Milton Berle Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (4)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (34)  | Personal Quotes (20)

Overview (5)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (colon cancer)
Birth NameMilton Berlinger
Nicknames Uncle Miltie
Mr. Television
The Boy Wonder
The Thief of Bad Gags
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Milton Berle is an American comedian and actor.

Berle's career as an entertainer spanned over 80 years, first in silent films and on stage as a child actor, then in radio, movies and television. As the host of NBC's Texaco Star Theatre (1948-55), he was the first major American television star and was known to millions of viewers as "Uncle Miltie" and "Mr. Television" during the first Golden Age of Television. He was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in both radio and TV.

Berle won the Emmy for Most Outstanding Kinescoped Personality in 1950. In 1979, Berle was awarded a special Emmy Award, titled "Mr. Television." He was twice nominated for Emmys for his acting, in 1962 and 1995.

Berle was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1984. On December 5, 2007, Berle was inducted into the California Hall of Fame.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tango Papa

Spouse (4)

Lorna Adams (26 November 1991 - 27 March 2002) (his death)
Ruth Berle (9 December 1953 - 20 April 1989) (her death) (1 child)
Joyce Mathews (16 June 1949 - 30 March 1950) (divorced) (1 child)
Joyce Mathews (4 December 1941 - 22 October 1947) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (2)

Theme song: "Near You"
Always holding a cigar

Trivia (34)

Appeared for the first time on television in an experimental TV broadcast in 1929, and sometimes is credited with being the first person to appear on television, possibly because a film of the broadcast has survived. On April 7, 1927, an image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover was transmitted by AT&T in the first successful long distance demonstration of TV. Later that day, AT&T broadcast other material, including vaudeville comedian A. Dolan. WRNY (Coytesville, New Jersey) became the first standard radio station to transmit a television image, the face of Mrs. John Geloso, on August 13, 1928 in a process resembling early Web "broadcasts", with a delay of a few seconds between image and voice, while on August 22, 1928, WGY simultaneously broadcast Alfred E. Smith accepting the Democratic presidential nomination on radio and TV. "The Queen's Messenger" was the first play broadcast by television, on September 11, 1928 by W2XAD, an event that made the front page of the New York Times. Thus, Berle cannot be considered the first "television performer" in history.
Parents were Moses Berlinger (1873-1938) and Sarah/Sadie (Glantz) Berlinger (1877-1954). His father was born in New York, to German Jewish immigrants, and his mother was also born in NY, to Russian Jewish parents.
Had four siblings: Phil Berle (born 1901), Francis (born 1904), Jack (born 1905) and Rosalind (born 1913) (all deceased).
Stepfather-in-law of Richard Moll.
On Dec. 5, 1999, he suffered a mild stroke at his home in California.
Had a longtime joking rivalry with Bishop Fulton J. Sheen ("Uncle Fultie"), whose television show was on opposite his for many years ("He stayed on longer than I did because, let's face it, he had better writers. Mark, Luke ...").
Credits his survival as a television icon with his 30-year contract with NBC (Groucho Marx once joked about this saying: "30 years with NBC? That's not a contract. That's a sentence!").
Always opened his television show by making an entrance in a different costume each week.
Changed his name to Berle from Berlinger in 1920.
His mother, Sarah Berlinger (later called Sandra Berle), was often shown on camera as she sat in the audience for The Milton Berle Show (1948).
Was well-known as an outrageous joke thief, which frequently rankled some of his fellow performers. One time, he said to Groucho Marx, "You know, Groucho, I've stolen some of my best jokes from you." Without missing a beat, Groucho replied, "Then you weren't listening.". One of Berle's nicknames was "The Thief of Bad Gags.".
Was a regular on the "Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts".
In 1984 he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, and in 1991 became the first entertainer inducted into the International Comedy Hall of Fame.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald S. Smith, pg. 46-48. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Uncle of Warren Berlinger.
In 1962 NBC tried to develop a television series around incidents in his life, but the series never got beyond the planning stage.
Had three children: Victoria, William and Bob Williams.
Had three grandsons: James, Mathew and Tyler Roe.
Began his professional career at age five, working in motion pictures at the American Mutoscope and Biograph Co. studios in Fort Lee, NJ.
In May 1949 he hosted the world's first charity telethon, benefiting the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund. The program lasted 24 hours.
He died on the same day as Dudley Moore and Billy Wilder. Coincidentally, Berle and Moore both made guest appearances in The Muppet Show (1976).
Berle co-wrote, with Ben Oakland, the title song for the film Li'l Abner (1940).
In 1947 he founded the Friars Club of Beverly Hills at the old Savoy Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. Other founding members included Jimmy Durante, George Jessel, Robert Taylor and Bing Crosby. The club, which moved to Beverly Hills in 1961, is a private show business club famous for its celebrity members and roasts, where a member is mocked by their club friends in good fun.
Godfather of musician Billy Sherwood.
He was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame--for Television at 6263 Hollywood Blvd. and for Radio at 6771 Hollywood Blvd.
Described a brief affair with Aimee Semple McPherson in 1930 in his 1975 autobiography, "Milton Berle: An Autobiography".
Berle was famed in Hollywood for the alleged size of an "unmentionable" portion of his anatomy. An often recounted (and possibly apocryphal) story was that when he was once challenged to a "face-off" with another man to prove who had the larger one, a friend said, "We're in a hurry, Milton, just take out enough to win.".
Appears on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp, issued 11 August 2009, in the Early TV Memories issue honoring "Texaco Star Theater" (titled The Milton Berle Show (1948), 1954-1956).
Interviewed in "The Great Comedians Talk About Comedy" by Larry Wilde (1968).
Following his death, he was interred at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.
Known to younger generations for his infamous pairing with drag queen RuPaul at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards. The two got along very poorly on-camera, spending more time going off-script and lobbing harsh potshots and verbal low blows at each other than actually presenting an award. They also got along just as poorly backstage, if not more so. RuPaul claimed Berle was acting rude and sexually inappropriate towards him, even allegedly touching RuPaul's false breasts at one point. This incident prompted RuPaul to end what was, until then, a very prosperous professional relationship with MTV.
Several of his screenplays and lyrics songs were written by Jerry Seelen.
Late in life, one of Berle's favorite television shows was Matlock (1986), so he wrote a script for Matlock: The Last Laugh (1993), about an over the hill comedian accused of murder, so he could appear on the show as that character when the script was filmed as an episode in 1993.
Along with Vincent Price, Liberace and Ethel Merman, he is one of only four actors to both play a Special Guest Villain in Batman (1966) and guest star in The Muppet Show (1976).

Personal Quotes (20)

An adult western is where the hero still kisses his horse at the end, only now he worries about it.
If evolution works, why do mothers only have two hands.
If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.
Money can't buy you happiness, but it helps you look for it in a lot more places.
A good wife always forgives her husband when she's wrong.
I live to laugh, and I laugh to live.
[on all the chatter at the 1965 Academy Awards about one romantic twosome in the audience] When I took out Woodrow Wilson's daughter, they didn't make such a fuss.
Don't tell jokes only the band laughs at.
[to Arnold Schwarzenegger] You being funny with your accent is twice as big a deal as me being funny. They expect me to be funny!
Arnold Schwarzenegger has bigger boobs than his wife!
[how to tell a joke] Delivery, not stressing the punchline, timing.
You get a lot of awards when you're a star, and lots of them are irrelevant.
Don't burn, just singe.
You show the emotion so you get the audience going the other way.
[on his beginning as a comic] I had copied my style from a great comic, Ted Healy. I patterned myself after Healy, with the hat turned up in front and the collegiate look. I was the brash, flippant wise guy, smart-ass type.
I have a file of four million jokes . . . I have them cross-indexed. Whatever subject you want, I have a joke on it.
[on his early television show] The first year I was on, '48 or '49, I didn't even have a writer. I just remembered what I did for the last 20 years 'cause we couldn't afford a writer--there wasn't any money. So it was a pretty difficult thing and the facilities were difficult.
[his definition of a comic]. . . a comic is a guy who depends solely on the joke, and we have thousands of them. The comedian can get a laugh opening a door in the funny way that he does it and his attitude--that's a comic versus a comedian. Now a "funnyman" can get a laugh before opening his mouth--looking funny. Lou Costello was one of your great funnymen. Harry Langdon, Larry Semon; they were all funnymen--they LOOKED funny. W.C. Fields was never a comedian. Slim Summerville was a comedian, yet looked funny. Now if you have both attributes, you are in good shape. There is a great line between the comic, the comedian, the funnyman, the buffoon and the clown. I don't maybe do everything well--but I know the difference.
[on Bob Hope] Bob is a joke man. Bob will buy the motion picture rights to Critic's Choice (1963) and then add quite a few dozen one-liners. I think it is a fear of not being able to wait--and not hearing your laugh a second.
[about versatility in entertainers] There are a lot of comedians who do everything good and nothing great. [Sammy Davis Jr.] as an entertainer does everything good and nothing great. Because there is no Sammy Davis. Sammy is doing Mel Tormé, Billy Eckstine, Billy Daniels, [Frank Sinatra].

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