James Karen Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trivia (16)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Born in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (cardiac arrest)
Birth NameJacob Karnofsky
Nicknames Mr. Pathmark

Mini Bio (1)

Veteran Broadway, TV and film actor James Karen was encouraged as a young man to take up an acting career by U.S. Congressman Daniel J. Flood, who was an amateur actor himself. In 1947 Karen made his Broadway debut in "A Streetcar Named Desire", which led to appearances in over 20 Broadway productions. His television work began in 1948 with the telecast of "A Christmas Carol", directed by pioneer television producer / director Fred Coe. Since then he has acted in over 100 television shows, including a stint as as Chief Justice Michael Bancroft on First Monday (2002) for CBS. In 1965 he began his film work in the low-budget sci-fi "epic" Frankenstein Meets the Spacemonster (1965) and now has an impressive resume of over 80 movies to his credit. He has also filmed a record-breaking 5,000+ television commercials, most while a spokesperson for the Pathmark Supermarket chain in the northeast US. He has been honored with the "Saturn Award" for Lifetime Achievement given by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. He has also been presented "The Buster Award", by The International Buster Keaton Society. This award is given to the person who has demonstrated professional excellence in the tradition of Buster Keaton.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Brad Zutaut <brad@bigbluewave.com>

Family (1)

Spouse Alba Francesca (6 September 1986 - 23 October 2018)  (his death)
Susan Reed (1 December 1949 - 1 June 1967)  (divorced)  (1 child)

Trivia (16)

Became an actor thanks to the insistence of U.S. Congressman Daniel J. Flood (who was himself an amateur thespian).
Studied acting at New York City's prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse under legendary acting coach Sanford Meisner.
In 2001, he received the "Buster" award, an annual honour given to one who demonstrates professional excellence in the tradition of Buster Keaton. He was a close friend of Buster Keaton and Eleanor Keaton and toured with the legendary comedian on the 1950s stage with "Merton of the Movies" and in the Samuel Beckett film entitled Film (1965).
Once stated in an interview that when he could not find work as an actor, he earned a living by restoring and customizing cars.
He's the son of a produce dealer and a folk singer.
Was a longtime friend of the late Robert Ludlum, best-selling author of the "Osterman Weekend" and the "Jason Bourne" novels, among others. Both men got to know each other as young, struggling actors after World War II and before Ludlum's career turned to writing.
Former son-in-law of film director Daniel Reed and Isadora Reed.
Father of Reed Karen and has two grandchildren.
Ex-brother-in-law of Jared Reed.
Profiled in "Character Kings: Hollywood's Familiar Faces Discuss the Art & Business of Acting" by Scott Voisin. [2009]
Close friend of actor Hans Conried.
His parents, Mae S. (Freed) and Joseph H. Karnofsky, were Russian Jewish immigrants.
Did commercials for the Pathmark supermarket chain for 3 decades earning the nickname of "Mr. Pathmark".
Remained active well into his '90s with various film roles and speaking appearances.
Was a longtime resident in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.
He was a lifelong liberal Democrat.

Personal Quotes (2)

People don't know my name, but they know my face because I've done so damn much work.
[1984 comment on doing TV commercials for the Pathmark supermarket chain] I go to New York every two weeks and run off 20 30-second commercials at a time. This is the best job an actor can have. It pays very well and it's steady.

See also

Other Works |  Publicity Listings |  Official Sites

View agent, publicist, legal and company contact details on IMDbPro Pro Name Page Link

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed