Bill Cunningham, Original Voice of Ken Doll, Dead at 96

Bill Cunningham, Ken
CESD Talent/Mattel

The voice actor and singer also founded CESD Talent Agency.

Bill Cunningham has died. The original voice of the Ken doll died earlier this month in West Hollywood, California, the CESD Talent Agency, which Cunningham founded, confirmed on Instagram. He was 96. 

Born in San Francisco in 1927, Cunningham, a World War II veteran, had a love of movies from a young age, according to Deadline

Cunningham got his start on Voices of Walter Schumann and The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show, before singing on soundtracks for multiple studios and appearing in many commercials.

On top of that, Cunningham, who was the original voice of Ken for Mattel, toured with Judy Garland and had his debut album, I'm Always Chasing Rainbows, financed by Fred Astaire.

At the urging of Peggy Taylor, in 1963, Cunningham invested his life savings in Pacific Artists Agency. Four years later, the Los Angeles-based company became Cunningham & Associates.

Offices in New York and Chicago followed in 1971, leading the company, which is now known as CESD and led by Ken Slevin and Paul Doherty, to become the most successful bicoastal commercial/VO talent agency in the business.

Cunningham retired in 1989. He published his memoir, I Wonder What Became of Me, in 2014.