Stephen M. Silverman
December 28, 2005 07:30 AM

TV fixture Michael Vale, the sleepy-eyed, mustachioed actor who rose to fame as the Dunkin’ Donuts baker who chirped “Time to make the doughnuts,” died Saturday in New York City of complications from diabetes, according to son-in law Rick Reil. Vale was 83.

The Brooklyn-born Vale’s run as “Fred the Baker” lasted from 1982 until his retirement in 1997.

In a statement Dunkin’ Donuts said Vale’s Fred “became a beloved American icon that permeated our culture and touched millions with his sense of humor and humble nature.”

It wasn’t all glazing and cr me-filling for Vale, who had studied acting at the Dramatic Workshop in New York City with classmates Tony Curtis, Ben Gazzara and Rod Steiger.

A veteran of the Broadway stage, film and television, Vale appeared in more than 1,300 TV commercials, the Associated Press reports.

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