Jack Gilford

Jack Gilford

Infobox actor
name = Jack Gilford

imagesize = 175px
caption = Jack Gilford in 1986
birthdate = birth date|1908|7|25|mf=y
birthplace = New York, New York
deathdate = death date and age|1990|6|4|1908|7|25|mf=y
deathplace = New York, New York
spouse = Madeline Lee Gilford cite news |title=Actress Madeline Lee Gilford dies, Veteran thesp became a Broadway producer|url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117984097.html?categoryId=25&cs=1 |work= Variety Magazine |date=2008-04-15 |accessdate=2008-04-28]
emmyawards = Outstanding Individual Achievement in Children's Programming
1979 "The Big Blue Marble"

Jack Gilford (July 25, 1908 – June 4, [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CEFD9123BF931A15755C0A966958260 Jack Gilford Is Given a Memorial With 28 Acts and Fond Ribbing - New York Times ] ] 1990) was an Academy Award- and Tony Award-nominated, and Daytime Emmy Award-winning 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 was also a bootlegger, and Aaron Gellman, a furrier. [ [http://www.filmreference.com/film/23/Jack-Gilford.html Jack Gilford Biography (1907-1990) ] ] 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.


In 1938, Gilford worked as the Master of Ceremonies in the first downtown New York integrated nightclub, "Cafe Society". He created original spoofs on movies — in one of them, he coined the now-common phrase "The butler did it". He was a unique blend of the earlier style of the Yiddish theater, Vaudeville and Burlesque and started the tradition of Monology such as later comedians Lenny Bruce and Woody Allen used.

One of Gilford's specialties was pantomime, and this talent was put to good use by director George Abbott when he cast Gilford as the silent King Sextimus in "Once upon a Mattress" (Off-Broadway, 1959). Gilford shared the stage with a young Carol Burnett in this production, and reprised his performance with her in two separate televised versions of the show, in 1964 and in 1972. Gilford won many industry awards. He was nominated for several Tony Awards for best supporting actor as Hysterium in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (1963), and for his role as Herr Schultz in "Cabaret" (1966). He was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor in (1973) for his role as Phil Green in "Save the Tiger" (his co-star Jack Lemmon won for Best Actor).

Gilford's career was derailed for a time during the 1950s and the McCarthy Era. He was a activist who campiagned for social change, integration and labor unions. He was quite active both socially and politically in left wing causes, as was his wife, actress Madeline Lee Gilford. Gilford and his wife were implicated for their alleged sympathies by the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy Era. Gilford and Madeline were specifically named by choreographer, Jerome Robbins, in his testimony to the HUAC. Gilford and his wife were called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1953. The couple had difficulty finding work during much of the rest of the 1950s due to the Hollywood blacklist. Jack and Madeline often had to borrow money from friends to make ends meet.

Gilford once again found work towards the end of the 1950s and early 1960s with the end of the McCarthy Era. He made his comeback as Hysterium in the 1962 production of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum". He co-starred in the play with his close friend, Zero Mostel. Ironically, this particular production was also choreographed by Jerome Robbins, who had previously testified against Jack Gilford before the HUAC in 1953.

He managed to become successful mostly through roles on the Broadway stage, such as "Drink To Me Only", "Romanoff and Juliet", and "The Diary of Anne Frank". He later enjoyed success in film and television, as well as a series of nationwide television commercials for Cracker Jacks. The most memorable of these commercials featured Gilford walking through the sleeping car of a train when he discovers two passengers passing a box of Cracker Jack back and forth between their sleeping compartments and decides to surreptitiously intercept.

Some of Gilford's most memorable work was done for series television, where he made numerous guest appearances. Some notable examples:
* "Get Smart" (1969), playing Simon the Likeable
* "Soap" (1979), recurring role as Saul, a 4000-year-old man abducted by aliens
* "Taxi", (1979, 1981), two appearances as "Joe Reiger", the cold, uncaring father of Judd Hirsch's "Alex Reiger" character. In one of these episodes, Gilford reprised his old "pea soup coming to a furious boil" impression.

He also appeared in "The Golden Girls", (1988, 1990), playing "Max Weinstock", "The Defenders", "All in the Family", "The Duck Factory", "Rhoda", "Night Court", "Car 54, Where Are You?".

In 1979, Gilford won a Daytime Emmy award for his guest appearance on the children’s series "Big Blue Marble".

Gilford and his wife, Madeline Lee, created a Jack Gilford Special in 1981 for the Canadian television channel, CBS. At this time after forty years of night club performing, Gilford started to perform his one man shows in the 1980s. This included appearances at the Paramount Theater in Denver, as well as at the Town Hall NYC.

One of his last performances was on the American Broadcasting Company's "thirtysomething" as a enigmatic rabbi.

Personal life

Gilford met actress (and later producer) Madeline Lee at political meetings in 1947. Although both were married to other people at the time, they divorced their spouses during the late 1940s cite news |first=Stephen |last=Miller|title=Madeline Lee Gilford, 84, Actress and Activist |url=http://www2.nysun.com/article/74950 |work= New York Sun |date=2008-04-18 |accessdate=2008-04-28] and were married in 1949, remaining together for 40 years until his death in 1990. He and Lee raised three children: Lisa Gilford (from Madeline's previous marriage), now a producer; Joseph Edward Gilford, a screenwriter, playwright and director; and Sam Max Gilford, an artist and archivist.

Following a three-year battle with stomach cancer, he died in his Greenwich Village home in 1990, aged 81. His wife, Madeline Lee Gilford, died on April 14, 2008.

Broadway stage appearances

* "Meet the People" (1940–1941, musical revue)
* "They Should Have Stood in Bed" (1942, play)
* "Alive and Kicking" (1950, musical revue)
* "The Live Wire" (1950, play)
* "The World of Sholem Aleichem" (1953, play, Off-Broadway)
* "The Diary of Anne Frank" (1955–1957, play)
* "Romanoff and Juliet" (1957–1958, play)
* "Drink to Me Only" (1958, play)
* "Look After Lulu" (1959, play)
* "Once Upon a Mattress" (1959, musical) – Gilford initially played the role of King Sextimus Off-Broadway. When the show moved to Broadway, the role was played by Will Lee instead. Gilford, though, reprised his Sextimus performance for two television productions of the musical.
* "The Tenth Man" (1959–1961, play)
* "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (1962–1964, musical)
* "Cabaret" (1966–1968, musical)
* "Three Men on a Horse" (1969–1970, play, revival)
* "No, No, Nanette" (1971, revival, musical)
* "The Sunshine Boys" (1973–1974, play, replacement for Jack Albertson)
* "Sly Fox" (1976–1978, play)
* "The Supporting Cast" (1981, play)
* "The World of Sholem Aleichem" (1982, play, revival)



External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Jack Gilford — en 1986 Nombre real Jacob Aaron Gellman Nacimiento 25 de julio de 1908 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Jack Gilford — en 1986 Données clés Nom de naissance Jacob Aaron Gellman Surnom …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jack Gilford — 1986 Jack Gilford, (* 25. Juli 1907 in New York, New York; † 2. Juni 1990 ebd.; eigentlich Jacob Gellman) war ein amerikanischer Schauspieler, der insbesondere durch komödiantische Rollen bekannt wurde. Während der McCarthy Ära in den 1950er …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Madeline Lee Gilford — (May 30, 1923 ndash; April 15, 2008) was an American film and stage actress and social activist, who later enjoyed a later career as a theatrical producer. Gilford was the widow of actor Jack Gilford, whom she married in 1949. cite news… …   Wikipedia

  • Madeline Lee Gilford — Nombre real Madeline Lederman Nacimiento (30 de mayo de 1923 …   Wikipedia Español

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  • Once Upon a Mattress — For the Glee episode also known as Mattress or Once Upon A Mattress , see Mattress (Glee). Once Upon A Mattress Original Cast Recording Music Mary Rodgers Lyrics …   Wikipedia

  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Toll trieben es die alten Römer Originaltitel: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum Produktionsland: USA / CH Erscheinungsjahr: 1966 Länge: 92 Minuten Originalsprache …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Toll trieben es die alten Römer (Film) — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Toll trieben es die alten Römer Originaltitel: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum Produktionsland: USA / CH Erscheinungsjahr: 1966 Länge: 92 Minuten Originalsprache …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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