Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame
Actor, writer, producer, and director Don Stolz was best known as the guiding force behind the Old Log Theater, but he was also a radio veteran and played a pioneering role in the growth of television in the Twin Cities. His broadcasting career began in 1938 at WKY Radio in Oklahoma City, where he co-starred in the network program Devil’s Roost. He later appeared on the CBS Radio Network program Let’s Pretend. He bought the Old Log in Excelsior in 1946 and soon became heavily involved in the Twin Cities broadcast scene, acting for WCCO Radio and directing all the television commercials produced by Campbell Mithun. He produced several shows and holiday specials for WCCO TV, including the first full-length play ever televised here, and hosted and produced On the Spot, which featured amateur motion pictures. In 1953 he began the roles for which a generation remembers him: the “paws” and off-screen voices of “Towser the Dog” and “Tallulah the Cat” on the beloved WCCO TV children’s show Axel and His Dog.
In 2008, Don won the Ivy Award for Lifetime Accomplishment in Minnesota Theater and was inducted into the Evergreen Club of Musicians. He has also won the Honorary Lifetime Membership of Actors Equity, named Businessman of the Year by the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce and Excelsior Chamber of Commerce. He also wrote two books and four plays.
Don Stolz passed away February 14, 2015, at the age of 97. He was preceded in death by wife, Joan and daughter, Joannie. Survived by sons, Peter (Pam) Stolz, Dony (Sue) Stolz, Tom (Pat) Stolz, Tim (Mary) Stolz, and Jon Stolz; grandchildren, Peter (Jennifer) Stolz, Andrew (Candice) Stolz, Tim (Kari) Stolz, Joanny (Chad) Almjeld, Theresa (John) Cafaro, Allison Stolz (Eric Gagner), Patrick (Tricia) Stolz, and Alexandra Stolz; 14 great-grandchildren.