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Pinto Colvig

Pinto Colvig
Pinto Colvig in Jacksonville School
Born Vance DeBar Colvig
(1892-09-11)September 11, 1892
Jacksonville, Oregon, U.S.
Died October 3, 1967(1967-10-03) (aged 75)
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
Cause of death Lung cancer
Resting place Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City
Alma mater Oregon State University
Occupation Actor, voice actor, radio actor, newspaper cartoonist, circus performer, animator, screenwriter
Years active 1925–1965
Spouse(s) Margaret Bourke Slavin
(m. 1916–1950; her death)
Peggy Bernice Allaire
(m. 1952–1967; his death)
Children Vance DeBar Colvig, Jr.
William Mason Colvig
Byington Ford Colvig
Bourke L. Colvig (1922–1985)
Courtney X. Colvig (1931–1990)
Parent(s) William Mason Colvig (father) (1845–1936)
Adelaide Birdseye Colvig (mother) (1856–1912)

Vance DeBar "Pinto" Colvig (September 11, 1892 – October 3, 1967) was an American vaudeville actor, voice actor, radio actor, newspaper cartoonist, circus performer, animator, and screenwriter whose schtick was playing the clarinet off-key while mugging. Colvig was the original Bozo The Clown, as well as the original voice of the Disney character Goofy. In 1993, he was posthumously created a Disney Legend for his contributions to Walt Disney films including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Dumbo.


  • Personal life 1
  • Career 2
  • Death 3
  • Filmography 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Personal life

Colvig was born Vance DeBar Colvig in Jacksonville, Oregon, one of seven children of Judge William Mason Colvig (1845–1936) and wife Adelaide Birdseye Colvig (1856–1912).[1] Although William Colvig was a pioneer, an attorney and a distinguished Oregonian, he was never actually a judge.[2] Pinto graduated from Oregon State University in 1911 at age 18.

After marrying Margaret Bourke Slavin (1892–1950) in 1916, he settled with his wife in San Francisco, where four of their five boys were born (their last son was born in Los Angeles).[3]

A lifelong smoker, Colvig was one of the pioneers in advocating warning labels about cancer risk on cigarette packages in the United States.

Colvig was the father of the character and voice actor Vance Colvig, who also later portrayed Bozo the Clown on a live TV program.


Bolivar the Talking Ostrich

In 1916, Pinto Colvig worked with Byington Ford and Benjamin Thackston Knight at the Animated Film Corp in San Francisco. The company produced animated cartoons over a decade before Walt Disney did. As Colvig's reputation grew, he worked for the Disney studio, the Warner Bros. animation studio, Fleischer Studios (Bluto, Gabby), and MGM, where he voiced a Munchkin in the 1939 release of The Wizard of Oz. He directed (along with Erdman Penner and Walt Pfeiffer) the 1937 Mickey Mouse short Mickey's Amateurs and helped in the 1939 Looney Tunes cartoon Jeepers Creepers, as well as the 1942 cartoons Conrad the Sailor and Ding Dog Daddy.

Colvig is known as the original voice of Disney's Goofy[4] and the original Bozo the Clown, a part he played for a full decade beginning in 1946.[5] It was during this period that Colvig recorded the "Filbert the Frog" song, which featured Colvig's virtuoso use of the glottal stop as a musical instrument in itself. He is also the second known voice of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.[6] Other notable characters he voiced include Practical Pig, the pig who built the "house of bricks" in the Disney short Three Little Pigs, as well as both Sleepy (who originally was supposed to be voiced by Sterling Holloway) and Grumpy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and the barks for Pluto the dog. He also provided Ichabod Crane's screams in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.

In 1922, he created a newspaper cartoon panel titled "Life on the Radio Wave" for the San Francisco Chronicle. The feature ran 3-4 times per week on the newspaper's radio page, and lasted six months.[7]


Colvig died of lung cancer on October 3, 1967, in Woodland Hills, California, at age 75.[8] He was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City.


Year Title Role Notes
1925 Hey Fever Time
After a Reputation
Buster be Good
Oh! Buster! The Butler
Buster's Nightmare
1928 The Cockeyed Family Orange Farmer (uncredited)
1930 Spooks Hippo (voice, uncredited)
Henpecked Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (voice, uncredited)
The Chain Gang Hounds (voice, uncredited)
Snappy Salesman Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (voice, uncredited)
Cold Feet Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (voice, uncredited)
The Navy Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (voice, uncredited)
Africa Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (voice, uncredited)
Alaska Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (voice, uncredited)
1931 What a Doctor Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (voice, uncredited)
The Moose Hunt Pluto (voice)
Mickey Steps Out Pluto (voice)
Mickey's Orphans Pluto (voice, uncredited)
1932 The Duck Hunt Pluto (voice, uncredited)
The Mad Dog Pluto (voice, uncredited)
Barnyard Olympics Pluto (voice, uncredited)
Mickey's Revue Dippy Dog, Pluto (voice, uncredited)
Just Dogs Pluto (voice, uncredited)
Mickey's Nightmare Pluto (voice)
Trader Mickey Pluto (voice, uncredited)
The Whoopee Party Goofy (voice, uncredited)
Touchdown Mickey Goofy (voice, uncredited)
1933 The Three Little Pigs Practical Pig (voice, uncredited)


  1. ^ Medford Pioneers
  2. ^ "William Colvig". 
  3. ^ Oregon Encyclopedia
  4. ^ Egan, Timothy (July 14, 1991). "Northwest Noir: An Art of the Serious Goofy". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ "Battling Bozos". Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  6. ^ "The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia: 1930". The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2011-04-24. 
  7. ^ "Stripper's Guide Obscurity of the Day, May 4, 2011". Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  8. ^ "Pinto Colvig, 75, Voice Of Cartoon Characters". The New York Times. October 6, 1967. 

External links

  • Pinto Colvig at the Internet Movie Database
  • ABC News: Bozo Finally Unmasked (2004)
  • Pinto Colvig - the original Bozo the Clown
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