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Phil Leeds

Phil Leeds


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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: Cast ... actor comedian peanut vendor


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).

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