April 04, 2017

Ralph Archbold, Philly's famous Benjamin Franklin impersonator, dies at 75

See his life as Franklin through the years

Actor Ralph Archbold, who impersonated American founding father and Philadelphia icon Benjamin Franklin, has died at the age of 75.

Archbold died on March 25 in Media. He died of congestive heart failure, 6ABC reports.

Both Archbold and Franklin were born on January 17th - Archbold in 1942 and Franklin in 1706.

Since 1973, Philly residents and visitors were routinely greeted by Archbold, dressed as Franklin in colonial garb, a tri-corner hat and bifocals. He was designated the official impersonator in 1976.

Archbold was a constant presence in Center City. Here are some photos of his time portraying Franklin:

• In 2008, Archbold married Linda Wilde, a Betsy Ross impersonator, during a ceremory officiated by Mayor Michael Nutter in front of Independence Hall.


• Throughout his tenure as an impersonator, Archbold was frequently featured on television programs.


• In 2006, Archbold attended a White House ceremony to honor the 300th birthday of Benjamin Franklin.


• Archbold was also frequently seen at sporting events throughout the city.