Baritone from St. Francis, Kansas, who performed on a Topeka radio station while still young and then joined the navy and fought in World War Two.
After completing his tour of duty, he attended the Kansas City Conservatory of Music, where he studied voice and met his future wife. They did summer stock theatre in Wisconsin and then moved to the Big Apple, where Len landed acting gigs on The Great White Way and performed with a five-some known as The Male Quintet. He then went on the road with a theatre troupe, performing in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific.
In the ’50s, the Dresslars put down stakes in Chicago, Illinois. Len found steady work on WBBM on a program entitled In Town Tonight, which enjoyed a five-year run. In 1959, he did a commercial that would eventually become his legacy, providing the voice of The Jolly Green Giant, the emerald cartoon spokesman for Minnesota Valley Canning Company. (It would later be acquired by General Mills.) He would also help bring to vocal life the characters of Dig ‘Em, the amphibious pitchman for Sugar Smacks, and Snap, one third of the Rice Krispies mascots, Snap, Crackle, and Pop.
In the ’60s, Len hooked up with The J’s with Jamie, a vocal ensemble that specialized in recording commercial jingles. Then he joined The Singers Unlimited , a group created for the same purpose, but they broke out of the box and enjoyed a decade-long period of prosperity, releasing no less than fifteen albums.
In 1991, the Dresslars retired to Florida, although he was still being called in to re-record tracks for the General Mills vegetable ads. On 16th October 2005, cancer claimed his life in Palm Springs, Florida.
If you would like to hear what Len sounded like outside the valley of the Jolly Green Giant, check out The Singers Unlimited’s seven-CD boxed set, Magic Voices.
Here’s a Green Giant advert from the 1960s….