Photo Alan Young, a comedian and veteran supporting actor who found wide fame as an unlikely sort of second fiddle – the hapless straight man to a talking horse in the 1960s sitcom “Mister Ed” – died on Thursday in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 96.His publicist, Jaime Larkin, said he died at the Motion Picture & Television Home, w he had been living for four years.

Mr. Young had been a popular radio and television personality and had appeared in several films, including “Tom Thumb” and “The Time Machine”, when, in his early 40s, he landed the role of Wilbur Post, the bumbling, well-meaning architect who owned a loquacious, fun-loving horse named Mr. Ed.”Mister Ed” became a hit, running from 1961 to 1966 on CBS. The episodes usually revolved around Wilbur’s clumsy attempts to undo Ed’s mischief, situations made more difficult by the fact that Ed would speak only to Wilbur.

Mr. Young had a mischievous streak himself: Many years after the fact, he said he had started the rumor that the crew got Ed to “Talk” by coating his mouth with peanut butter.

Mr. Young’s radio career took off in 1944 with “The Alan Young Show”; originally a summer replacement for Eddie Cantor, it proved so popular that it remained on the air for five years.

In 1950 he brought “The Alan Young Show” to TV. It remained on the air until 1953.

Throughout the ’50s he appeared in numerous TV roles and on the variety shows of Steve Allen, Ed Sullivan, Dinah Shore and others.

Alan Young