Joseph Kearns

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The medical report claims actor Joseph Kearns died in the early '60s of a cerebral hemorrhage, but is there any doubt that it was Dennis the Menace that did him in? Not to be confused with a big band…
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The medical report claims actor Joseph Kearns died in the early '60s of a cerebral hemorrhage, but is there any doubt that it was Dennis the Menace that did him in? Not to be confused with a big band reedman of the same name, actor Kearns was well known as both the voice, then the face of constantly irritated neighbor Mr. Wilson on the radio and television series of Dennis the Menace, respectively. Kearns also had a considerable following as the evil Professor Moriarty in the Sherlock Holmes radio serial starring the great Basil Rathbone in the title role. Kearns had other moments of entertainment greatness in an uncredited capacity: he was, for example, the voice of an angel in director Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life. While soundtrack recordings comprise much of the Kearns discography, the actor had a major musical interest of his own in the pipe organ. He went so far as to have his house built around one of the instrumental behemoths. Kearns toiled as a theatrical and radio pipe organist prior to soft pedaling that skill in preference to the acting roles that started coming in. By the time of his death his regular television roles included police and Western action as well as comedy.