Jackie Gleason Biography (1916-1987)

Full name, Herbert John Gleason; born February 26, 1916, in Brooklyn, NY; sonof Herb (an insurance auditor) and Mae (a subway change-booth attendant) Gleason; died June 24, 1987, of cancer, in Fort Lauderdale, FL; married Genevieve Halford, 1936 (divorced 1971); married Beverly McKittrick, July 4, 1971 (divorced 1974); married Marilyn Taylor; children: (first marrage) Geraldine, Linda.

The six decades of Jackie Gleason's performing career included acclaimed appearances in nightclubs, on stage, and in films, but it was on television during the 1950's and 60's that he established himself as "the Great One." In the1954-55 season, his hour-long series The Jackie Gleason Show achieved a 42.4Nielsen rating, meaning that nearly half of the households in the country were tuning in to see the variety of amusing and endearing characters created byits star. Audiences particularly loved the "everyman" character of Ralph Kramden, a bus driver who lived in a tiny Brooklyn apartment with his wife, Alice (played by Audrey Meadows), and had numerous misadventures with his neighbor Ed Norton (Art Carney). The skits involving these characters proved so popular that a separate series, The Honeymooners, was created around them. The spinoff endured in syndication, winning new generations of fans--so much so that in 1984, nearly twenty years after the show originally aired, a conventionof R.A.L.P.H. (the Royal Association for the Longevity and Preservation of the Honeymooners) drew over two thousand attendees and by 1987 the organizationclaimed over 12,000 members.

Birth Details
February 26, 1916
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Death Details
June 24, 1987
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

Famous Works

Further Reference


User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: