American character actor and puppeteer MARK RITTS has lost his battle with kidney cancer. He was 63.
Ritts was best-known for his roles on U.S. TV science show Beakman's World as Lester the Rat and puppet penguin Herb. He died on Monday (07Dec09) at his home in La Canada Flintridge, California.
In character, he appeared on the 1990's show in skits, answered readers' questions and helped series star Beakman with experiments.
Ritts also hosted PBS children's show Storytime, as the voice of a seven-year-old boy puppet named Kino.
In addition to his work in children’s television, he also produced films and live events for corporations.
He is survived by his wife, actress Teresa Parente, sons, Daniel and James, and a daughter, Gabriella.
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The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.