Edit
Harvey Korman Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (12) | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 15 February 1927Chicago, Illinois, USA
Date of Death 29 May 2008UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA  (complications from rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm)
Birth NameHarvey Herschel Korman
Nicknames Mr.Happy Go-Lucky
Harv
Height 6' 3½" (1.92 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Harvey Korman was a lanky, popular TV comedy veteran with a flair for broad comic characterizations, who shone for a decade as leading man and second banana par excellence on The Carol Burnett Show (1967) but failed to find much success in his own projects.

Harvey Herschel Korman was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Ellen (Blecher) and Cyril Raymond Korman, a salesman. His parents, both immigrants, were from Russian Jewish families. A persistent TV presence since the early 1960s, Korman's first big break was a stint as a featured performer on The Danny Kaye Show (1963), a lively musical variety series. Here Korman began working in the format which he would soon master--providing sturdy support to a multi-talented star in a wide variety of comedy sketches. Boasting large, expressive features and a wonderfully mutable voice, Korman could play a wide assortment of characters. Perhaps his first classic characterization was provided for The Flintstones (1960) wherein he was the distinctively snooty voice of The Great Gazoo, a little helmeted space man from the future consigned to the Earth's past in punishment for his crimes. Korman garnered four Emmys for his work with Carol Burnett over the years. Her show never recovered from his departure in 1977 to pursue other projects. Ironically Korman would never again find such a successful showcase for his talents though he certainly tried, appearing in several busted pilots and short-lived sitcoms. Like 'Dan Aykroyd', a later somewhat comparable talent, he fared best in sketch comedy. Almost exclusively a comic actor, he stretched a bit to play straight man Bud Abbott opposite Buddy Hackett's Lou Costello in the disappointing TV biopic Bud and Lou (1978). Korman also directed and/or produced sitcom episodes and TV comedy specials. An occasional actor in films, Korman made his feature debut with a supporting role in The Last of the Secret Agents? (1966). Several film roles followed until he gained his widest exposure with a major supporting role in 'Mel Brooks''s classic Western spoof Blazing Saddles (1974). Korman also fared well in Brooks' High Anxiety (1977) and History of the World: Part I (1981). Korman acted in two 1994 features: the blockbuster live-action version of The Flintstones (1994) (providing the voice of the Dictabird) and the poorly received but lavishly produced Radioland Murders (1994).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: VidMan

Spouse (2)

Deborah Fritz (8 September 1982 - 29 May 2008) (his death) (2 children)
Donna Ehlert (27 August 1960 - 1976) (divorced) (2 children)

Trivia (12)

Children: first marriage, Maria and Christopher; second marriage, Katherine and Laura.
Son of Ellen (née Belcher) and Cyril Raymond Korman. Harvey's father was born in Russia, to Russian Jewish parents, Solomon Noah Korman and Clara Lederman. Harvey's mother was born in France, also to Russian Jewish parents.
Following college he tried his luck on Broadway and in nightclubs (as half of a comedy duo) but failed and had to support himself as a restaurant cashier. He finally moved to Hollywood and found success.
In 1960 he married Donna Elhart and they had two children, Maria and Christopher. They divorced in 1977. Two more children, Katherine (Kate) and Laura were born of his 1982 marriage to Deborah Fritz.
Born in Chicago, he left college for service in the U.S. Navy during WWII and later studied at the Goodman School of Drama at the Chicago Art Institute.
He had an operation in late January 2008 on a non-cancerous brain tumor and pulled through. Less than a day after coming home, he was re-admitted because of a ruptured aneurysm and was given a few hours to live. He survived another four months.
Recreated his popular sketch role as aimless, philandering husband "Ed", the husband of "Eunice", in the Southern-fried series Mama's Family (1983) with Carol Burnett and starring Vicki Lawrence and Ken Berry. He made three guest appearances and helped direct the episodes in the first two seasons.
After ten successful seasons he left The Carol Burnett Show (1967) in 1977 to appear in his own series. Dick Van Dyke took his place on the popular variety show. The Harvey Korman Show (1977) failed to win an audience, as did other series starring or co-starring the comedian, including his regular stint on The Tim Conway Show (1980) in 1980.
He studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
He is interred in Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica, California.
Along with Carol Burnett helped mentor comedian Vicki Lawrence.
The only performer to have worked on all three "Flintstones" iterations: The Flintstones (1960), The Flintstones (1994) and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000).

Personal Quotes (3)

[on the success of The Carol Burnett Show (1967)] We were an ensemble, and [Carol Burnett] had the most incredible attitude. I've never worked with a star of that magnitude who was willing to give so much away.
[in 2005 interview] It takes a certain type of person to be a television star. I didn't have whatever that is. I come across as kind of snobbish and maybe a little too bright . . . Give me something bizarre to play or put me in a dress and I'm fine.
[on Vicki Lawrence] I don't think she knew [how] enormously talented she is.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page