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Tony Randall Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (34)  | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (4)

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Died in New York City, New York, USA  (pneumonia following heart surgery)
Birth NameArthur Leonard Rosenberg
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Tony Randall was born on February 26, 1920 in Tulsa, Oklahoma as Aryeh Leonard Rosenberg. He attended Tulsa Central High School and later Northwestern University and New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. After graduating, he starred in two plays: George Bernard Shaw's 'Candida' alongside Jane Cowl and Emlyn Williams' 'The Corn Is Green' alongside Ethel Barrymore. After four years with the United States Army Signal Corps in World War II, Randall found work at Montgomery County's Olney Theatre before heading back to New York City to continue his acting career.

During the 1940s, Randall appeared mostly in supporting roles in Broadway plays. He was given his first leading role in 1955 with 'Inherit the Wind'. Randall managed to nab a Tony Award nomination for his starring role in 1958's 'Oh, Captain!', although the play itself bombed.

His first role in a feature film came about in 1957, playing a supporting character in the Ginger Rogers vehicle Oh, Men! Oh, Women! (1957). The same year, he received a Golden Globe nomination for his role as the titular writer for television advertising in the satirical comedy Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957). Randall also lent his support to the three famous Doris Day-Rock Hudson pairings Pillow Talk (1959), Lover Come Back (1961), and Send Me No Flowers (1964), securing Golden Globe nominations for the former two. Randall worked quite prolifically throughout the 1960s; notable roles include a public relations employee in the Marilyn Monroe romantic musical Let's Make Love (1960), seven quite different characters in the oddball 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964), iconic detective Hercule Poirot in The Alphabet Murders (1965), an architect who inadvertently releases a djinn in the fantasy The Brass Bottle (1964), and a man who lives in an underwater house with his family in the adventure Hello Down There (1969).

Randall's first major television role was as a history teacher on Mister Peepers (1952); he joined the cast in 1955. After the series ended, he had numerous guest spots on such shows as The United States Steel Hour (1953), The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962), Love, American Style (1969), and Here's Lucy (1968). He wouldn't return to TV in a major role until 1970, when he played sardonic neat freak Felix Unger in ABC's The Odd Couple (1970) opposite Jack Klugman. He earned Emmy nominations for each season, finally winning in 1975 for its last. He later starred in The Tony Randall Show (1976) as a Philadelphia judge, and Love, Sidney (1981) as a gay artist. The former earned him one Golden Globe nomination and the latter earned him two. He reunited with Jack Klugman for the 1993 TV movie The Odd Couple: Together Again (1993).

Both during and after his stints on TV, Randall had small roles in a few well-known films such as Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972), The King of Comedy (1982), My Little Pony: The Movie (1986), and Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990). He continued to guest-star on television shows, but would never return to the small screen as a leading man. He also continued to work on-stage, albeit infrequently.

Randall passed away in his sleep on May 17, 2004 of pneumonia he had contracted following coronary bypass surgery in December 2003. He is survived by his wife, Heather Harlan, whom he wed in 1995, and their two children. Randall had previously been married to Florence Gibbs from 1938 until her death in 1992.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (2)

Heather Harlan (17 November 1995 - 17 May 2004) ( his death) ( 2 children)
Florence Gibbs (1938 - 18 April 1992) ( her death)

Trade Mark (2)

Tony always played the clean straight man.
His sardonic, commanding voice.

Trivia (34)

Attended Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois), where he majored in speech and drama.
11 April 1997: first child born at 12:00am EST, named Julia Laurette Randall. She was named after his mom Julia and actress Laurette Taylor, whom Tony says is "the best actress I've ever seen in my life."
Was militantly opposed to smoking.
Met his wife Heather in a play in New York. She was 50 years his junior.
Founder of the National Actors' Theater, New York.
He was originally cast as the voice of "Templeton the Rat" in the movie Charlotte's Web (1973) without an audition. When Joseph Barbera realized he wasn't right for the voice, they paid him and hired Paul Lynde instead.
Suffered from tinnitus, a chronic ringing in the ears. In 1996, he and Jerry Stiller appeared in a public service announcement for the American Tinnitus Association, encouraging viewers to seek diagnosis and treatment.
Second child: Jefferson Salvini Randall, born on June 15, 1998. Named after comic actor Joseph Jefferson and Italian tragic actor Tommasso Salvini.
Studied acting at New York City's prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse, under the direction of legendary acting coach Sanford Meisner.
The two children of Felix and Gloria Unger in The Odd Couple (1970) were named Leonard and Edna, the real-life names of Tony Randall and his late sister, Edna.
Had taken ballet classes and danced at a semi-professional level.
Appeared on Late Show with David Letterman (1993) a record 70 times.
The son of an art dealer, he graduated from Tulsa (OK) Central High School.
A member of the Metropolitan Opera Association from 1972.
National chairman of the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation, which is an incurable neuromuscular disease.
Dropped out of Northwestern University in Illinois, majoring in speech and drama, in order to study acting with Sanford Meisner and dancer Martha Graham at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. Later, Tony received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 2002 from Pace University.
An avid art collector, his father was an art and antiques dealer.
Studied voice for 32 years but did not act on it, quipping, "I have a nice healthy tone, but it's not terribly musical. If beautiful voices are golden, mine is aluminum.".
Originated the role of E.K. Hornbeck in the Broadway production of "Inherit the Wind," which ran for 806 performances from April 21, 1955, to June 22, 1957, at the National Theater (now the Nederlander Theater). He was still working on his Mister Peepers (1952) series at the beginning of the run of show, filming episodes on Sundays when the theater was dark. His role was played by Gene Kelly in the 1960 film Inherit the Wind (1960). In 1996, his National Actors' Theater company put on a Broadway revival of "Inherit the Wind" that ran for 45 appearances. He was a stand-in for both Anthony Heald as E.K. Hornbeck and George C. Scott as Henry Drummond, taking over the latter role when Scott had to leave the play. Scott was nominated for a 1996 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for the role.
Was asked in the 1970s if there had been anyone in his career whom he had really disliked. After saying he hated to criticize the dead, he revealed that he had animosity against the late Ethel Barrymore. As a young actor, Randall had appeared in a play with her, and he was offended by her imperious manner, which included a demand that her fellow actors observe absolute silence in the vicinity of her dressing room.
Was nominated for Broadway's Tony Award five times: as Best Actor (Musical) in 1958 for "Oh, Captain!" and, later, as co-producer with his National Actors' Theater of four nominated plays: as Best Revival, in 1993 for "St. Joan" and as Best Revival (Play) in 1994 for "Timon of Athens"; in 1996 for "Inherit the Wind" and in 1997 for "The Gin Game.".
Won an Emmy Award for the TV series The Odd Couple (1970) after the show had been canceled. At his acceptance speech, he said, "Thank you. Now, if I only had a job.".
A liberal Democrat, in September 2003 he joked in a speech that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney would be turned away if they tried to attend his funeral.
He contracted pneumonia following heart bypass surgery in December 2003, and remained hospitalized until his death.
Biography in "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives," Volume 7, 2003-2005, pp. 444-446. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
Father was an art dealer. Mother's name was Julia Finston.
Avid collector of modern art, opera recordings, and antiques.
He recalled the making of 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964) in an interview in the book "A Sci-Fi Swarm and Horror Horde" (McFarland & Co., 2010) by Tom Weaver.
He and Jack Klugman performed together in Appointment with Adventure: The Pirate's House (1955) from "The Golden Age of Television" period 15 years before they did the classic The Odd Couple (1970).
In an effort to bring back classic theater to Broadway, he founded and was artistic director of the nonprofit National Actors Theatre in 1991, using $1 million of his own money and $2 million from corporations and foundations.
Best remembered by the public for his starring role as Felix Unger on The Odd Couple (1970).
Randall appeared in both the 1954 stage version of Edward Chodorov's "Oh, Men! Oh, Women! as well as the 1957 screen adaptation but in different roles.
He acted in three Broadway shows during the run of Mister Peepers (1952), working on the show on Tuesdays through its Sunday telecast (Broadway shows at the time were dark on Sundays). At one point he worked for 365 consecutive days without a taking a day off.
Was friends with Jack Klugman, Bob Newhart, and Shirley Jones.

Personal Quotes (3)

Compassion is a luxury of the affluent.
Comedy's a serious business. You've got to be true and funny and not look as though you're trying.
[In a 1986 interview] Katharine Cornell was a lovely, warm, helpful, friendly, dear colleague. She took an interest in the younger people in the company and tried to help them get jobs. She actively tried to get me a job--as if she were my agent.

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