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John Randolph Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (8) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 1 June 1915New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 24 February 2004Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameEmanuel Hirsch Cohen
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Veteran performer John Randolph was a Tony Award-winning character actor whose union and social activism in the '40s and '50s caused him to be blacklisted during the McCarthy era. The balding performer may not have been a household name, but he was a regular face in movies and TV for over four decades.

Randolph was born Emanuel Cohen in New York City, New York, to Jewish immigrants from Romania and Russia, Dorothy (Shorr), an insurance agent, and Louis Cohen, a hat manufacturer. When his father died and his mother remarried, his stepfather, Joseph Lippman, renamed him Mortimer. He began his dramatic training in the '30s, studying under Stella Adler and changing his name to the less ethnic moniker of "John Randolph". He served in the Army Air Force during WWII and married actress Sarah Cunningham in Chicago in 1945 while performing in Orson Welles's stage production of "Native Son". They had two children, Martha and Harrison. After the war, Randolph become one of the original members of the Actors Studio. After making his film debut with The Naked City (1948), his passionate, outspoken leftist views and defense of other accused figures led to Randolph and his wife being blacklisted. In 1955, they were both called before the House Un-American Activities Committee and pleaded the Fifth Amendment. Although Randolph lost many jobs during this 15-year blacklist, he continued to find work onstage, mainly in New York. Finally, director John Frankenheimer broke the Hollywood blacklist after casting Randolph, along with fellow "marked" actors Will Geer and Jeff Corey, in Seconds (1966), in which he played a disillusioned older man surgically made to look decades younger (now played by Rock Hudson). Randolph continued to flourish in films and TV following this breakthrough with important roles in Serpico (1973), Frances (1982), Prizzi's Honor (1985) and You've Got Mail (1998), along with the TV movies The Missiles of October (1974) and "Lincoln" (1975) (mini). He also played the recurring role of Roseanne Barr's father on her popular sitcom. In 1987, he was the recipient of both Tony and Drama Desk awards for his close-to-home portrayal of a Communist, left-wing grandfather in Neil Simon's "Broadway Bound". Randolph continued his activism into the 1980s, heading the Council of American-Soviet Friendship, a cultural exchange organization. He died of natural causes at age 88.

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

Spouse (1)

Sarah Cunningham (3 January 1942 - 24 March 1986) (her death) (2 children)

Trivia (8)

He was a blacklisted actor during the McCarthy era.
Awarded a 1987 Tony for featured actor in the play "Broadway Bound."
Wife, Sarah Cunningham, died of an asthma attack at the 1986 Oscar telecast ceremony.
Changed his name to John Randolph from Emanuel Cohen in 1940.
Spent two years of training in the Federal Theater Project in the 1930s.
Won Broadway's 1987 Tony Award as Best Actor (Featured Role - Play) for "Broadway Bound."
Originally played Frank Costanza in the Seinfeld (1989) episode "The Handicap Spot." After he was replaced by Jerry Stiller, his scenes in the episode were re-filmed with Stiller as well.
Appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: All the President's Men (1976), Heaven Can Wait (1978) and Prizzi's Honor (1985).

Personal Quotes (1)

How could you not become radicalized during the Depression? You'd have to be an idiot not to be radical with 17 million unemployed. Also, I went to a wonderful college...and the ferment there was extraordinary. It opened up a communist point of view, Socialism, Marxism, Henry George, all that. There's nothing wrong with absorbing new ideas and testing them."

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