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Overview for Jack Gilford
Jack Gilford

Jack Gilford



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Also Known As: Jacob Gellman Died: June 4, 1990
Born: July 25, 1908 Cause of Death: stomach cancer
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: Cast ... actor vaudevillian


Oscar-nominated comedic actor Jack Gilford got his start performing at nightclub amateur nights in the 1930s. There he developed a keen comedic timing and was known for his rubber-faced antics, pantomimes, and impressions. Though he had broken into film and television by the 1940s, his career was stunted in the 1950s when Gilford's outspoken tendencies on politics drew the attention of show biz career killers, the House Un-American Activities Committee (or HUAC). Both Gilford and his wife, actress Madeline Lee Gilford, were blacklisted as a result, and so they struggled to find work throughout the '50s. But as the decade drew to a close, so did the McCarthy Era, and by 1963, Gilford and another former blacklisted actor Zero Mostel were on Broadway in the wildly popular Rome-set farce "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." The pair reprised their roles in the film adaptation of the Broadway hit in 1966, earning the once-ostracized Gilford much deserved praise. In 1973, Gilford garnered an Oscar nod for his role opposite Jack Lemmon in the struggling businessman drama "Save the Tiger." Gilford went on to appear regularly in television, commercials, and films including a memorable role as the pessimistic Bernie in the touching science fiction drama "Cocoon." However, after a three-year struggle with stomach cancer, Gilford died at the age of 81. His son Joe scripted a play about his parents' Red Scare experiences titled "FINKS," which centers on the tragedy of the Gilfords' blacklisting.

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