Frederick Albert Travalena III died of non Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 66 in his home in Encino CA on June 28, 2009, survived by his wife, Lois; sons Fred IV and Cory; and a granddaughter, Sophia. He was diagnosed with the disease in 2002 and prostate cancer in 2003. Following five years’ remission, the lymphoma returned in 2008.
Fred’s broad repertoire of voices ranged from Bugs Bunny to Luciano Pavarotti, including U.S. Presidents, Clint Eastwood, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Frank Sinatra, Jack Nicholson, Henry Kissinger... “I’ve known impressionists who have reached a wall where they can’t do any more voices,” he said. “I don’t have that problem.” In his varied career, he has appeared on many television programs—his own TV specials; on game shows and dramatic programs; as a regular performer on The ABC Comedy Hour with Rich Little and Frank Gorshin; guest appearances, including on Johnny Carson, David Letterman, and Merv Griffen. He frequently appeared at casino theaters in Las Vegas, Reno, and Atlantic City as well as Performing Arts Theaters around the country, and in “In-Concert” performances for many Fortune 500 corporations.
Michael Feinstein endorsed Fred as a “songwriter and lyricist.” His songs include We All Need Love Today, I Thought About You (tribute to Frank Sinatra), and The Spirit of America written for 9/11. In 2005 Fred received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
As a young adult, Fred served in Special Services in the U.S. Army. He was dedicated to the USO, entertaining servicemen, and was honored to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on behalf of the USO.
At the time of his death we received an e-mail from Fred’s classmate at Mepham, Barry Liston. Here is an excerpt:
For those of you who may not have known Fred, he was a graduate member of the Mepham Class of 1960 and we were looking forward to seeing him at our 50th Reunion and had even discussed the possibility of his performing for us on that special evening. We had the privilege of catching several of his acts in Tampa and Clearwater and were disappointed when he cancelled his trip here earlier this year...we now know why.
Fred was a terrific entertainer and impressionist who, over the years, did stand-up comedy and impressions of many famous presidents, actors, and people from many walks of life—Nixon, Jim Nabors, Kennedy, Sammy Davis, Jr., Clinton, just to name a few—he filled in for Johnny Carson on his late night show during Carson’s “hey day,” also starred on the David Letterman show, even did a tribute to Frank Sinatra who once said, “If you like my act, you have to see this guy do me; he’s terrific!!” Fred continued to perform throughout the country, including here in Clearwater where he also spent time with his wife’s family.
And sent in by his wife, Lois, was the notice she had been asked to speak on January 13th at a show, 4 Troops in Concert, a vocal quartet of former military leaders who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they will be making the first Fred Travalena Scholarship presentation to help young people in the military who want to be in the arts of music, dance, acting, etc. She wrote: “Since Fred was such a patriot, loving his country, serving his country, honoring the USO, and serving the POW/MIA issue for years, this Scholarship only seemed fitting to be in his name.
If you “Google” Fred Travalena, you will be able to see, hear, and read a lot more about him.