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Also Known As: Jimmy Malone, Nathan Birnbaum, Jed Jackson, Eddie Delight, Jack Harris, Willie Saks, George N. Burns Died: March 9, 1996
Born: January 20, 1896 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, comedian, roller skating and dance instructor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

After several unsuccessful attempts at a vaudeville career, Burns's luck changed in 1923, when he formed the Burns and Allen duo with young comic Gracie Allen (he would marry her in 1926). Gracie at first played the "straight man", but her wacky descriptions of her large family managed to garner all the laughs and the team wisely reversed roles. Having become vaudeville stars, the team appeared in several short films, made their feature debut with "The Big Broadcast" (1932) and played in several, mostly forgettable, movies during the 1930s and 40s. With their low-keyed comic banter, Burns and Allen became a successful radio team and then starred in their own TV series from 1950 until Allen's retirement in 1958 (she died six years later). Burns continued his career as a solo comedian and made an outstanding film comeback in 1975 with his award-winning performance as a cantankerous old vaudevillian in "The Sunshine Boys". He subsequently appeared in several features, notably as the omniscient title character of Carl Reiner's "Oh, God!" (1977), and continued to smoke his trademark cigars, talk-sing his charming vaudeville-based patter songs, and wryly joke about his ageless virility and various other...

After several unsuccessful attempts at a vaudeville career, Burns's luck changed in 1923, when he formed the Burns and Allen duo with young comic Gracie Allen (he would marry her in 1926). Gracie at first played the "straight man", but her wacky descriptions of her large family managed to garner all the laughs and the team wisely reversed roles. Having become vaudeville stars, the team appeared in several short films, made their feature debut with "The Big Broadcast" (1932) and played in several, mostly forgettable, movies during the 1930s and 40s.

With their low-keyed comic banter, Burns and Allen became a successful radio team and then starred in their own TV series from 1950 until Allen's retirement in 1958 (she died six years later).

Burns continued his career as a solo comedian and made an outstanding film comeback in 1975 with his award-winning performance as a cantankerous old vaudevillian in "The Sunshine Boys". He subsequently appeared in several features, notably as the omniscient title character of Carl Reiner's "Oh, God!" (1977), and continued to smoke his trademark cigars, talk-sing his charming vaudeville-based patter songs, and wryly joke about his ageless virility and various other ups and downs about growing old. As he had promised for years, Burns did indeed make it to age 100 and his centennial birthday was celebrated nationally. Seven weeks later, Burns died in his sleep of natural causes on March 9, 1996.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Radioland Murders (1994) Milt Lackey
3.
 Wisecracks (1991) Himself (Archival Footage)
4.
 18 Again! (1988) Jack Watson
5.
 Oh, God! You Devil (1984) God; Harry O Tophet
6.
 Two of a Kind (1982) Ross "Boppy" Minor
7.
 Oh God! Book II (1980) God
8.
 Going in Style (1979) Joe
9.
 Just You And Me, Kid (1979) Bill
10.
 Movie Movie (1978) Presenter ("Baxter'S Beauties Of 1933")
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Formed a group of children singers called the Peewee Quartet at age eight
:
Worked as a trick roller-skater, a dance teacher and vaudeville performer from age 14
1923:
Teamed with Gracie Allen; performed on Keith and Orpheum vaudeville circuits
1929:
Appeared with Allen in 10-minute short film "Lamb Chops", the first of over a dozen shorts for Paramount
1930:
"Burns and Allen" show first premiered on radio
1932:
Feature film debut, "The Big Broadcast"
1939:
Last film before 35-year break from screen, "Honolulu"
1950:
"Burns and Allen" show premiered on TV
1958:
Began performing as solo comedian after Gracie Allen retired
1964:
Gracie Allen died
1975:
Returned to screen in "The Sunshine Boys"; won Oscar as Best Supporting Actor
1976:
Portrayed the Almighty in "Oh, God"; reprised role in two sequels
1994:
Final film, "Radioland Murders"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Burns recorded three country and western albums

When he underwent triple bypass surgery in 1974 at age 78, it was reported he was oldest person ever to have that operation

Inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1988

The week before his 95th birthday Burns quipped, "I never felt better, never looked better, never made love better--and never lied better." --From New York Post. January 17, 1991.

Concerning his monthly visit to Gracie Allen's grave at Forest Lawn cemetery in Los Angeles he said, "I talk to her. Sometimes I tell her a joke, but Gracie doesn't laugh. She's heard all my jokes." --From New York Post, January 17, 1991.

"I did 15 or 20 acts before I met Gracie, and they were all flops. I worked with a dog, a seal, anything that would work with me. The act was so bad the seal used to throw the fish back." --George Burns describing his early vaudeville career to New York Post, January 17, 1991.

Burns serves as one of several Proctors (along with Billy Crystal and Buddy Hackett) for the Friars Club

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Hannah Siegel. Vaudevillian. Burns' partner; first wife; Burns claimed marriage was annulled because it was never consumated.
wife:
Gracie Allen. Comedienne, actor. Married from January 7, 1926 until her death on August 28, 1964 from heart ailment.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Sandra Luckman. Teacher. Adopted; teaches elementary school in San Diego.
son:
Ronnie Burns. Actor. Adopted; involved in investments and real estate.

Bibliography close complete biography

"I Love Her, That's Why"
"Living It Up, or They Still Love Me in Altoona!"
"The Third Time Around"
"How to Live to Be 100: or More!" G.P. Putnam's Sons
"The Ultimate Diet, Sex and Exercise Book"
"Dr. Burns' Prescription for Happiness" G.P. Putnam's Sons
"Dear George: Advice and Answers from America's Leading Expert on Everything From A to Z" G.P. Putnam's Sons
"Gracie: A Love Story" G.P. Putnam's Sons
"Wisdom of the 90s" G.P. Putnam's Sons
"George Burns and the Hundred Yard Dash" Simon & Schuster
"100 Years, 100 Stories" G.P. Putnam's Sons
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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