The story begins at the height of Gleason's career. He has it all: women, wealth, and extraordinary power. But he is haunted by memories of his childhood. Gleason spends his formative years... See full summary »



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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
George 'Bullets' Durgom
Genevieve Halford
Danny Wells ...
Jack L. Warner (as Jack Daniel Wells)
Sammy Birch
Sol Friedman
Vlasta Vrana ...
Jack Philbin - Gleason's manager
Marilyn Taylor
Mae Gleason
Jack Langedijk ...
Herb Gleason
Jake Brockman ...


The story begins at the height of Gleason's career. He has it all: women, wealth, and extraordinary power. But he is haunted by memories of his childhood. Gleason spends his formative years entering amateur contests, performing in sleazy night spots. Along the way, he steals gags from the best comics in town and finds love with Genevieve, a dancer whom he marries. But Gleason isn't the ideal husband or even a responsible father as he abandons his family to answer the call of Hollywood. Brash, arrogant, and egotistical, he alienates his directors and the man who discovers him. When he ends up back in New York, Gleason gets one of those rare second chances in the new medium of television, creating some of its most unforgettable characters. But even as Gleason becomes the talk of the tube, his life - ruled by demons of rage, booze, and insecurity - unravels. Written by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment

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He made more than television. He made history. See more »


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Release Date:

13 October 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gleason: The Jackie Gleason Story  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Paula Jean Hixson who plays Gleason's mother is eight years younger than Brad Garrett in real life. See more »


When Gleason is back home after filming Navy Blues and arguing with his wife about not working in 2 months he pours a drink and in the next shot the glass is empty. See more »


References Navy Blues (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent presentation and performances
27 April 2007 | by (Tulsa OK) – See all my reviews

Brad Garrett was outstanding in portraying Gleason, and the director did an expert job in avoiding distractions which would have occurred if his 6'8"+ height had been shown in its true proportion to other cast members.

Jack Benny was noted as perhaps Hollywood's biggest tipper. Vincent Price and Edward G. Robinson were noted art collectors and connoisseurs, not just among entertainment persons, but the entire nation.

There seems often to be a tendency for famous entertainers to possess different personas in real life, and in instances like the above, even to emphasize them when in contrast to either more negative, or less attractive, characterizations in their roles.

Many comedians have also been reputed or shown to be somewhat different in "real life." Certainly one can understand their not wanting to be funny or "on" all the time in their personal lives, and undoubtedly they tire of people often expecting them to be.

But many are simply different from the humorous presences in their performances. Arthur Godfrey, and even Will Rogers, were far from the warm figures they portrayed on-air, on-screen or other professional venues. Jerry Lewis, Johnny Carson and many others have had a sharper edge in private/offstage.

This storyline believably portrayed Jackie Gleason's dominating, egocentric, hard-edged sides, as well as the insecurities he always carried from a childhood far from affluent or very happy.

One might wish the film had included a bit more regarding his movie work, but that aside, it captured not only the Gleason character, but also the flavor of the periods in the past as his success grew to its mammoth proportion..

Since these films don't possess the budgets of Hollywood big-screen offerings, even where well-presented, they can fall short in authenticity and details, like conveying scenes occurring in past times, foreign locales, and the like. But this flick captures the feel of the era portrayed excellently.

Along with Garrett's, all the supporting characters were well-cast, with superior performances

8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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