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Biography

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Overview (2)

Born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary [now Austria]
Died in New York, USA

Mini Bio (1)

Max Liebman (1902-1981) was a producer, director and composer who worked on Broadway but is best known for having created the TV variety show Your Show of Shows (1950) that made Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca stars and helped launch the careers of Carl Reiner, Howard Morris, Nanette Fabray and the writers Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, and Mel Tolkin.

Liebman had made his Broadway debut in 1936, writing sketches for "The Illustrators' Show", a flop that only lasted five performances. Three years later, his original comedy "Off to Buffalo", co-written with Howard Boretz, also flopped, though it managed seven shows before the curtain came down for good in February 1939. Later that year, he tasted his first success on the Great White Way when the musical "The Straw Hat Revue", for which he wrote the book and staged the production, ran a total of 75 performances, helped by the contributions of Danny Kaye, Jerome Robbins (as a hoofer, not a choreographer) and Imogene Coca.

His next musical revue, "Crazy With the Heat", had two stints on Broadway in 1941, closing after seven performances in January before reopening later in the month to run for another 92 shows. Later that year, Liebman first became associated with an unqualified smash when he wrote additional numbers for the musical comedy "Let's Face It!" that featured songs by Cole Porter and a headliner performance by Danny Kaye. It had a run of 547 performances. The following year, he produced a flop, the drama "Autumn Hill", which closed after a week's engagement of eight shows. He had better success in late 1942 with "Wine, Women and Song", a two act revue that featured elements of burlesque and vaudeville that ran for 150 performances.

In addition to his labors on the Great White Way, Liebman also produced musical revues at Taminant, a Poconos Mountain resort that was part of the famed "Borscht Belt" that produced many of the greatest comedians of the 20th Century. After the war, he directed the sketches in "Make Mine Manhattan", a 1948 musical revue featuring Sid Caesar as the show's top banana, which ran for 429 performances.

Liebman first worked on TV with The Admiral Broadway Revue (1949) in 1949 before helping to make TV history the following year with "Your Show of Shows". (Carl Reiner credits Liebman with recruiting him to "Your Show of Shows" after serving as a script doctor on the failed 1950 Broadway musical revue "Alice and Kicking", which featured Reiner as a performer.) As a producer, Liebman remained active on TV throughout the 1950s and into the '60s. His last gig was as the coordinating producer of Jackie Gleason: American Scene Magazine (1962).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (1)

Sonia Veskova (10 August 1932 - ?)

Trivia (1)

Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 493-495. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.

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