Jack Gilford Biography (1907-1990)

Born Jacob Gellman, July 25, 1907 (one source says 1913), in New York, NY; died of stomach cancer, June 4, 1990, in New York, NY; son of Aaron (a furrier)and Sophie (Jackness) Gellman; married Madeline Lee Letterman (an actress and producer), April 6, 1949; children: Joseph Edward, Sam, Lisa.

actor, comedian, author
Birth Details
July 25, 1907
New York, New York, United States
Death Details
June 4, 1990
New York, New York, United States

Famous Works

  • Credits; Stage Appearances
  • (Stage debut) Comedian, Amateur Night, Bronx Opera House, New YorkCity, 1934.
  • Comedian, Leavitt and Lockwood Revue, Shamokin, PA, and Nanticoke,PA, 1934.
  • Comedian, Milton Berle Revue, Chicago Theatre, Chicago, IL, 1935,then RKO Palace Theatre, Chicago, 1937, later RKO Theatre, Boston, MA, 1938,then Loew's State Theatre, New York City, 1938.
  • Comedian (with Elsie Janis), Frank Fay Vaudeville, The Music Box Theatre, New York City, 1939.
  • Comedian, Meet the People (also see below), Hollywood Playhouse, Los Angeles, CA, 1940, then Mansfield Theatre, New York City, 1940.
  • Comedian, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (revue), Paramount Theatre, New York City, 1941.
  • Barney Snediker, They Should Have Stood in Bed, Mansfield Theatre,1942.
  • Comedian, Count Me In (revue), Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York City, 1942.
  • Comedian, Alive and Kicking (revue), Winter Garden Theatre, New York City, 1950.
  • Sol Margolies, The Live Wire, Playhouse Theatre, New York City, 1950.
  • Frosch, Die Fledermaus, Metropolitan Opera House, New York City, 1950, 1958-59, 1962-63, and 1966-67.
  • Bontche Schweig, The World of Shalom Aleichem, Barbizon-Plaza Theatre, New York City, 1953.
  • Alexander Gross, The Passion of Gross, Theatre de Lys, New York City, 1955.
  • Comedian, Once Over Lightly, Barbizon-Plaza Theater, 1955.
  • Mr. Dussel, The Diary of Anne Frank, Cort Theatre, New York City,1955.
  • Second Soldier, Romanoff and Juliet, Plymouth Theatre, New York City, 1957.
  • Dr. Ullman, Drink to Me Only, Fifty-fourth Street Theatre, New York City, 1958.
  • Yacob Von Putziboum, Look After Lulu, Henry Miller's Theatre, NewYork City, 1959.
  • King Sextimus, Once upon a Mattress, Phoenix Theatre, New York City, 1959.
  • Mr. Zitorsky, The Tenth Man, Booth Theatre, New York City, 1959.
  • Goddard Quagmeyer, The Beauty Part, Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope, PA, 1961.
  • Comedian, The Desert Song, South Shore Music Circus, Cohasset, MA,and Municipal Opera, St. Louis, MO, 1961.
  • Can-Can, South Shore Music Circus and Municipal Opera, 1961.
  • Cinderella, South Shore Music Circus and Municipal Opera, 1961.
  • Sergeant, The Policeman, Phoenix Theatre, 1961.
  • Hysterium, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Alvin Theatre, New York City, 1962.
  • Herr Schultz, Cabaret, Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, 1966, then Imperial Theatre, 1967.
  • Erwin Trowbridge, Three Men on a Horse, Lyceum Theatre, New York City, 1969.
  • Comedian, The Price, Studio Arena Theatre, Buffalo, NY, 1970.
  • Jimmy Smith, No, No, Nanette, Forty-Sixth Street Theatre, New YorkCity, 1971.
  • Willie Clark, The Sunshine Boys, Broadhurst Theatre, 1972, later Arlington Park Theatre, Arlington Heights, IL, 1977.
  • Richard Sherman, The Seven Year Itch, Royal Poinciana Playhouse, Palm Beach, FL, 1975.
  • Jethro Crouch, Sly Fox, Broadhurst Theatre, 1976.
  • George Abbot ... A Celebration, Sam S. Shubert Theatre, New York City, 1976.
  • Willie Clark, The Sunshine Boys, Arlington Park Theatre, 1977.
  • Arnold, The Supporting Cast, Biltmore Theatre, New York City, 1981.
  • Tevya, The World of Sholom Aleichem, Rialto Theatre, New York City, 1982.
  • Also vaudeville and stage show comedian at theatres throughout the UnitedStates.
  • Credits; Major Tours
  • Comedian, Mildred Harris Chaplin Revue, U.S. cities, 1934.
  • Comedian, Ina Ray Hutton Revue, U.S. cities, 1937-38.
  • Comedian, Meet the People, U.S. and Canadian cities, 1941.
  • Comedian, Paul Whiteman Revue, U.S. cities, 1941.
  • Frosch, Die Fledermaus, U.S. cities, 1951-52.
  • Comedian, Oldsmobile Show, U.S. cities, 1959.
  • Also appeared in a U.S.O. tour of U.S. Army camps and hospitals in the Mid-Pacific theatre of operations, 1943-45; and in summer tours of the plays Anything Goes, 1973, and The Sunshine Boys, 1974.
  • Credits; Film Appearances
  • (Film debut) Hey Rookie, Columbia, 1944.
  • Joey Bagle, Reckless Age, Universal, 1944.
  • Main Street to Broadway, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), 1953.
  • Papa Andersen, The Daydreamer, Embassy, 1966.
  • Hysterium, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, UnitedArtists (UA), 1966.
  • Mr. Schwartz, Mister Buddwing (also known as Woman without a Face), MGM, 1966.
  • Mr. Foreman, Enter Laughing, Columbia, 1967.
  • Sam Beckerman, The Incident, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1967.
  • Avery Dugan, Who's Minding the Mint?, Columbia, 1967.
  • Doc Daneeka, Catch-22, Filmways, 1970.
  • Wilbur Peabody, They Might Be Giants, Universal, 1971.
  • Phil Greene, Save the Tiger, Paramount, 1973.
  • Mischa, Harry and Walter Go to New York, Columbia, 1976.
  • Stanley Bracken, Cheaper to Keep Her, American Cinema, 1980.
  • Tailor, Wholly Moses, Columbia, 1980.
  • Gog, Caveman, UA, 1981.
  • Bernie Lefkowitz, Cocoon, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1985.
  • Bernie Lefkowitz, Cocoon: The Return, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1988.
  • Mr. Butterworth, Arthur 2 on the Rocks, Warner Brothers, 1988.
  • Also appeared in The Island on Bird Street.
  • Credits; Television Appearances; Movies
  • Finklestein, Seventh Avenue, NBC, 1977.
  • Wally, Goldie and the Boxer Go to Hollywood, NBC, 1981.
  • Bernie Nelson, Happy, CBS, 1983.
  • Mr. Singer, Hostage Flight, NBC, 1985.
  • The Angel, Young Again, ABC, 1986.
  • Also appeared as Dr. Jelliff, Anna to the Infinite Power, cable, 1984; Day to Day Affairs, 1985; and as Morrie, Auntie Sue, 1989.
  • Credits; Television Appearances; Series
  • (Television debut) Mr. Arrow, The Arrow Show (also known as ThePhil Silvers Arrow Show and Arrow Comedy Theatre), NBC, 1948-49.
  • Regular, The David Frost Revue, syndicated, 1971-72.
  • Ben Dreyfuss, Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers, CBS, 1974-75.
  • Grandpa Hollyhock, Apple Pie, ABC, 1978.
  • Brooks Carmichael, The Duck Factory, NBC, 1984.
  • Credits; Television Appearances; Episodic
  • The Garry Moore Show, CBS, 1950.
  • The Milton Berle Show, NBC, 1951.
  • Jack Carson Show, NBC, 1951.
  • Frank Sinatra Show, CBS, 1951.
  • Cowboy and the Tiger, ABC, 1963.
  • The Defenders, CBS, 1964.
  • Car 54, Where Are You?, NBC, 1964.
  • Uncle Arnold, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, NBC, 1968.
  • The Lucy Show, CBS, 1968.
  • Get Smart, CBS, 1969.
  • The Governor and J. J., CBS, 1969.
  • The Carol Burnett Show, CBS, 1972.
  • Hotel 90, CBS, 1973.
  • All in the Family, CBS, 1975.
  • Taxi, ABC, 1978, 1979, 1981.
  • Sol, Soap, ABC, 1981.
  • Winslow, George Burns Comedy Week, NBC, 1985.
  • Mr. Quigley, The Ellen Burstyn Show, ABC, 1986.
  • Abe Feinbaum, Joe Bash, ABC, 1986.
  • Max Estron, Hooperman, ABC, 1987.
  • Max Weinstock, "Sophia's Wedding," The Golden Girls, NBC, 1988.
  • Shlomo Epstein, Tattingers, NBC, 1988.
  • Old Gentleman, "Mike Van Dyke Show," thirtysomething, ABC, 1988.
  • Wesley Winthrop, Head of the Class, ABC, 1989.
  • Also appeared as a nosy cab driver, The Edge of Night, NBC. Appeared in "Hello in There," Big Blue Marble, syndicated; The Dean Martin Show, NBC; Rhoda, CBS; The Loveboat, ABC; Trapper John, M.D., CBS; and Dinah's Place.
  • Credits; Television Appearances; Specials
  • "The World of Shalom Aleichem," Play of the Week, WNTA, 1960.
  • The Allan Sherman Special, NBC, 1965.
  • Dr. Einstein, Arsenic and Old Lace, ABC, 1969.
  • Super Comedy Bowl I, CBS, 1971.
  • King Sextimus, Once upon a Mattress, CBS, 1972.
  • Alexander Throttlebottom, Of Thee I Sing, CBS, 1972.
  • Ned, Twigs, CBS, 1975.
  • Parade of Stars, ABC, 1983.
  • The Very Special Jack Gilford Special, CBS Cable, 1983.
  • Also appeared as intermission guest, Die Fledermaus, 1986; and inThe Fortieth Annual Tony Awards, 1986, and The Cowboy and the Tiger, PBS.
  • Credits; Television Appearances; Pilots
  • Larry King, Don't Call Us, CBS, 1976.
  • Dr. McCaffery, Hickey vs. Anybody, NBC, 1976.
  • Grandpa Hollyhock, Apple Pie, ABC, 1978.
  • The Almighty's Representative, Heaven on Earth, NBC, 1981.
  • Credits; Radio Appearances
  • Philip Morris Show (series), NBC, 1947.
  • Credits; Writings
  • (Contributor with wife, Madeline Gilford, and Zero and Kate Mostel) One Hundred and Seventy Years of Show Business, Random House, 1978.

Further Reference


  • New York Times, June 5, 1990.

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