Actor Larry Storch, who starred in “F Troop” alongside Berry in the 1960s, also posted a note to Facebook: “Dear friends. We are sad to let you know our beloved Captain, Mr. Ken Berry passed away tonight. We are at a true loss for words. Ken, we hope you know how much you were loved. Goodnight Captain. We miss you already.”
Berry grew interested in the entertainment industry as a teenager, when he took up tap dancing and won a local talent contest. The victory led him to tour with big band leader Horace Heidt with his ensemble “The Horace Heidt Youth Opportunity Program.”
Upon graduating high school, though, Berry joined the U.S. Army. In his second year of service, he joined the special services. As fate would have it, his commanding officer was Sgt. Leonard Nimoy — who would, of course, go on to great fame as Spock in “Star Trek.”
Throughout his Army days, Berry continued to perform. He eventually earned a slot on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and Nimoy, who had encouraged him to perform, reached out to a number of talent agents and studios, directing them to watch the young up-and-comer.
“Lenny told me, 'You ought to get in touch with some of the people at the talent departments at the studios,” Berry said in an interview. “I said, ‘I don’t know how to do that.’ He said, ‘Ah, I’ll do it for you.’ And he did. He sent wires out to agencies and the people in charge of the talent programs at the various studios. I got a couple of bites, and I took the one from Universal.”
It was successful. Beginning in 1960, Berry began appearing on various shows, eventually landing a leading role in the Western satire “F Troop” as the clumsy but lovable Capt. Wilton Parmenter. He later starred in “Mayberry R.F.D.,” a spinoff of “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Berry was a ubiquitous presence on television, always popping up on various popular programs such as “The Lucy Show,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Brady Bunch."
He later earned a recurring role on “Mama’s Family,” a spinoff of a sketch on “The Carol Burnett Show.”
He amassed a number of fans throughout his career, such as Buster Keaton. Berry once said of Keaton: “He once called me after the show had been on the night before and said, ‘That was a good gag you did last night.' Wow, that was high praise!”
Years later, reflecting on his career, Berry said: “[I] didn’t make a lot of money, but I made up for it in quantity. ”