I just heard the news that Philadelphia lost a familiar icon last week with the passing of the larger-than-life Ben Franklin actor, Ralph Archbold.
For the past 44 years, Ralph was, in my opinion, the BEST Ben Franklin actor and was a familiar fixture in Old City, Philadelphia.
As somebody who grew up in the Philly area, I remember seeing Ralph talking to visitors around Independence Hall, as a keynote speaker at a business event and on television throughout the year.
For several years, he was the exact image of Ben Franklin and even shared Ben’s January birthday.
In 2008, Ralph made national news when he married Linda Wilde, who was a Betsy Ross actress, in front of history Independence Hall (Google this for some great pictures). Imagine Ben Franklin married to Betsy Ross… it could only happen in Philly.
Interestingly, Ralph was an avid student of marketing and a long-time follower of Dan Kennedy (the picture above was taken in 2009 when Dan spoke at my GKIC Chapter).
I got to know Ralph back in 2006 when I launched the Philadelphia Chapter of the Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle. As a fan of Dan, Ralph immediately contacted me and became a member of our local marketing group.
In January 2007, Ralph was my guest speaker at that month’s meeting, and as you might suspect, he arrived as Ben Franklin (much to the delight of my members).
I recorded his 45-minute presentation, which was a great one on the power of using your personality in your marketing.
A few years after I first met Ralph, he had a stroke and his health declined. I remember calling him to check-in and he promised me he would be back as Ben Franklin, which he ultimately did (albeit at least 100 lbs. lighter and more frail looking).
On March 25, 2017 Ralph passed away and the world lost Ben Franklin… again. He will be missed.