Magician, actor Fred Ball dies; known for role as 'Professor Fun'

(Image: KGMB Archives)
(Image: KGMB Archives)
(Image: Hawaii News Now/file)
(Image: Hawaii News Now/file)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Known for his goofy tactics, signature graduation cap and energetic spirit, the man behind "Professor Fun," Fred Ball, has died.

In the 1970s and 80s, Ball played Professor Fun on the hit KGMB children's show "Checkers and Pogo," and later on "Keiki Tv Pow."

A beloved actor and magician, Ball lives on in television history for many.

Fellow magician Kelvin Chun recalled the enthusiasm Ball had for his craft at bi-monthly magicians meetings.

"His passion for magic was evident when he provided so much information that we had to give time limits to individuals otherwise the meetings would never end," Chun said.

During his time on the air, Ball's shows were never scripted and always naturally unpredictable.

"Too friendly. He's too friendly... yeah, I'm gonna miss him. Gonna miss him. I always look forward to seeing him (and) seeing him at my parties," Ball's friend Lito Capino said.

Kids also enjoyed playing the spaceship game where saying the words "pow pow pow!" would score the contestants tokens and prizes from the Fun Factory.

He played the role for at least three years. It was Hawaii's first interactive television game show.

Last week, Ball was admitted to Kuakini Medical Center after suffering a stroke. He died early Saturday morning.

He is survived by one sister who lives in Illinois.

"We are heart broken and very sad. A week prior to the stroke, we were at the beach with him, he was so alive," friend and fellow church member Jo Ann Israel said.

Ball died just a few days before his 79th birthday. Public memorial services are pending.

This story will be updated.

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