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Do You Know Me?


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Okay, here's one. Do you know me? I started acting in silent movies as a young child. I later became a stand up comic in vaudeville before hitting it big in radio. I hosted my own variety show as well as a game show. During the same period, I was also a frequent guest star on other shows, and I made an occasional movie. When TV came around, I was a natural for a comedy-variety show. I hosted my own show in the fifties that was immensely popular for a few years. When I started losing ratings points to Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, who was on another network, my show was cancelled. I had been sponsored by Texaco, so I joked that Bishop Sheen and I had the same sponsor, Sky Chief, and he used old material, too. I continued to work in television and movies for many years, sometimes in dramatic roles. I also worked on Broadway and in Las Vegas. I wrote songs for shows, as well. My last appearance was a made for TV movie when I was in my nineties. I believe that I still hold the record for most years in front of the camera, encompassing movies and TV. Mickey Rooney will probably break that record in a few years. Do you know me?

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Yes, Milton Berle, Mr. Television, Mr. Tuesday Night. He appeared in "The Perils Of Pauline" with Pearl White in 1913. His last TV movie was in 2000. That's 87 years in show biz. Mickey Rooney is at about 84 years now. Milton Berle's original name was Berlinger and I believe he is related to actor Warren Berlinger, who really could call him "Uncle Miltie". Finance, the thread is yours!

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I was raised in the Bronx, then moved with my family to Pittsburgh where I worked in the steel mills to pay my way through Carnegie Tech. I made my NY stage debut in 1929 and subsequently played with distinction in many character roles on Broadway, culminating in a key part in one of the '40s' biggest musicals. Concurrently, I pursued a successful career as a character actor in films, specializing in mean heavy roles. I was blacklisted by Hollywood in the '50s because of suspected Communist involvement. I remained active on Broadway, though, as an actor, director, producer, and playwright, and returned to films in the '60s.

 

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Born in 1889, I made my stage debut at age 7 at Carnegie Hall, was singing second lead at age 17 in operetta "Mignon". A professional ballroom dancer at 19, that's when I changed my name to what you know me as. I appeared on Broadway with Al Jolson and Will Rogers among others. I introduced Irving Berlins "Easter Parade" and George and Ira Gershwins "I got a Crush on You". Got my big film break when I was in my mid fifties when I was cast in one of the great films of the 40's and received an Academy Award nomination for that and my next one. I was not your typical leading man but my films were some of the most popular in the post war years. I was devoted to my mother and lived with her till her death at age 91, I was devastated and mourned for over a year. My good friend Noel Coward said "It must be terrible to be orphaned at 71". I made films into my 70's and passed away at age 76 in 1966.

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I was nearly 40, an unemployed victim of the Depression, when I began my show business career with a puppet show sponsored by the WPA. I moved on to radio in the early '40s, to Broadway in 1944, and to movies the following year. I enjoyed great success in the role of a military officer in both the Broadway and film productions of the same title in the '50s, and also played a military officer in a landmark TV series of the late '50s. My droopy jowls and mournful face were my trademarks in my often pompously comic roles.

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I was nearly 40, an unemployed victim of the Depression, when I began my show business career with a puppet show sponsored by the WPA. I moved on to radio in the early '40s, to Broadway in 1944, and to movies the following year. I enjoyed great success in the role of a military officer in both the Broadway and film productions of the same title in the '50s, and also played a military officer in a landmark TV series of the late '50s. My droopy jowls and mournful face were my trademarks in my often pompously comic roles.

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I was nearly 40, an unemployed victim of the Depression, when I began my show business career with a puppet show sponsored by the WPA. I moved on to radio in the early '40s, to Broadway in 1944, and to movies the following year. I enjoyed great success in the role of a military officer in both the Broadway and film productions of the same title in the '50s, and also played a military officer in a landmark TV series of the late '50s. My droopy jowls and mournful face were my trademarks in my often pompously comic roles.

 

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I was born in Los Angeles. I was a quintuple threat, acting on radio, tv, movies, I did a lot of tv directing and tried my hand at producing a couple of tv shows. I was in two well-known tv series in the Fifties and early Sixties. I used my voice to great effect in one of those series.

 

Who am I?

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I'm not Jack...

 

I played a pivotal role in a very good thriller of a movie starring a major actress whom everyone on this site adores.

 

In each of my early tv series, I was fortunate to have co-starred with a fabulous supporting actor/actress of the Golden Age of movies.

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Okay, here's a new one. I was born in Indiana. I never new my father because he died shortly before I was born. He had been a circus clown, and when I was fifteen, that's what I became. I went from the circus to vaudeville and then to radio. From my clown days I had become very adept at pantomime, but that wouldn't work in radio, so I developed a number of comical characters that people loved to laugh at. My first roles in movies were to provide comic relief in the Dr. Kildare series. My movie roles got bigger and soon I was alternating between playing supporting roles and starring in comedies and musicals. My radio show was still very popular, and when TV came along, it was only natural to bring my radio characters to the small screen. I could do my pantomimes and attract big name guest stars. My first attempt did not last long. When ratings declined, the show was canceled. I was lucky, however, that another network picked up the show and I had a very long and successful run with them. One of my writers was a young man named Johnny Carson, who would go on to have a successful TV career of his own. In the fifties and early sixties, my show was one of the top rated comedy variety shows on television. If I named one of my characters, I would be giving away my identity, so I'll just say good night and may god bless. I'll bet you know me now!

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Just call me The Roadrunner...

 

Next: "I am the son of two very famous parents from the world of classical music. Of course they wanted me to follow in their footsteps but acting was my true calling. I have three children and one, a daughter, decided to tramp the boards also. She's been pretty successful at it."

 

"I did make some movies, but tv was my forte. I'm known as a gentleman which I try and be at all times. I know I'm not being modest here, but my quietly authoritative persona and sonorous voice contributed to my success as an actor. I may show a bit of vanity also by saying it didn't hurt to have a luxurious head of hair."

 

"Who am I?"

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