Busy American character actor, renowned for his numerous portrayals of Benjamin Franklin on both stage and screen. Born Fredd Wiener in Akron, Ohio, Fredd worked briefly as a delivery boy at Warner Brothers before being called up for military service during World War II. Being appointed as a 'special service' NCO, he was put in charge of providing entertainment for troops as writer, producer and actor of army productions. After demobilisation, he supported himself by working a daytime job at J. C. Penney's department store in New York while also taking nightly drama classes at the American Theatre Wing (along with fellow alumni Lee Marvin, Martin Balsam and James Whitmore). Fredd's career developed slowly at first. In 1947, he lost out to another Wayne (David, who ended up winning a Tony Award) for the role of Og the leprechaun in "Finian's Rainbow". Undeterred, Fredd eventually landed his breakthrough role on Broadway two years later as Brewster Ames II in the musical comedy "Texas, Li'l Darlin". From there, he went on to appear once more on Broadway (in the 1951 satirical play "Not for Children" by Elmer Rice) and in the original London Theatre Royal cast of "South Pacific" as the 'comic relief' character Luther Billis. Regularly on television from the early 50s -- beginning with live anthology dramas -- Fredd became a familiar presence in popular fare across all genres, including The Twilight Zone (1959) (twice), Perry Mason (1957), 77 Sunset Strip (1958), Have Gun - Will Travel (1957), The Rockford Files (1974) and (a little more recently) Simon & Simon (1981). Bringing Benjamin Franklin to life he guested in a fondly remembered two-part instalment of Bewitched (1964), appeared in "Go Fly a Kite" at Aldo Tambellini's Gate Theatre in New York and toured nationwide and internationally with his painstakingly researched and hugely successful one-man stage show which he also wrote, produced and directed (audio-taped as "Benjamin Franklin, Citizen" in 1976).
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