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Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (11)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 18 September 1905Oakland, California, USA
Date of Death 28 February 1977Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart ailment)
Birth NameEdmund L. Anderson
Nickname Rochester

Mini Bio (1)

The son of a minstrel and circus tightrope walker, Eddie Anderson developed a gravel voice early in life which would become his trademark to fame. He joined his older brother Cornelius as members of "The Three Black Aces" during his vaudeville years, singing for pennies in the hotel lobby. He eventually moved his way up to the Roxy and Apollo theaters in New York, which led to the Los Angeles Cotton Club in the west.

He began to appear in films, typically in servile bits, his best being the featured role of "Noah" in The Green Pastures (1936). He continued in that vein until a chance pairing with comedy star Jack Benny on his radio program in 1937 put him on the map. He only had a bit part on Benny's Easter show as a Pullman porter, but his scratchy voice, superb timing and comic reaction to Benny's banter earned him a fixed spot. He then was heard as Benny's personal valet, Rochester Van Jones, and the role became so popular that he became billed as Eddie "Rochester" Anderson.

In between radio assignments, he found the time to appear in both film drama and comedies, including You Can't Take It with You (1938), Kentucky (1938), Jezebel (1938), and three with Benny - Man About Town (1939), Buck Benny Rides Again (1940) and Love Thy Neighbor (1940). After the films Brewster's Millions (1945) and The Show-Off (1946), Anderson concentrated on his partnership with Jack Benny, following him into television and working with him for a total of 23 years. He returned to the screen for It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) but ill health eventually forced him into retirement. He died of long-standing heart problems in 1977.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Trivia (11)

Was associated with Jack Benny from 1937 until 1964.
Interred at Evergreen Cemetery, Los Angeles, California, USA, Section A, Lot #2504.
Son of minstrel performer Big Ed Anderson and circus performer, Ella May Anderson. Appeared with his brother, Cornelius, in a Vaudeville song and dance act.
Overstrained his vocal cords as a 12-year-old newsboy hawking papers in his home town, which explains his inimitable rasp.
His adopted son, Billy, once played professional football with the Chicago Bears, and was a world class hurdler. He held the world Junior College high hurdle record and just missed making the 1948 & 1952 U.S. Olympic teams.
Eddie Anderson was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2001.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith; pg. 20. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6513 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
He was survived by two sons and two daughters.
His wife died in 1954 after a two-year battle with cancer.
Was cast in a co-starring role with Alice Faye and John Payne in the 1974 stage revival of "Good News," but was too frail and was replaced by Stubby Kaye.

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