Edward G. Robinson Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trade Mark (5)  | Trivia (38)  | Personal Quotes (20)  | Salary (6)

Overview (5)

Born in Bucharest, Romania
Died in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (cancer)
Birth NameEmmanuel Goldenberg
Nicknames Eddie
Height 5' 4½" (1.64 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Emanuel Goldenberg arrived in the United States from Romania at age ten, and his family moved into New York's Lower East Side. He took up acting while attending City College, abandoning plans to become a rabbi or lawyer. The American Academy of Dramatic Arts awarded him a scholarship, and he began work in stock, with his new name, Edward G. Robinson (the "G" stood for his birth surname), in 1913. Broadway was two years later; he worked steadily there for 15 years. His work included "The Kibitzer", a comedy he co-wrote with Jo Swerling. His film debut was a small supporting part in the silent The Bright Shawl (1923), but it was with the coming of sound that he hit his stride. His stellar performance as snarling, murderous thug Rico Bandello in Little Caesar (1931)--all the more impressive since in real life Robinson was a sophisticated, cultured man with a passion for fine art--set the standard for movie gangsters, both for himself in many later films and for the industry. He portrayed the title character in several biographical works, such as Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940) and A Dispatch from Reuters (1940). Psychological dramas included Flesh and Fantasy (1943), Double Indemnity (1944), The Woman in the Window (1944)and Scarlet Street (1945). Another notable gangster role was in Key Largo (1948). He was "absolved" of allegations of Communist affiliation after testifying as a friendly witness for the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy hysteria of the early 1950s. In 1956 he had to sell off his extensive art collection in a divorce settlement and also had to deal with a psychologically troubled son. In 1956 he returned to Broadway in "Middle of the Night". In 1973 he was awarded a special, posthumous Oscar for lifetime achievement.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Family (3)

Spouse Jane Robinson (16 January 1958 - 26 January 1973)  (his death)
Gladys Lloyd (21 January 1927 - 20 July 1956)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Children Edward G. Robinson Jr.
Parents Guttman Goldenberg, Sarah
Goldenberg, Morris

Trade Mark (5)

Prideful, nasty and violent characters involved in the underworld
Unconventional, almost catfish-like mug
His short, squat frame
The line "Yeah, See" but pronouncing See as Say for "Yeah, Say" which has become an iconic imitation.
Speaking with his hands, particularly pointing thumbs at himself and waving thumbs up in the air.

Trivia (38)

Became a father at age 39 when his first [later ex] wife Gladys Lloyd gave birth to their son Edward G. Robinson Jr. on 3/19/33.
Born at 5:00 a.m. LMT.
Interred at Beth El Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY,, in the Goodman Mausoleum.
Never nominated for an Academy Award. He was awarded an Honorary Oscar two months after his death. His wife, who accepted for him, commented on how thrilled he was to learn he would be given the award.
Was originally slated to play Dr. Zaius in Planet of the Apes (1968) but dropped out due to heart problems.
Pictured on a 33¢ US commemorative postage stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series, issued 10/24/2000.
Died two weeks after he had finished filming Soylent Green (1973).
The inspiration for the voice of Chief Clancy Wiggum (Hank Azaria) on The Simpsons (1989).
Although best known for playing fierce, angry and often murderous little men, he was actually well-liked and respected by almost everyone off-screen, having been a sensitive, quiet, artistic type when not performing.
Was named #24 greatest actor on The 50 Greatest Screen Legends by the American Film Institute
According to the 3/31/41 issue of "Time" magazine, he and Melvyn Douglas bid $3,200 for the fedora hat that Franklin D. Roosevelt had worn during his three successful campaigns for the presidency. They acquired the hat at a special Hollywood auction to benefit the Motion Picture Relief Fund. Both Robinson and Douglas were identified as "loyal Democrats". Robinson would later be "grey-listed" during the McCarthy Red Scare hysteria of the 1950s and be forced to make his living on stage.
Member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1953.
Lived in a Yiddish community in Romania until he was 9.
Donated $100,000 to the United Service Organization (USO) during WW2. Like many celebrities, he also pitched in at the Hollywood Canteen and, being multilingual (he reportedly spoke seven languages fluently, among them Yiddish, Romanian and German), worked on broadcasts to countries occupied by the Nazis.
Spoke seven other languages besides English, including Yiddish, Romanian and German.
When he died in 1973, he left an estate valued at $2.5 million, which largely consisted of rare works of art.
In 1949 he was investigated by the California Senate's Fact Finding Committee on Un-American Activities (colloquially known as the "Tenney Committee" after Committee Chairman Jack Tenney). Tenney claimed that Robinson, an unabashed progressive Democrat, was "frequently involved in Communist fronts and causes".
His fellow student and close friend at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts was Joseph Schildkraut, who remembered, "I looked at the girls, but Manny stuck to his work".
Suffered a heart attack while filming A Boy Ten Feet Tall (1963) in Africa.
Other alumni of his P.S. 21 in Manhattan were George Gershwin, Paul Muni and US Sen. Jacob Javits.
Although it has been said that he chose his stage name after an actor he had seen and admired, later he said he was just trying to keep his birth initials. He was unsure as to why he had settled on Robinson but would have chosen a shorter name if allowed to do it again, as it takes a long time to write "Robinson" in an autograph.
Was considered for the role of Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972) before Marlon Brando was cast.
He was originally offered the role of Little Bonaparte in Some Like It Hot (1959), but had vowed never again to work with George Raft, with whom he had a fistfight on the set of Manpower (1941) when, for a scene, Raft spun him around too hard (despite the avowal, he did co-star with Raft in A Bullet for Joey (1955)). However, the role of Johnny Paradise, the kid pay8in tribute to Raft's "cheap trick" of coin-flipping, is also the man with the Tommy gun in the birthday cake who mows down Spats and his gang. The actor is Edward G. Robinson Jr..
Became a grandfather at age 59 when his son Edward G. Robinson Jr. and his first [later ex] wife Frances Chisholm welcomed a daughter, Francesca Gladys Robinson, on 3/27/53.
His great-grandson Adam Edward Sanchez, via granddaughter Francesca and her husband Ricardo, was born ten years after his death on 2/5/83.
Starred in three Best Picture Academy Award nominees: Five Star Final (1931), Double Indemnity (1944), and The Ten Commandments (1956).
He hated guns. During production of Little Caesar (1931), his eyelids had to be taped open so he wouldn't flinch when he fired his weapon.
Was a great art lover, especially paintings. Robert Wagner, who knew him very well, revealed that Robinson bought a [Paul Cézanne painting that did not fit with his living room. So he first changed the mantel of the living room, then the wallpaper of the living room, then the furniture around the painting, but he still didn't like it. So he finally chose another apartment for the painting.
Received a special award from the Maryland State Council of the American Jewish Congress for his performance as Dathan in The Ten Commandments (1956).
According to an interview with Soylent Green (1973) co-star Dick Van Patten, he worked with Edward G. Robinson for the first time while shooting the euthanasia scene and was somewhat embarrassed that he was so nervous they had to do several takes before he got used to not calling him "Mr. Robinson". The next day, before, shooting started, Charlton Heston called all the cast together to announce that "Eddie" had passed away during the night. One of the finest scenes ever worked by this classic icon fittingly became his swan song.
Has appeared in three films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Little Caesar (1931), Double Indemnity (1944) and The Ten Commandments (1956).
In May 2020 he was honored as Turner Classic Movies Star of the Month.
Alumnus of the AADA (American Academy of Dramatic Arts), Class of 1913.
On 4/30/52 he "named names" of Communist sympathizers in the industry and publicly repudiated some of the left-wing organizations he had belonged to in the 1930s and 1940s.
Co-starred with Nina Foch in Illegal (1955) and The Ten Commandments (1956).
Co-starred with Joan Bennett in The Woman in the Window (1944) and Scarlet Street (1945).
Caricatured in Hollywood Steps Out (1941).

Personal Quotes (20)

If I were just a bit taller and I was a little more handsome or something like that, I could have played all the roles that I have played, and played many more. There is such a thing as a handicap, but you've got to be that much better as an actor. It kept me from certain roles that I might have had, but then, it kept others from playing my roles, so I don't know that it's not altogether balanced.
[on Double Indemnity (1944)] It was, in fact, the third lead. I debated accepting it. Emanuel Goldberg told me that at my age it was time to begin thinking of character roles, to slide into middle and old age with the same grace as that marvelous actor Lewis Stone . . . The decision made itself . . It remains one of my favorites.
I have not collected art. Art collected me. I never found paintings. They found me. I have never even owned a work of art. They owned me.
To last you need to be real.
To be entrusted with a character was always a big responsibility to me.
To my mind, the actor has this great responsibility of playing another human being . . . it's like taking on another person's life and you have to do it as sincerely and honestly as you can.
Ah yes, I remember well what it was like to be a true collector, that soft explosion in the heart, that thundering inner "Yes!" when you see something you must have or die. For over 30 years I made periodic visits to [Auguste Renoir's] "Luncheon of the Boating Party" in a Washington museum, and stood before that magnificent masterpiece hour after hour, day after day, plotting ways to steal it.
I remember just before going onto the soundstage, I'd look in my dressing room mirror and stretch myself to my full 5'5" or 5'6"--whatever it was--to make me appear taller and to make me able to dominate all the others and to mow them down with my size.
Of course, I started as a collector. A true collector. I can remember as if it were only yesterday the heart-pounding excitement as I spread out upon the floor of my bedroom The Edward G. Robinson Collection of Rare Cigar Bands. I didn't play at collecting. No cigar anywhere was safe from me. My father and uncles and all their friends turned their lungs black trying to satisfy my collector's zeal. And then came cigarette cards, big-league baseball players. I was an insatiable fiend, and would cheerfully trade you three Indian Joes for one of that upstart newcomer, Ty Cobb.
Paintings never really belong to one of us. If we are fortunate, as I have been, we are allowed at most a lovely time of custody.
Acting and painting have much in common. You begin with the external appearance and then strip away the layers to get to the essential core. This is reality and that is how an artist achieves truth. When you are acting, you are playing a part, you are being somebody else. You are also, at the same time, being yourself.
Some people have youth, some have beauty--I have menace.
The sitting around on the set is awful. But I always figure that's what they pay me for. The acting I do for free.
[on Humphrey Bogart] I always felt sorry for him--sorry that he had imposed upon himself the character with which he had become identified.
[om writer/director Richard Brooks] As feisty, individual, unpredictable and honest as any man I've ever known.
[on being cast in The Ten Commandments (1956)] Cecil B. DeMille restored my self-respect.
Every one of us bears within him the possibility of all passions, all destinies of life in all its manifold forms. Nothing human is foreign to us.
[to good friend Jesse Lasky Jr., screenwriter of The Ten Commandments (1956)] You gave me the greatest exit a 'heavy' ever had. No actor would break friendship with a writer who created a tempest, then an earthquake, then opened a fissure and had me fall through into hell. Even in Little Caesar (1931) I never had an exit as good as that!
[on DeMille, who gave Robinson the role of Dathan at a time when the actor was blacklisted] No more conservative or patriarchal figure existed in Hollywood, no one more opposed to communism or any permutation or combination thereof, and no fairer one, no one with a greater sense of decency and justice.
[his Oscar acceptance speech, read by his wife] It couldn't have come at a better time in a man's life. Had it come earlier it would have aroused deep feelings in me; still, not so deep as now. I am very grateful to my rich, warm, creative, talented, intimate colleagues who have been my life's associates. How much richer can you be?

Salary (6)

Smart Money (1931) $35 .000
Blackmail (1939) $8,500 /week
Larceny, Inc (1942) $100 .000
Key Largo (1948) $12,500 /week
The Ten Commandments (1956) $100,000
Two Weeks in Another Town (1962) $100,000

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