93 (passed away Mar. 27th, 2002)
Jul. 12th, 1908
New York City, New York, USA
5' 10 1/2"
Milton Berle's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2007 - Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project
1989 - Going Overboard
1985 - Pee-wee's Big Adventure
1984 - Broadway Danny Rose
1979 - The Muppet Movie
1975 - Lepke
1967 - Who's Minding The Mint?
1965 - The Loved One
1963 - It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
1961 - The Ladies Man
1960 - Let's Make Love
1960 - The Bellboy
1941 - Sun Valley Serenade
1920 - The Mark of Zorro
1917 - Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Guest TV Roles
Himself - Guest Host
Brian Carter (segment "Love and the Old Boyfriend")
Himself - in Commercial
Milton was educated at New York Professional Children's School, and began performing at age 5. His first stage appearance was in "Florodora"in Atlantic City. He appeared at the Palace Theatre in New York in 1931, then in night clubs and theatres. He appeared in the Broadway musicals "Saluta", "See My Lawyer", and "Ziegfeld Follies of 1943". His television debut was on experimental scanning-wheel television in Chicago in 1929. By 1934 he was on radio.
- Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald S. Smith, pg. 46-48. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
- In May 1949, he hosted the world's first charity telethon, benefiting the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund. The program lasted 24 hours.
- Appeared for the first time on television in an experimental TV broadcast in 1929, and sometimes is credited with being the first person to appear on television, possibly because a film of the broadcast has survived. On April 7, 1927, an image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover was transmitted by AT&T in the first successful long distance demonstration of TV. Later that day, AT&T broadcast other material, including vaudeville comedian A. Dolan. WRNY (Coytesville, NJ) became the first standard radio station to transmit a television image, the face of Mrs. John Geloso, on Aug. 13, 1928 in a process resembling early Web "broadcasts," with a delay of a few seconds between image and voice, while on Aug. 22, 1928, WGY simultaneously broadcast Al Smith accepting the Democratic presidential nomination on radio and TV. "The Queen's Messenger" was the first play broadcast by television, on Sept. 11, 1928 by W2XAD, an event that made the front page of the NY Times. Thus, Berle cannot be considered the first "television performer" in history.
- Was well-known as an outrageous joke thief, which frequently rankled some of his fellow performers. One time, he said to 'Groucho Marx' (qv), "You know, Groucho, I've stolen some of my best jokes from you." Without missing a beat, Groucho replied, "Then you weren't listening."
- In 1984 he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, and in 1991 became the first entertainer inducted into the International Comedy Hall of Fame.
- Berle was famed in Hollywood for the alleged size of an "unmentionable" portion of his anatomy. An often recounted (and possibly apocryphal) story was that when he was once challenged to a "face-off" with another man to prove who had the larger one, a friend said, "We're in a hurry, Milton, just take out enough to win.".
- Had a long-time joking rivalry with Bishop 'Fulton J. Sheen' (qv) ("Uncle Fultie"), whose TV show was on opposite his for many years ("He stayed on longer than I did because, let's face it, he had better writers. Mark, Luke ...").
- He adopted a daughter, Victoria, in 1946.