It reminded me of when I wrote here, back in 2013, about the time I met Clarence and then posted a video of him as a guest contestant on What's My Line? He wasn't a "Mystery Guest," though since no one knew his name or what he looked like. It remains one of my favorite -- if not favorite -- celebrity guest segment on the show. So, especially for those who also read Mark's website, but also people who have joined these pages during the past six year (or who don't remember the piece...or who might like to see it again...), I figured I'd re-post the story and let you see the charming and great-fun video of what the fellow who played the voice of 'Donald Duck' looks like. And as the story tells, my recollection is that Clarence Nash was as charming and sweet a fellow as he comes across here. Also, though I say it in the article, I'll repeat it here -- he clearly LOVED being the voice of 'Donald Duck,' and LOVED bringing utter joy to all the people around him with it.
The other day, we had Walt Disney as the Mystery Guest on “What’s My Line?” It seemed proper then to follow-up with Clarence Nash.
Who is Clarence Nash, I hear you cry? Clarence Nash’s name is so little known, as his face that he’s not even a Mystery Guest. Just a guess for the panelists to guess what he does.
What he does is Clarence Nash was the voice of Donald Duck.
I actually once was lucky enough to meet the good fellow. It was many years ago when I worked for the California Park Service as a Park Aide at Will Rogers State Historic Park. This one day, I happened to be working at the visitor center, when a group came up and wanted a bunch of the wands that gave the audio tour. One of the younger women in the group mention that this quiet, little, gray-haired man was the voice of Donald Duck. We chatted briefly, I gave them their wands, and they wandered off to the first nearby audio stop.
A moment later, a mother arrived with her two little boys, and she wanted audio wands. As I went to get them, I mentioned, “See that man over there? He’s Clarence Nash. The voice of Donald Duck.”
You never saw a person move so fast, as she grabbed her sons by the hand and whipped them off – zoom – in his direction. I laughed, went back to work, and then a few seconds later, I heard the voice of Donald Duck making two little kids laugh. And their mother.
So, time passes. I keep doing my job, and about 20 minutes later, it was time to rotate and switch assignments. I was to head to the Ranch House and replace the Park Aide there to give tours. As I neared the front door, though, something was odd. There not only weren’t any people wandering around out front, but the little roped-off area inside the house was jammed overflowing with people, spilling out the door. I couldn’t figure it out. But as I got near, I did figure it out.
The people weren’t all jammed together – they’re formed a circle. And they were all looking in to the center of the circle. And coming out of the center of that circle, unseen, was the voice of Donald Duck.
Here’s Clarence Nash. One of the most beloved people no one knows. Even, as you will see, the panelists of "What's My Line?"
[Fun Note: One of the topics on Mark's discussion of voice actors is how they are all independent contractors, and that the only one he ever knew who was under full-time contract was Clarence Nash, because Walt Disney used him for many different Donald projects. And as you'll note in this video, the only clue that host John Daly gives the panelists is that the guest "is salaried."]