NEW YORK – Michael Vale, the actor best known for portraying sleepy-eyed Fred the Baker in the Dunkin' Donuts 'time to make the doughnuts' commercials, has died at age 83.
Vale died Saturday in New York City of complications from diabetes, son-in law Rick Reil said.
TV ads featuring Fred, who uttered the trademark line "Time to make the doughnuts," ran for 15 years until Vale retired in 1997.
Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin' Donuts said in a statement that Vale's character "became a beloved American icon that permeated our culture and touched millions with his sense of humor and humble nature."
Vale was born in Brooklyn and studied acting at the Dramatic Workshop in New York City with classmates Tony Curtis, Ben Gazzara and Rod Steiger.
A veteran of the Broadway stage, film and television, Vale appeared in more than 1,300 TV commercials. His movie roles included a jewelry salesman in "Marathon Man" (1976). He also appeared in "Guerrilla Girl," a 1953 movie starring Helmut Dantine, and "A Hatful of Rain" (1957), starring Don Murray and Eva Marie Saint.