Bob Brown narrates this account of the life and career of Arthur Leonard Rosenberg, from his 1920 birth, in New York City, through his career on stage, screen and television, as famous character actor Tony Randall, in this episode, "Tony Randall: Center Stage."
As Anthony Randall, he begins his acting career at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, in New York City, after leaving Northwestern University, after one year's attendance.
But in 1942, Tony is drafted into the U.S. Service during the WWII years. Upon his discharge, in 1946, Tony considers not returning to the theatre, as many American actors serving overseas no longer are able to find roles upon their return to the States.
Upon his arrival in Hollywood, Tony begins to find work in television productions at 20th Century Fox and Paramount Studios. When he is cast as Harvey Weskitt on the series "Mr. Peepers," Tony Randall begins to receive national audience recognition and acclaim.
His early film career finds Tony in lead roles in small-budget films, but once he is cast as supporting actor in his first Doris Day/Rock Hudson vehicle, Tony launches into movie stardom as a fussy, preppy, intelligent, hard-to-please-type character actor.
But by the mid-1960's, the Light Romantic Comedy genre begins to fall from vogue with mounting world-wide problems stomping the innocence of yesteryear.
So, Tony, once again, makes his mark in a television series, as he, in 1970, is cast in his most famous and enduring role, as Felix Unger on "The Odd Couple."
Tony doesn't seem to care very much about his time spent working in Radio, but on Stage, he performs in theatrical productions of "The Corn is Green," "Antony and Cleopatra," "Inherit the Wind," "Oh Captain!," "M. Butterfly," "The Odd Couple," "The School for Scandal," "The Sunshine Boys," plus revivals and several other plays. In 1991, he founds the National Actors Theatre.
Tony's marriages are with Florence Gibbs (1942-92) and Heather Harlan (1995-2004). Heather and Tony welcome two children, Julia Laurette and Jefferson Salvini (each after Tony turns 77 years of age).
Interview Guests for this episode consist of Tony Randall, Heather Harlan Randall (Wife), Swoosie Kurtz (Actress), Kitty Carlisle Hart (Entertainer/friend), Jack Klugman (Actor), Eli Wallach (Actor), Garry Marshall (Director), Ray Schnitzer (Childhood friend), and Jeffrey Lyons (Television Critic).
Archive footage includes Tony Randall with Wally Cox, Florence Gibbs Randall, Jayne Mansfield, Doris Day, Marilyn Monroe, Yves Montand, Johnny Carson and Conan O'Brien.
Television and Film Clips include a screen glimpse of Tony Randall through the years, in scenes from "Mister Peepers" (1952-53), "Appointment with Adventure" (1955), "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" (1957), "Person to Person" (TV), "Pillow Talk" (1959), "Let's Make Love" (1960), "Send Me No Flowers" (1964), "The Odd Couple" (1970-75), "The Tony Randall Show" (1976-78), "Love, Sidney" (1981-83), as well as "Emmy Awards" programs, "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" appearances, in addition to a potato chip commercial with Jack Klugman.
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