He's an actor and a stand-up comic and has done voiceovers for numerous video games and animations, but it's the punning voice belonging to the Crypt Keeper, who spent seven seasons introducing "Tales from the Crypt" (HBO, 1989-1996), for which John Kassir is best known. Beyond his ghoulish fame, however, Kassir has worked on numerous films and television shows including "The Looney Tunes Show" (Cartoon Network, 2011- ), "Jack the Giant Slayer" (2013), and "Smurfs 2" (2013).
Kassir was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1957 and grew up as a fan of comics and horror films, with the first comic book he ever bought being a copy of "Tales from the Crypt." He supported himself as a street performer when his first professional acting job, an off-Broadway show, ended after just a few weeks, and later joined a group of fellow performers on USO tours and working in comedy clubs. After landing a role in another off-Broadway play in which he played a stand-up comedian, "Three Guys Naked From the Waist Down," Kassir was invited by a talent scout from "Star Search" (Syndication, 1983-1995) to perform on the show.
It proved to be his first big success; Kassir defeated Rosie O'Donnell and Sinbad, fledgling performers at the time, to win the prize of $100,000 despite not actually being a professional comic. Afterward, he had a few small roles including a recurring part on the comedy series "1st & Ten: The Championship" (HBO, 1984-1991). It was as the voice of the Crypt Keeper, however, that Kassir achieved his greatest fame. Kassir continued to do voices for various television shows and video games during his tenure as the Crypt Keeper, as well as providing the voice for the feature films "Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight" (1995), "Casper" (1995) and "Bordello of Blood" (1996). He also voiced the Crypt Keeper on the animated "Tales from the Cryptkeeper" (ABC, CBS, 1993-97), which was aimed at younger audiences, and contributed voice work for films including "Pocahontas" (1995).
In 1998, Kassir married actress Julie Benz, and the two worked together on several projects including "George of the Jungle 2" (2003) before splitting after nine years of marriage. Kassir also voiced characters on animated series such as "Rocket Power" (Nickelodeon, 1994-2004), "CatDog" (Nickelodeon, 1998-2005), and "The Looney Tunes Show." Reprising his role as the Crypt Keeper in "Tales from the Crypt: New Year's Shocking Eve" (FearNet, 2012), he mused that his popularity seems to have grown over the years with young adults who watched him as children continuing to send him fan mail. In the film "Jack the Giant Slayer" (2013), motion capture was used to portray Kassir as one of two heads of General Fallon (Bill Nighy).
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Beat Rosie O'Donnell and Sinbad as a stand-up comedian on "Star Search"
Landed a recurring role on HBO's "1st & Ten"
Cast as the Crypt Keeper on "Tales from the Crypt"