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COLUMN: Do you remember Bill Fagerbakke? He's a star

COLUMN: Do you remember Bill Fagerbakke? He's a star

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By the standards of Hollywood, a 10-year run on a hit television series is more than most actors can expect …

But 12 years after Bill Fagerbakke's face largely disappeared from network TV, his voice has never been more in demand …

The 51-year-old alumnus of ABC's "Coach" and Rupert's Minico High School is now the voice of Patrick Star, an animated star in every sense of the word on Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob Square-Pants" … Patrick, best friend of the sea sponge who is the show's title character, is a drum-playing, overweight echinoderm who lives beneath a rock … Dumber than a rusty anchor, Patrick exhorts Bob (voiced by Tom Kenney) to foolish behavior that frequently brings grief to both …

How dumb is Patrick? He often mistakes Bob's parents for his own …

Two years ago, Time magazine named "SpongeBob" one of the greatest 100 TV shows ever made …

"Animator and marine-biology teacher Stephen Hillenburg translated the objects of his study into the Dadaist world of Bikini Bottom, where the title character flips Krabbie Patties, creates disasters and gets by on good-natured innocence," the magazine said … "SpongeBob may not have a spine, or much of a brain, but he's all heart."

The franchise is also a marketing titan … Merchandise based on the show ranges from Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Go-Gurt, Kellogg's cereal, and video games to boxer shorts, flip-flops, pajamas, T-shirts, slippers and radios &ellipsis;

The 10-year-old series has also spawned merchandise lines at Borders Books, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, RadioShack, Target, Big Lots, Wal-Mart, ShopKo, Kmart, Sears, JCPenney, Kohl's, Lowe's, T.J. Maxx and Toys "R" Us stores, and kids' meal tie-ins at McDonald, Wendy's and Burger King.

And the 2004 "SpongeBob Square-Pants" movie, co-starring the voice of Bill Fager-bakke, earned $85 million at the box office …

Not that he needs the money, but the 1981 University of Idaho graduate still does occasional TV and theater …

You wouldn't know it from Patrick or Dauber Dybinski, Fagerbakke's inert character on "Coach," but the actor has been acclaimed by the Juilliard School of Performing Arts for his roles as Shylock in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" and as Torvald in Ibsen's "A Doll's House" …

You sure we're talking about the same Dauber? …

Steve Crump is the Times-News Opinion editor.


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