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Milton Berle Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (4) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (34) | Personal Quotes (14)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 12 July 1908New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 27 March 2002Los Angeles, California, USA  (colon cancer)
Birth NameMilton Berlinger
Nicknames "Uncle Miltie"
"Mr. Television"
The Boy Wonder
The Thief of Bad Gags
Height 5' 10½" (1.79 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Milton Berle was born Milton Berlinger on July 12, 1908 in New York City. He was educated at New York Professional Children's School, and began performing at age 5. His first stage appearance was in "Florodora" in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He appeared at the Palace Theatre in New York in 1931, then in nightclubs and theatres. He appeared in the Broadway musicals "Saluta", "See My Lawyer" and "Ziegfeld Follies of 1943". His television debut was on experimental scanning-wheel television in Chicago in 1929. By 1934, he was on radio, was heard regularly on "The Ruby Vallee Hour", and attracted publicity as a regular on "The Gillette Original Community Sing".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (4)

Lorna Adams (26 November 1991 - 27 March 2002) (his death)
Ruth Berle (9 December 1953 - 20 April 1989) (her death) (1 child)
Joyce Mathews (16 June 1949 - 30 March 1950) (divorced) (1 child)
Joyce Mathews (4 December 1941 - 22 October 1947) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (2)

Theme song: "Near You"
Always holding a cigar

Trivia (34)

Appeared for the first time on television in an experimental TV broadcast in 1929, and sometimes is credited with being the first person to appear on television, possibly because a film of the broadcast has survived. On April 7, 1927, an image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover was transmitted by AT&T in the first successful long distance demonstration of TV. Later that day, AT&T broadcast other material, including vaudeville comedian A. Dolan. WRNY (Coytesville, New Jersey) became the first standard radio station to transmit a television image, the face of Mrs. John Geloso, on August 13, 1928 in a process resembling early Web "broadcasts", with a delay of a few seconds between image and voice, while on August 22, 1928, WGY simultaneously broadcast Alfred E. Smith accepting the Democratic presidential nomination on radio and TV. "The Queen's Messenger" was the first play broadcast by television, on September 11, 1928 by W2XAD, an event that made the front page of the New York Times. Thus, Berle cannot be considered the first "television performer" in history.
Father: Moses Berlinger
Mother: Sarah (died 31. May 1954)
Siblings: Phil (b. 1901), Francis (b. 1904), Jack (b. 1905), Rosalind (b. 1913) (all deceased)
Brother of Phil Berle.
Stepfather-in-Law of Richard Moll.
Was diagnosed with a slow-growing cancerous tumor in his colon. Doctors said he did not need surgery and the cancer would take 10 to 12 years to affect him. This turned out to be incorrect, as Berle died less than a year later. [April 2001]
Suffered a mild stroke at his home in California. [December 1999]
Had a longtime joking rivalry with Bishop Fulton J. Sheen ("Uncle Fultie"), whose television show was on opposite his for many years ("He stayed on longer than I did because, let's face it, he had better writers. Mark, Luke ...").
Credits his survival as a television icon with his 30-year contract with NBC (Groucho Marx once joked about this saying: "30 years with NBC? That's not a contract. That's a sentence!").
Always opened his television show by making an entrance in a different costume each week.
Changed his name to Berle from Berlinger in 1920.
His mother, Sarah Berlinger (later called Sandra Berle), was often shown on camera as she sat in the audience for The Milton Berle Show (1948).
Was well-known as an outrageous joke thief, which frequently rankled some of his fellow performers. One time, he said to Groucho Marx, "You know, Groucho, I've stolen some of my best jokes from you." Without missing a beat, Groucho replied, "Then you weren't listening."
Was a regular on the "Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts".
In 1984, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, and in 1991, became the first entertainer inducted into the International Comedy Hall of Fame.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald S. Smith, pg. 46-48. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Uncle of Warren Berlinger.
In 1962, NBC tried to develop a television series around incidents in his life, but the series never got beyond the planning stage.
He adopted a daughter, Victoria, in 1946.
Adopted son, Bill, with Ruth Berle.
Began his professional career at age five, working in motion pictures at the American Mutoscope and Biograph Co. studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
In May 1949, he hosted the world's first charity telethon, benefiting the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund. The program lasted 24 hours.
He died the same day as Dudley Moore and Billy Wilder.
Berle co-wrote, with Ben Oakland, the title song for the film Li'l Abner (1940).
In 1947, Berle founded the Friars Club of Beverly Hills at the old Savoy Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. Other founding members included Jimmy Durante, George Jessel, Robert Taylor and Bing Crosby. The club, which moved to Beverly Hills in 1961, is a private show business club famous for its celebrity members and roasts, where a member is mocked by their club friends in good fun.
Godfather of musician Billy Sherwood.
He was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame--for Radio at 6771 Hollywood Boulevard and for Television at 6263 Hollywood Boulevard.
Described a brief affair with Aimee Semple McPherson in 1930 in his 1975 autobiography, "Milton Berle: An Autobiography".
Berle was famed in Hollywood for the alleged size of an "unmentionable" portion of his anatomy. An often recounted (and possibly apocryphal) story was that when he was once challenged to a "face-off" with another man to prove who had the larger one, a friend said, "We're in a hurry, Milton, just take out enough to win.".
Appears on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp, issued 11 August 2009, in the Early TV Memories issue honoring "Texaco Star Theater" (titled The Milton Berle Show (1948), 1954-1956).
He became a vegetarian in the early 1940s.
Interviewed in "The Great Comedians Talk About Comedy" by Larry Wilde.
Son, Bob Williams, was born March 1951.

Personal Quotes (14)

An adult western is where the hero still kisses his horse at the end, only now he worries about it.
If evolution works, why do mothers only have two hands.
If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.
Money can't buy you happiness, but it helps you look for it in a lot more places.
A good wife always forgives her husband when she's wrong.
I live to laugh, and I laugh to live.
[on all the chatter at the 1965 Academy Awards about one romantic twosome in the audience] When I took out Woodrow Wilson's daughter they didn't make such a fuss.
Don't tell jokes only the band laughs at.
[to Arnold Schwarzenegger] You being funny with your accent is twice as big a deal as me being funny. They expect me to be funny!
Arnold Schwarzenegger has bigger tits than his wife!
[how to tell a joke] Delivery, not stressing the punchline, timing.
You get a lot of awards when you're a star, and lots of them are irrelevant.
Don't burn, just singe.
You show the emotion so you get the audience going the other way.

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