was an American theater, radio, film and television actor, and, in his later years, a voice actor for several animated films and TV series.
Best known roles
Earl Hammond began acting in radio at the age of 7, and continued working in that venue throughout his life. In the 1940s, he had a regular role as a young lawyer on the radio soap opera Days of Our Lives. From 1979 to 1982, he acted on the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, appearing in 189 episodes, over 12% of the entire run of the 1,399 episodes of that radio series.
Hammond started his television career in the early 1950s, his first major role being as a regular, Sergeant Lane, on the Dumont police drama Inside Detective. At the same time, he was also 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 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 was also the voice of the Transformers villain Megatron in a series of children's read-along books.
In 1994, Hammond was selected from 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. The publisher said the pope personally selected Hammond.
Early acting career
In 1938, after graduating Bennet High School in Buffalo, NY, he 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, studying acting at Los Angeles City College, and graduating in 1941 with future stars Donna Reed and Alexis Smith. He was drafted into the US Army for World War Two; when he was discharged, he moved to New York City to continue his acting career. He appeared in the New York City area in the late 1940s on radio dramas, in summer theater, and in off-Broadway productions.