Danny Goldman, Voice of Brainy Smurf and ‘Young Frankenstein’ Actor, Dies at 80

April 14, 2020 Updated: April 14, 2020

Danny Goldman, a veteran actor who voiced the character of Brainy Smurf in the popular 1980s animated series “The Smurfs,” has died, his longtime agent Doug Ely confirmed to CNN.

Goldman was 80 years old.

He died Sunday in Los Angeles following a pair of strokes he suffered at the beginning of the year, according to Ely.

Ely said Goldman was a friend as well as a business associate and called the actor “truly one of a kind” who loved baseball, their weekly poker game and animals, including cats and “fostering dog after dog after dog.”

“Lord knows how many cats he actually had,” Ely said. “But I think his biggest passion was the actors. He was always a champion for the actor.”

Born Daniel Goldman in New York City, he scored small parts in the 1960s and early 1970s on shows including “General Hospital,” “Mash,” and “Room 222.”

From 1971 to 1972 he played the role of Nick Dutton on the TV series “The Good Life.”
But it was his memorable scene as a medical student whose incessant questions drives Gene Wilder’s mad in the 1974 film “Young Frankenstein,” which helped to put Goldman more on Hollywood’s radar.

Smurf characters displayed at the Smurf Experience exhibition.
Smurf characters displayed at the Smurf Experience exhibition marking the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Smurfs by cartoonist Peyo in Brussels, Belgium, on June 21, 2018. (Alexandros Michailidis/Shuterstock)

His role as Brainy Smurf, the glasses wearing, erudite blue creature, earned him new fans.

The show ran from 1981 to 1989 and he also voiced the role in various Smurf specials and shorts.

Goldman revived his role as Brainy Smurf from 2005 to 2011 for the animated series “Robot Chicken.”

The 1980s also found him portraying Ozzie on “The New Mike Hammer.”

In addition to his work on the big and small screen, Goldman served as a casting director for decades, working on multiple projects including the science fiction film “Godzilla 1985” and 2008 short film “The Nature Between Us.”

But acting was his passion and he stayed busy with various guest roles including in “Batman: The Animated Series,” “The King of Queens,” and his last credited role as Detective Bob Zablonsky on the CBS drama “Criminal Minds.”
In 2018, he told the “StoryBeat” podcast that he had once been told that if you had never been fired you probably weren’t a very good actor.

So he was thrilled, he said, when he was working with “The Godfather” actor John Marley on the set of the TV series “Baretta” and Marley apologized and revealed that he had fired Goldman from a production in Baltimore.

“I said ‘I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it,'” Goldman recalled. “He said, ‘Why are you so happy?'”

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