A Childhood Icon Dies... "It's Time To Make The Donuts"...
Dunkin' Donuts Ad Star Vale Dies
It's time to make the donuts in heaven.
Michael Vale, the actor best known for portraying Fred the Baker in an iconic string of Dunkin' Donuts commercials, died on Saturday (Dec. 24) in New York City. The cause of death for the 83-year-old Vale was complications from diabetes.
For 15 years, Dunkin' Donuts ads featured Vale's Fred, an eternally optimistic baker with droopy eyes and a bushy moustache who greeted the day with the observation "Time to make the donuts." The ads began running in 1982 and helped establish brand identity for the company.
Vale retired in 1997 and the character retired with him. Many New England residents will recall that Vale received a retirement parade in Boston and millions of customers got free donuts.
Vale was born in Brooklyn in 1922 and after serving in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in World War II, he attended the Dramatic Workshop at The New School in New York, according to The Los Angeles Times. He appeared in a dozen Broadway plays and did television appearances on shows including ""Car 54, Where Are You?" and "The Cosby Show." He even had small parts in films including "A Hatful of Rain" and "Marathon Man."
He will still be best known for his Dunkin' Donuts spots, which represented merely the tip of a 1000-plus commercial iceberg.