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William Gargan, Former T.V. Actor, Gives Back

May 2, 1962 - William Gargan (pictured in 1955) demonstrated today that an actor who loses his voice may still play a useful and communicative role. Mr. Gargan, whose larynx was removed in 1960 because of cancer, spoke for 10 minutes to a class of 14 similarly afflicted persons at the National Hospital for Speech Disorders in New York. In a hoarse but clearly audible tone, he related that he had been touring in “The Best Man,” acting the part of a former President who dies of cancer, when he learned of his own condition. Following the operation, he began taking lessons, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, in a method of speech consisting of swallowing air and then forcing it to vibrate the esophagus. His appearance today was designed to encourage others to overcome the problems arising from loss of the larynx. Mr. Gargan said he makes a special effort to cheer others who have lost their larynxes “because I know how low I felt.” At first, Mr. Gargan recalled, he thought: “God, why me? Why my voice, which was my livelihood?” Later, he decided, “Maybe it was for a reason — to help.” Mr. Gargan’s most famous acting role was that of private detective Martin Kane in the 1949–1952 radio-television series, “Martin Kane, Private Eye.”


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