81 (passed away Jun. 2nd, 1990)
Jul. 25th, 1908
Jack Gilford's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Jack Gilford (July 25, 1908 – June 4, 1990) was an American actor on Broadway, films and television.
Early life Gilford was born Jacob Aaron Gellman on the lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City, and grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. His parents were Romanian-born Jewish immigrants Sophie "Susksa" (née Jackness), who owned a restaurant, and Aaron Gellman, a furrier. Gilford was the second of three sons, with an older brother Murray ("Moisha") and a younger brother Nathaniel ("Natie").
Gilford was discovered working in a pharmacy by his mentor Milton Berle. While working in amateur theater, he competed with other talented youngsters, including a young Jackie Gleason. He started doing imitations and impersonations. His first appearance on film was a short entitled Midnight Melodies where he did his imitations of George Jessel, Rudy Vallee and Harry Langdon. He developed some unique impressions that became his trademarks — most notably, one of "split pea soup coming to a furious boil" using only his face. Other unusual impressions he created were a fluorescent light going on in a dark room, John D. Rockefeller Sr. imitating Jimmy Durante, and impressions of animals.
- Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 179-180. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
- Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 325-327. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
- He was nominated for the Tony Award for his work in musicals: as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Musical) for "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum".
- Nominated for the 1967 Tony Award (New York City) for Actor in a Musical for "Cabaret".
- He and his wife were blacklisted during the Hollywood Blacklist of the 1950s.
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