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Biography

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Overview (2)

Date of Birth 5 August 1920Montréal, Québec, Canada
Date of Death 13 May 1985Los Angeles, California, USA  (lung cancer)

Mini Bio (1)

Most familiar to TV audiences as the diminutive but feisty court bailiff on Night Court (1984), Selma Diamond's entrance into acting wasn't through the usual venue of vaudeville, stage work or modeling - she was a writer for TV shows, once having been nominated for an Emmy for Caesar's Hour (1954). Although she had that tough New York accent and street demeanor, she was actually born in Canada, but raised in Brooklyn. A graduate of New York University, she at first made a living by selling cartoons and fiction to the "New Yorker" magazine. NBC hired her as a writer for one of its radio shows, "The Big Show," and she later made the transition into writing for television. Her film debut was as the voice on the telephone of Spencer Tracy's wife in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), where the world got a sample of the distinctive Diamond voice: nasal, high-pitched and one that could never be mistaken for anyone else's. She did a lot of TV work and was a regular on another series, Too Close for Comfort (1980) before Night Court (1984). She died of lung cancer in 1985.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Trade Mark (1)

High-pitched, deadpan delivery

Trivia (7)

Nominated for an Emmy in 1985 as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Night Court (1984)
Nominated for an Emmy in 1956 as a writer on Caesar's Hour (1954)
Early careers included freelance writer, selling to the New Yorker.
Selma had a deadpan demeanor and distinctively nasal crackle in her voice that was made for comedy. She was just becoming a household name thanks to her role as the impassive, chain-smoking bailiff on the sitcom Night Court (1984) when she died of lung cancer after two seasons. In a sad ironic twist, her replacement, actress Florence Halop, would die of lung cancer the following year, after only one season.
On Night Court (1984), the episode titled "Hello, Goodbye" (the first episode made after her death) was dedicated in her memory. At the end of the episode, a still photo of her is shown with a sound bite of Bull asking "So what didja think?" and Selma responding with, "I laughed I cried, it became a part of me".
Composited with Lucille Kallen, was the inspiration for the character Sally Rogers, played by Rose Marie, on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961).
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives." Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 230-231. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.

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