From Urbana to Mr. Krabs: What to know about actor Clancy Brown on the 25th anniversary of SpongeBob SquarePants

Nickelodeon released the cartoon show SpongeBob SquarePants on May 1, 1999.

SpongeBob SquarePants followed the underwater adventures of SpongeBob, an optimistic sea sponge, and his underwater friends.

One of SpongeBob’s friends is Mr. Krabs, voiced by Daytonian Clancy Brown.

To mark this 25th anniversary for the show, here is a look at the life and career of Clancy Brown.

Clancy Brown, the actor born in Urbana and known for his work in films and SpongeBob SquarePants, is continuing the impressive work done by his family for decades.

Brown’s family is known in the Springfield and Urbana areas. His grandfather was a longtime congressman, C.J. Brown, whose name is on the dam and reservoir at Buck Creek State Park. His father, Clarence J. “Bud” Brown Jr., was the Ohio 7th District’s U.S. Representative, from 1965-1982.

Clancy, born Clarence J. Brown III and who celebrated his 65th birthday this week, was 7 years old when the family moved to Washington, D.C. after his father was elected to Congress in a special election to succeed his own father, the late Clarence J. Brown Sr.

He never had ambitions of following in the political footsteps of his father and grandfather. Instead, he opted for an acting career.

“It was just something I wanted to do and I decided I’d give it a shot,” he said during a 1988 Springfield News-Sun interview.

In junior high, he discovered the thrill of being on stage.

“The bug bit him when he was in The Mouse That Roared, which was an interesting anti-government play,” his father recalled during a 1994 Dayton Daily news interview.

Clancy earned a track scholarship and studied acting at Northwestern University., He first majored in economics before switching to speech and theatre, earning his bachelor of science degree in 1981.

The next year, 1982, he was tending bar and doing local theater in the Chicago area when he heard that Rick Rosenthal was auditioning actors for roles in his new movie, Bad Boys, starring Sean Penn. Clancy auditioned and landed the role of “Viking,” a nasty inmate.

Some of his best-known film work has been as a villain, playing The Kurgan in Highlander and Capt. Hadley in the Shawshank Redemption.

His animated voicing roles include Lex Luthor in “Superman: The Animated Series” and Mr. Krabs, the owner of the Krusty Krab on SpongeBob SquarePants.

The 6-foot-2 Brown said in a 2009 Springfield News-Sun story about playing Luthor: “I was just hoping that, maybe this time, I could play a good guy.”

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

In addition to his long-standing role as Mr. Krabs, Brown has lent his voice to various episodes of “Adventure Time,” “Phineas and Ferb,” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” “Transformers Prime” and “Green Lantern: The Animated Series.”

In a 2013 interview with the Springfield News-Sun, Brown said he still had to audition for roles despite an extensive resume voicing characters.

“They don’t care how long you’ve been in the business. They want to make sure they have the right person,” he said.

Other credits include “Starship Troopers,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Dexter: New Blood” and “The Madalorian.”

In a 1995 Springfield News Sun interview, he talked about returning to visit his parents, who returned to the area after his father’s political career ended in Washington.

“My parents still have a house in Urbana and I get back there at least a half dozen times,” he said at the time. “I have a sister in Cincinnati and a brother in Columbus as well, so I make it to Ohio a lot.”

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