Born September 16, 1919 in New York City, Lawrence Dobkin was an American television director, actor and screenwriter whose career spanned seven decades. A former child actor, he began working in radio while attending Yale University School of Drama and working on Broadway. He went on to serve with a radio propaganda unit of the United States Army Air Corps during World War II and returned to network radio. Afterward, he was one of five actors who played the detective Ellery Queen in "The Adventures of Ellery Queen." In "The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe" from 1950 to 1951, he played detective Archie Goodwin opposite Sydney Greenstreet's Nero Wolfe.
While performing on NBC Radio in 1951, he briefly played the lead role of Simon Templar, becoming one of the few actors to portray the character. He also did radio work in "Escape," "Gunsmoke," "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar" and the anthology series, "Lux Radio Theater." He was also Lieutenant Matthews on "The Adventures of Philip Marlowe," along with several other characters.
Dobkin later went on to star in feature films and television. His voice was used to narrate the classic western "Broken Arrow' and he starred in "Never Fear," "Sweet Smell of Success" and "North by Northwest" with Cary Grant. (1959). His voice also announced the landmark television series, "Naked City," closing each episode with the statement, "There are eight million stories in the naked city, and this has been one of them." His later movies included "Twelve O'Clock High," "The Day the Earth Stood Still," "Julius Caesar," "The Ten Commandments," "The Defiant Ones," "Patton" and a cameo appearance in the 1954 sci-fi thriller "Them." On television, he guest starred on the short-lived series, "Biff Baker, U.S.A." with Alan Hale Jr.. His other TV work included "Mr. Adams and Eve" with Howard Duff and Ida Lupino, "The Donna Reed Show," "Wanted: Dead or Alive," "Richard Diamond, Private Detective," "The Rifleman," "I Love Lucy" and "The Untouchables" as gangster Dutch Schultz.
As a writer, Dobkin helped create and develop the movie and later TV series, "The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams." His earlier work included the pilot and episodes of "The Munsters," and several episodes of "The Waltons." From 1971 to 1993, Dobkin also served as the narrator of "The Hall of Presidents" series, returning to re-record the presidential roll call each time a new U.S. President was elected. From 1982 to 1986, he narrated the attraction Spaceship Earth at the Epcot Center.
Dobkin passed away October 28, 2002, survived by Anne Collins, his wife of thirty-two years and his four children and two ex-wives. His identical-twin daughters followed him into show business. Kristy Dobkin became a writer, and Kaela Dobkin became an actress. His ashes were casted on to the Pacific Ocean.