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Also Known As: Philip Leeds Died: August 16, 1998
Born: April 6, 1916 Cause of Death: pneumonia
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, comedian, peanut vendor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Durable character actor Phil Leeds began his career as a stand-up comedian and went on to appear in dozens of films, television programs and stage productions throughout his 60 years in show business. With a face that was far more memorable than his name, he was a familiar presence on TV, racking up numerous guest appearances in his later years. Leeds was raised in the Bronx, NY and worked as a peanut vendor in nearby Yankee Stadium and Manhattan's Polo Grounds. The comedian started a stand-up career in his early twenties, and soon made his Broadway debut in 1942 opposite Betty Garrett in the musical "Of V We Sing" before going off to serve in the US Army Special Services during World War II. While stationed in the Pacific, Leeds continued to hone his craft, entertaining the troops. He resumed stand up upon his return to New York, opening for the likes of Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Harry Belafonte, and Barbra Streisand through the 1950s and 1960s while continuing to work on Broadway. Among his better known stage appearances were those opposite Peter Ustinov in "Romanoff and Juliet" (1958) and Robert Preston in "Nobody Loves an Albatross" (1963). Other theatrical credits include a successful 1973...

Durable character actor Phil Leeds began his career as a stand-up comedian and went on to appear in dozens of films, television programs and stage productions throughout his 60 years in show business. With a face that was far more memorable than his name, he was a familiar presence on TV, racking up numerous guest appearances in his later years. Leeds was raised in the Bronx, NY and worked as a peanut vendor in nearby Yankee Stadium and Manhattan's Polo Grounds. The comedian started a stand-up career in his early twenties, and soon made his Broadway debut in 1942 opposite Betty Garrett in the musical "Of V We Sing" before going off to serve in the US Army Special Services during World War II. While stationed in the Pacific, Leeds continued to hone his craft, entertaining the troops. He resumed stand up upon his return to New York, opening for the likes of Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Harry Belafonte, and Barbra Streisand through the 1950s and 1960s while continuing to work on Broadway. Among his better known stage appearances were those opposite Peter Ustinov in "Romanoff and Juliet" (1958) and Robert Preston in "Nobody Loves an Albatross" (1963). Other theatrical credits include a successful 1973 San Francisco production of "The Sunshine Boys" co-starring Jose Ferrer. and the tour of the New York Shakespeare Festival musical "Two Gentleman of Verona". Settling in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, Leeds found regular work in films and on TV. He had already played Dr. Shand in 1968's creepy "Rosemary's Baby" and went on to be cast as the Chief Monk in Mel Brooks' "The History of the World Part I" (1981) before making several scene stealing appearances in features like "Beaches" (1988), "Enemies, A Love Story" (1989), "Ghost" (1990), "Frankie and Johnny" and "Soapdish" (both 1991).

In 1949, Leeds began his considerable television career as a regular on "Front Row Center", a musical revue program presented on the DuMont network featuring guests from Broadway theater productions. He guested on CBS' "The Dick Van Dyke Show" in 1962, appeared in "All in the Family" and did several episodes of ABC's police comedy "Barney Miller" throughout its eight season run. More recently, Leeds was a regular on the 1995 CBS series "Double Rush", playing 'The Kid', a crafty elderly messenger in Manhattan who made up for his lack of speed with his knowledge of all the city's shortcuts. The busy actor had a recurring role on the short lived NBC comedy "Singer & Sons" (1990), but was probably best known for his guest spots on more successful comedies, his stable of off-beat characters including over the hill comedians, wacky neighbors and certifiable judges. He played these and many other types on nearly every well-known sitcom from "Dream On" and "The Larry Sanders Show" to "Night Court" and "Mad About You", "Roseanne" and "Coach" to repeat appearances on "The Closer" and "Dave's World". The actor proved adept at dramatic work as well as evidenced by his guest stints on "ER, "Nothing Sacred" and "Civil Wars". One of his last recurring roles was as especially trying jurist in episodes of "Ally McBeal". In May 1998, just months before his death in August, Leeds guest starred in four shows that aired on the same night: the season finales of "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS) and "Ally McBeal" (Fox) and the series finales of "Murphy Brown" (CBS) and "Ellen" (ABC).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Krippendorf's Tribe (1998) Dr Harvey
2.
 Two Much (1996) Lincoln Brigade Member
3.
 Clean Slate (1994) Landlord
4.
 All I Want for Christmas (1991) Mr Feld--Pet Store Owner
5.
 Soapdish (1991) Old Man
6.
 He Said, She Said (1991) Mr Spepk
7.
 Frankie and Johnny (1991) Mr Deleon (The Diner)
8.
 Ghost (1990) Emergency Room Ghost
9.
 Enemies, A Love Story (1989) Pesheles
10.
 Cat Chaser (1989) Jerry Shea
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in the Bronx, New York
:
Worked as a peanut vendor in New York's Yankee Stadium and Polo Grounds
:
Started as a stand-up comic in his early twenties
1942:
Made Broadway debut in "Of V We Sing" opposite Betty Garrett
1943:
Served in the US Army Special Services during World War II; became sergeant
1949:
Was a regular on "Front Row Center", a musical revue program presented on TV's DuMont network featuring guests from Broadway theater productions
:
Performed as a stand-up comedian, appearing with acts including Harry Belafonte, Barbra Streisand and Mike Nichols and Elaine May
1958:
Starred on Broadway in "Romanoff and Juliet" with Peter Ustinov
1962:
Guested on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (CBS)
1963:
Starred on Broadway with Robert Preston in "Nobody Loves an Albatross"
1968:
Appeared in the popular supernatural film "Rosemary's Baby"
1973:
Acted with Jose Ferrer in a San Francisco production of Neil Simon's "The Sunshine Boys" and played Launce in The New York Shakespeare Festival's touring production of Joseph Papp's "Two Gentleman of Verona"
:
Throughout the 1970s to 1990s, appeared as a guest star in dozens of television shows
1981:
Appeared as Chief Monk in the Mel Brooks comedy "History of the World Part I"
1988:
Played Atlantic City showbiz type Sammy Pinkers in the 1960s portion of "Beaches", starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey
1989:
Appeared in the post-war romantic comedy/drama "Enemies, A Love Story"
1990:
Played an emergency room ghost in the hit film "Ghost"
1990:
Had recurring role on the short-lived NBC comedy "Singer and Sons"
1991:
Played small roles in the film comedies "Soapdish", "He Said, She Said", "Frankie and Johnny" and "All I Want for Christmas"
1995:
Was a regular on the short-lived series "Double Rush", playing an elderly messenger
:
Played recurring role as a judge on "Ally McBeal"
1998:
Racked up appearances in the season finale episodes of four different series in the same night
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Education

City College of New York: New York , New York -

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Toby Leeds. Singer. Died on January 5, 1988.

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