Edgar John Bergen (February 16, 1903--September 30, 1978) was an American actor and radio performer, best known as a ventriloquist. Bergen was born Edgar John Bergren in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Swedish immigrants Nilla Svensdotter (nee Osberg) and Johan Henriksson Bergren. He grew up in Decatur, Michigan. He taught himself ventriloquism from a pamphlet when he was 11. A few years later, he commissioned Chicago woodcarver Theodore Mack to sculpt a likeness of a rascally Irish newspaperboy he knew. The head went on a dummy named Charlie McCarthy, who became Bergen's lifelong sidekick. At age 16, he went to Chicago, where he attended Lake View High School and worked at a silent movie house.
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