Recalling his remarkable transformation, overweight actor Burden Brinks says his marathon make-up sessions for The Thin Man were “a huge ordeal”.

“Totally worth it though,” the 68-year-old said, referencing his recent Oscar nomination.

“The thin suit mechanics were crazy,” said bulky Brinks, who came to fame as wacky Tony Tank in the ’90s NBC sitcom Ten Ton Tony. “But I don’t regret a second. I’ve played fat people my whole career. I wanted people to see another side of me.”

Slim pickings

As well as the prosthetics, which give the impression of a slight young man almost entirely without fat, producers created sets that offered the illusion that 30-stone Brinks was physically agile, culminating in the now iconic nine-minute dance sequence.

“There was a whole bunch of lighting effects and special camera angles too,” admitted Brinks, whose wheelchair was digitally removed post-production. “But I still lost about 90lbs in the first week, which was a disaster because the entire movie was tailored to my original size.

“In the end, they built a doughnut hopper into my thin suit, so I was constantly replenishing any weight I lost.”

Speaking from his hospital bed, where he is recovering from major coronary surgery, Brinks said he hoped to make the Oscars ceremony but he was also thinking about “walking into the light just like that weird shiny dude recommended when my heart stopped”.