RIP: Mark Ritts (Lester the Rat from Beakman’s World)

TV News | Dec 15th, 2009

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Mark Ritts has passed away at the age of 63. He was a writer, producer, director, actor and puppeteer; but he was most known for being the dopey tattoo-armed Lester The Rat on the kid’s science TV show Beakman’s World. I used to watch this show all throughout high school and Mark Ritts’ character was always funny to watch. Nothing like seeing this big guy with tattoos in a rat costume, like he had no choice but to be there. His zany antics will be missed!

Writer, producer, director, actor and puppeteer Mark Ritts, known for playing Lester the Rat on childrens’ science show “Beakman’s World,” died of cancer Dec. 7 in Los Angeles-area home. He was 63.

Ritts, who was also an Emmy Award-winning television host, got his start in show business as a youngster, working in TV and film with his parents, Paul and Mary Ritts, creators of The Ritts Puppets.

He developed the character of Lester, the tattoo-armed, irreverent oversized rodent on “Beakman’s World,” an educational show that mixed science with zany antics and starred Paul Zaloom as playful mad scientist Beakman. The show started in syndication on the Learning Channel in 1992 and was picked up by CBS in 1993, running through 1998. “Beakman” won two Emmys, two Cable Aces for “Best Children’s Series” and the Jim Henson/Unima-USA Award for Puppetry.


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