- Category : 1919-births
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Sphinx 4
American radio and television announcer most remembered as the announcer and good-natured sidekick for Groucho Marx's comedy/quiz show vehicle You Bet Your Life, which began in 1947 on radio and moved to television in 1950, where it remained on NBC for 11 years. Fenneman's mellifluous voice, clean-cut good looks, and gentlemanly manner provided the ideal foil for Marx's zany antics and bawdy ad libs.
Fenneman was a resilient target of Marx's frequent mispronunciations of his name ("Feminine") and other light-hearted teasing. "Groucho called [Fenneman] the male Margaret Dumont", according to Frank Ferrante, who portrayed Marx onstage in Groucho: A Life in Revue. "George took it as the highest praise. Groucho called him the perfect straight man." He was also selected because of his intelligence and ability to calculate the scores of the contestants, whom Groucho frequently encouraged to bet odd amounts, making the arithmetic difficult to keep straight on the fly during a live show. Fenneman remained friends with Marx until the latter's death in 1977.
Fenneman was one of a pair of announcers on Dragnet; he shared narration duties with Hal Gibney on radio and the original 1951 Dragnet television series, and then with John Stephenson when Dragnet returned to TV in 1967. It was Fenneman's voice which announced, "The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent," while Stephenson would be heard at the end of the episode describing the court trials and verdicts.
Fenneman also hosted two game shows: Anybody Can Play in 1958, and Your Surprise Package in 1961. He was the commercial spokesman for Lipton Tea during much of the 1960s. In 1963, he hosted an ABC Television program called Your Funny, Funny Films, a precursor to America's Funniest Home Videos. He hosted Talk About Pictures on PBS from 1978 to 1982.
Fenneman married his college sweetheart, Peggy Clifford, in 1943 and had three children. He died from emphysema in Los Angeles, California, on 29 May 1997 at the age of 77.