Theatre, Film, and Television Biographies
Ned Glass to Jane Greenwood
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
Credits; PRINCIPAL TELEVISION APPEARANCES; EPISODIC
- "No No Nanette," Musical Comedy Time, NBC, 1950.
- "The Laugh Maker," Studio One, CBS, 1953.
- Chester A. Riley, The Life of Riley, NBC, 1949-50.
- emcee, Cavalcade of Stars, DuMont Television Network, 1950-52.
- host and creator of many characters including Reggie Van Gleason III, thePoor Soul, Joe the Bartender, Fenwick Babbit, Charley Bratten the Loudmouth,Ralph Kramden, The Jackie Gleason Show, CBS, 1952-55, 1957-59, 1966-70.
- Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners, CBS, 1955-56.
- emcee, You're in the Picture, CBS, 1961.
- Isadore "Izzy" Einstein, Izzy & Moe, CBS, 1985.
- Also appeared in Mr. Halpern & Mr. Johnson, HBO, 1983.
Credits; PRINCIPAL TELEVISION WORK
- Producer, Stage Show, CBS, 1954-56.
Credits; PRINCIPAL FILM APPEARANCES
- Tubby, Navy Blues, Warner Brothers, 1941.
- Hobart, Larceny, Inc., Warner Brothers, 1942.
- Starchie, All Through the Night, Warner Brothers, 1942.
- Beck, Orchestra Wives, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1942.
- Dan's agent, Springtime in the Rockies, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1942.
- Hank, Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, Columbia, 1942.
- Aladdin, The Desert Hawk, Universal, 1950.
- Minnesota Fats, The Hustler, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1961.
- title role, Gigot, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1962.
- Maish Rennier, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Columbia, 1962.
- Jack "Papa" Griffith, Papa's Delicate Condition, Paramount, 1963.
- Maxwell Slaughter, Soldier in the Rain, Allied Artists, 1963.
- Tony Banks, Skidoo, Paramount, 1968.
- Walter Hollander, Don't Drink the Water, AVCO-Embassy, 1969.
- Oliver Poe, How to Commit Marriage, Cinerama, 1969.
- Stanley Waltz, How Do I Love Thee?, Cinerama, 1970.
- John Cutler, Mr. Billion, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1977.
- Sheriff Buford T. Justice, Smokey and the Bandit, Universal, 1977.
- Sheriff Buford T. Justice, Reginald Van Justice, Gaylord Van Justice, Smokey and the Bandit II, Universal, 1980.
- U.S. Bates, The Toy, Columbia, 1982.
- Sheriff Buford T. Justice, Smokey and the Bandit, Part III, Universal, 1983.
- Gondorff, The Sting II, Universal, 1983.
- Also appeared in Nothing in Common, Tri-Star, 1986.
Credits; PRINCIPAL STAGE APPEARANCES
- Uncle Sid, Take Me Along, Shubert Theatre, New York City, 1959-60.
- Also appeared in Hellzapoppin', 46th Street Theatre, New York City, 1938;Keep Off the Grass, Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, 1940; Artists and Models, Broadway Theatre, New York City, 1943; Follow the Girls, Century Theatre, New York City, 1944; Along Fifth Avenue, 1949; Sly Fox, 1978.
Credits; PRINCIPAL CABARET APPEARANCES
- Stand-up comedian, Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe.
Credits; PRINCIPAL RADIO APPEARANCES
- Old Gold Radio Show, NBC.
- Gigot, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1962.
- The Million Dollar Incident.
- Izzy and Moe, CBS, 1985.
- Also composed and conducted movie and television theme songs, including "Melancholy Serenade," 1953, for The Jackie Gleason Show, and "The Honeymooners," for The Honeymooners.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
- Donna McCrohan, The Honeymooners Companion, Workman, 1978.
- The New York Times, June 25, 1987.
- Variety, July 1, 1987.