Winstead Sheffield Glenndenning Dixon Weaver loved to pull pranks and plan practical jokes as a student at Stanford University. His penchant for comedy led him to become a contributor to the school’s humor magazine.
Using his childhood nickname “Doodles”, he began appearing on Rudy Vallee’s radio program and eventually signed on as a member of the raucous big-band Spike Jones and His City Slickers in 1946. While performing with the zany Jones, Doodles created the character of Professor Feetlebaum, a crazy scholar who specialized in confusing soliloquies, mangled speech and Spoonerisms (transposing the first letters of corresponding words). He is most famous and best remembered for his horse race announcing bit during Jones’ inspired take on “The William Tell Overture.” Doodles toured with Jones and his band until the 1950s.
Based on a hilarious Ajax cleanser commercial he did with a pig, Doodles was given his own TV show as a summer replacement for the popular Your Show of Shows on NBC. He was a frequent guest on variety shows and sitcoms, including The Andy Griffith Show, Dragnet, The Donna Reed Show — even The Monkees and Batman. Doodles also had supporting roles in nearly 100 films, appearing several times alongside Jerry Lewis and a cameo in Hitchcock‘s ornithological chiller The Birds. In addition, Doodles served as the host of several low-budget childrens’ shows, with the credits listing “Doodles… Doodles Weaver” and “Everybody Else… Doodles Weaver.”
He also was a contributor to the early days of Mad magazine.
Doodles battled with alcohol addiction later in his life, as well as failing health. He underwent a triple-bypass heart operation in the late 70s. In an interview in 1981, he said “Nothing means anything when you’re in pain.”
In 1983, 71-year old Doodles died from a self-inflicted gunshot.
His niece, actress Sigourney Weaver, carries on the family’s showbiz name.