Edit
Jackie Gleason Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (37)  | Personal Quotes (8)  | Salary (10)

Overview (5)

Born in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Died in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA  (colon and liver cancer)
Birth NameHerbert Walton Gleason Jr.
Nicknames "The Great One"
"The Abdominal Showman"
"Mr. Miami Beach"
Height 5' 9½" (1.77 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Comedian, actor, composer and conductor, educated in New York public schools. He was a master of ceremonies in amateur shows, a carnival barker, daredevil driver and a disc jockey., and later a comedian in night clubs. By the mid-1950s he had turned to writing original music and recording a series of popular and best-selling albums with his orchestra for Capitol Records. Joining ASCAP in 1953, his instrumental compositions include "Melancholy Serenade", "Glamour", "Lover's Rhapsody", "On the Beach" and "To a Sleeping Beauty", among numerous others.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Hup234!

Spouse (3)

Marilyn Gleason (16 December 1975 - 24 June 1987) ( his death)
Beverly McKittrick (4 July 1970 - 24 November 1975) ( divorced)
Genevieve Halford (20 September 1936 - 24 June 1970) ( divorced) ( 2 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Often played a working class everyman
Short, stocky build

Trivia (37)

He designed his own fantastic round house that was built in Peekskill, NY, in the 1950s and remains a modern marvel. The precious wood interior took special crafting by Swedish carpenters who were brought to the U.S. for a year to work on the house. It contained a basement disco and one of the very first in-home video projection systems. Despite the enormous cost, the Gleason dream house long suffered from a leaky wooden roof.
He was legendary for his dislike of rehearsal, even in the early days of live TV. Yet he was equally renowned for his total mastery and control over each production detail and insisted on the show credit: "Entire Production Supervised by Jackie Gleason."
Prone to excess with wine, women, song and work, a lifestyle that often led to exhaustion. In such cases he would check into a hospital for some needed rest. One famous story has it that when Gleason really felt "sick", he checked himself OUT of the hospital, and went home to be taken care of.
Despite his iconic stature as a TV-comedy giant, he never won an Emmy.
Grandfather of Jason Patric.
The Jackie Gleason (formerly 5th Avenue) Bus Depot in Brooklyn, NY, is named after him.
Had an interest in the occult as well as an extensive collection of books on the paranormal.
Buried in Miami, FL. His gravesite is all that one would expect. Engraved in the "riser" of the second step from the top is the classic, "AND AWAY WE GO".
Father of Linda Miller.
On January 20, 1961, a game show he co-developed, "You're In the Picture" (1960), premiered on CBS. The premise was to have celebrity guests place their heads into a cutout scene and ask the host questions in order to to guess what picture or historical scene they were in. The show's concept was ill-conceived, especially for co-creator and host Gleason, and was blasted by critics and viewers alike. On the next week's broadcast Gleason apologized to the viewers, saying, "Honesty is the best policy. We had a show last week that laid the biggest bomb! I've seen bombs in my day, but this one made the H-bomb look like a two-inch salute." The time slot was filled with a variety program; The Jackie Gleason Show (1961).
Recorded a number of albums featuring instrumental "mood music" (what is now known today as "lounge music"). Gleason served as producer, bandleader and (on occasion) vibraphone player, despite the fact that he couldn't read sheet music. Several of the albums included original compositions by Gleason. One album, "Lonesome Echo", topped the charts in 1955, and featured a cover with original art by Salvador Dalí.
Once said that Orson Welles bestowed his "The Great One" nickname upon him.
The set of The Honeymooners (1955) show was based on his childhood home on Chauncey Street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant (originally Bushwick) area of Brooklyn, NY. The apartment building is still there and looks very much the same as in Jackie's time.
In August 2000 cable television station TvLand unveiled an eight-foot bronze statue of Gleason as Ralph Kramden. The statue was placed in the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City.
There were plans to reunite him with Art Carney for Steven Spielberg's 1941 (1979). They were to play two men who would be stationed on top of a Ferris Wheel. However, Gleason's representatives informed the producers that he would not perform with Carney. In 1985, though, just two years before he died, he was reunited with Carney in Izzy & Moe (1985). They even shared over-the-credits billing, with Carney first, but lower left, and Gleason second, but upper right.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 180-183. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
In 1986 he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.
Did not like working with young children.
Won Broadway's 1960 Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for "Take Me Along" over his two also-nominated co-stars, Walter Pidgeon and Robert Morse .
He was not only a boxer and carnival barker in his early years, but also a pool hustler. Interestingly, he went on to play Minnesota Fats in The Hustler (1961) with Paul Newman.
The Miami Beach Auditorium was re-named the Jackie Gleason Theater and is located on 17th Street and Washington Avenue on South Beach.
The Jackie Gleason Show (1961) helped propel the tourist industry in Miami Beach, FL, in the early and mid 1960s.
Was a mentor and frequent drinking buddy of Frank Sinatra. It was Gleason who first introduced Sinatra to Jack Daniels whiskey, which became Sinatra's signature drink.
His family background was, according to most accounts, almost Dickensian. It was marked by severe illness and grinding poverty, in any event. His father, Herb Gleason (1884-1964), was a henpecked insurance clerk who took his myriad disappointments in life out in drink. He deserted the family when Jackie was nine. His mother (d. 1935), the former Mae Kelly, was overprotective of her younger son, who died when Jackie was in his teens. An older brother, Clemence, died, probably of tuberculosis, at the age of 14, when Jackie was three.
In the 1930s, before he ever really made it even in small-time venues, he was a bartender at a bar in Newark, NJ, called the Blue Mirror. He wore his apron high on the chest just like he did as his "Joe the Bartender" character 30 years later on his television show, and he entertained the patrons with his antics, just like "Joe the Bartender." Eventually, he got such a following that the owner gave him a chance at the microphone on stage. The rest, as they say, is history. This was also a time when he actually lived and slept in the back room with the empty bottles, etc. Naturally, of course, it was across the street from a pool hall that he patronized in the afternoons after he was finished cleaning up the Blue Mirror.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 328-331. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
Has a street named after him in Iowa City, IA.
He was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6231 Hollywood Blvd. and for Television at 6300 Hollywood Blvd.
Appears as Ralph Kramden, with Art Carney as Ed Norton, on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp in the Early TV Memories issue honoring The Honeymooners (1955). The stamp was issued 11 August 2009.
His paternal grandfather, William Walton Gleason, was an Irish immigrant, and his paternal grandmother, who was U.S.-born, had English and Dutch ancestry. His mother was also an Irish immigrant, from Farranree, Cork.
The popular Hanna-Barbera character Fred Flintstone was based on him, as "The Flintstones" animated series was loosely based on "The Honeymooners". Upon realizing this, Gleason tried to file a lawsuit against Hanna-Barbera but was dissuaded from doing so by friends and colleagues who advised him that it would be bad for his reputation if he became known as "the man who killed Fred Flintstone.".
Brother-in-law of June Taylor.
Underwent triple heart bypass surgery in June 1978.
Campaigned for Richard Nixon in the 1968 and 1972 presidential elections.
Smoked four packs of cigarettes a day, even after undergoing heart surgery.
Met his second wife, Beverly McKittrick, at a country club in 1968.
Had plastic surgery in 1977.

Personal Quotes (8)

Drinking removes warts and pimples. Not from me. But from those I look at.
[trademark line] How sweet it is!"
I'm no alcoholic. I'm a drunkard. There's a difference. A drunkard doesn't like to go to meetings.
The worst thing you can do with money is save it.
[on what inspired him to became a "mood music" legend, via a series of successful albums] Every time I ever watched Clark Gable do a love scene in the movies, I'd hear this really pretty music, real romantic, come up behind him and help set the mood. So I'm figuring that if Gable needs that kinda help, then a guy in Canarsie has gotta be dyin' for something like this.
I have no use for humility. I am a fellow with an exceptional talent.
Always ended his show with the "The Miami Beach audience is the greatest audience in the world."
[on having plastic surgery] I felt I owed it to the audience. They see some decrepit-looking fellow doing a lot of running around, and they get worried. I do strenuous physical things onstage and I don't want them worrying about me. With Bob Hope, I'm worried every time I see him walk onstage ... I had a month off, and I just did it. Of course, it is quite a decision to make when you're 61 years old. How do you know if you're physically able to stand up under it? And with all the work I have coming up, if anything had happened, God forbid, it would have been a disaster. But the main thing was to get the best possible doctor to do the job, and I did.

Salary (10)

Navy Blues (1941) $250 /week
All Through the Night (1942) $250 /week
Tramp, Tramp, Tramp! (1942) $250 /week
Larceny, Inc. (1942) $250 /week
Orchestra Wives (1942) $250 /week
Springtime in the Rockies (1942) $250 /week
Cavalcade of Stars (1949) $750 /week
The Fabulous Fifties (1960) $50,000
The Jackie Gleason Show (1966) $50,000 /week
Smokey and the Bandit II (1980) $1,200,000

See also

Other Works |  Publicity Listings |  Official Sites |  Contact Info

Contribute to This Page


Recently Viewed