Milton Berle

Comedian

Born: 12 July 1908
Died: 27 March 2002 (colon cancer)
Birthplace: New York, New York
Best known as: "Mister Television" of the 1950s

Name at birth: Mendel Berlinger

Milton Berle was the first great superstar of the TV age, and the undisputed king of the medium in the early 1950s. His variety show Texaco Star Theater (later The Milton Berle Show) ran from 1948-56, with ringleader Berle often wearing women's gowns and other outrageous costumes; his popularity earned him the nicknames "Mr. Television" and "Uncle Miltie." Berle got his start in vaudeville, touring as a stand-up comic and eventually appearing with the Ziegfeld Follies. After his own show ended Berle made hundreds of guest appearances on TV, usually waving his ever-present cigar, and starred in movie comedies like It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963, playing Ethel Merman's son-in-law) and Who's Minding the Mint (1967, with Joey Bishop). He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1984.

Extra credit: Berle won an Emmy Award for Texaco Star Theater in 1949, and again in 1978 for lifetime achievement... Berle played himself in Woody Allen's 1984 movie Broadway Danny Rose... Berle died on the same day as comedian Dudley Moore and one day before director Billy Wilder.

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More on Milton Berle from Fact Monster:

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  • It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World - Starring Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman
  • Dudley Moore - Biography of Dudley Moore, Oscar-nominated star of Arthur
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