Ed Wynn


Actor

About

Also Known As
Isaiah Edwin Leopold
Birth Place
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Born
November 09, 1886
Died
June 19, 1966
Cause of Death
Cancer Of The Neck

Biography

Hugely popular vaudeville and Broadway comedian who, after being boycotted by the Shuberts for organizing an actor's strike, continued his success by writing and producing his own shows. Billed as "The Perfect Fool" after the title of one of his Broadway shows, Wynn was known for his trademark zany hats, misfit clothes, oversized shoes, lisping speech, fluttering hands, squeaky giggling ...

Photos & Videos

Son of Flubber - Pressbook
The Absent-Minded Professor - Pressbook
The Absent-Minded Professor - Movie Poster

Family & Companions

Hilda Keenan
Wife
Actor. Married in 1914; divorced in 1937; daughter of Irish-American actor Frank Keenan.
Frieda Mierse
Wife
Showgirl. Married 1937; divorced 1939; married one month after divorce from Hilda Keenan.
Dorothy Elizabeth Nesbitt
Wife
Married 1946; marriage dissolved 1955.

Bibliography

"Philosophy of a Fool"
Ed Wynn (1933)

Notes

"No one can exceed him in solid, impenetrable asininity. But no one can, at the same time, be more amiable, well-meaning and attractive. Nature gave him a large and solemn face which seemed to promise an unending series of well-intentioned blunders, and his art, succeeds, somehow, in giving the impression that his career has been more the result of the following with an admirable consistency Polonius's advise--"To thine own self be true.'"--Joseph Wood Krutch wrote in "The Nation" (quoted in "New York Times" obituary, June 20, 1966)

Wynn's name is honored in the last two call letters of radio station WNEW, the only vestige of the proposed Amalgamated Broadcasting System in which he played a prominent role.

Biography

Hugely popular vaudeville and Broadway comedian who, after being boycotted by the Shuberts for organizing an actor's strike, continued his success by writing and producing his own shows. Billed as "The Perfect Fool" after the title of one of his Broadway shows, Wynn was known for his trademark zany hats, misfit clothes, oversized shoes, lisping speech, fluttering hands, squeaky giggling and his exit line, "I'll be back in a flash with more trash." Progenitor of a topsy-turvy career, Wynn conquered radio with his first-time broadcast of a full-length comedy show to a radio audience in 1922 and followed with his own popular radio series as the Texaco "Fire Chief" (1932-35). He pioneered in combining his comedy routines with spoofs of the sponsor's commercial messages. Primarily a visual comic, he reemerged in the following decade as a popular figure in the new medium of television, winning the first Emmy Award as Most Outstanding Live Personality. In the late 50s, after having appeared in only a handful of films, Wynn began a successful career as a character actor, playing his first dramatic role in "The Great Man" (1956) and following with an Oscar-nominated performance as the Dutch dentist in "The Diary of Anne Frank" (1959). He alternated dramatic roles with the comedies "Cinderfella" (1960), "The Absentminded Professor" (1961) and "Mary Poppins" (1964). Father of actor Keenan Wynn (1916-86) who co-starred with him in "The Great Man" and the 1956 Rod Steiger teleplay "Requiem for a Heavyweight."

Life Events

1903

Began vaudeville career

1910

Broadway debut in short-lived musical, "The Deacon and the Lady"

1914

Made stage debut in "Ziegfeld Follies of 1914"

1919

Joined actor's strike, subsequently boycotted by Shuberts

1920

Wrote and produced own shows beginning with Broadway musical revue, "Ed Wynn's Carnival"

1922

Made first broadcast of a full-length comedy show to a radio audience

1927

Film debut, "Rubber Heels"

1930

First sound film, "Follow the Leader"

1932

Starred in his first radio series, "The Fire Chief"

1940

Returned to Broadway in "Boys and Girls Together"

1956

Played dramatic role in Rod Serling's teleplay, "Requiem for a Heavyweight" on "Playhouse 90"

1957

Played first straight dramatic film role in "The Great Man" (filmed 1956, released 1957)

1964

Had featured role in the Disney film "Mary Poppins"

Photo Collections

Son of Flubber - Pressbook
Here is the original campaign book (pressbook) for Disney's Son of Flubber (1963), starring Fred MacMurray. Pressbooks were sent to exhibitors and theater owners to aid them in publicizing the film's run in their theater.
The Absent-Minded Professor - Pressbook
Here is the original campaign book (pressbook) for Disney's The Absent-Minded Professor (1961), starring Fred MacMurray. Pressbooks were sent to exhibitors and theater owners to aid them in publicizing the film's run in their theater.
The Absent-Minded Professor - Movie Poster
Here is the original release American 3-Sheet movie poster for the Walt Disney film, The Absent-Minded Professor (1961), starring Fred MacMurray.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Family

Joseph Leopold
Father
Women's hat manufacturer and retailer. Born near Prague.
Minnie Leopold
Mother
Born of Sephardic Jews in Istanbul, Turkey.
Tracy Keenan Wynn
Grandson
Screenwriter.
Ned Wynn
Grandson
Author of autobiographical "We Will Always Live in Beverly Hills" (1991).

Companions

Hilda Keenan
Wife
Actor. Married in 1914; divorced in 1937; daughter of Irish-American actor Frank Keenan.
Frieda Mierse
Wife
Showgirl. Married 1937; divorced 1939; married one month after divorce from Hilda Keenan.
Dorothy Elizabeth Nesbitt
Wife
Married 1946; marriage dissolved 1955.

Bibliography

"Philosophy of a Fool"
Ed Wynn (1933)

Notes

"No one can exceed him in solid, impenetrable asininity. But no one can, at the same time, be more amiable, well-meaning and attractive. Nature gave him a large and solemn face which seemed to promise an unending series of well-intentioned blunders, and his art, succeeds, somehow, in giving the impression that his career has been more the result of the following with an admirable consistency Polonius's advise--"To thine own self be true.'"--Joseph Wood Krutch wrote in "The Nation" (quoted in "New York Times" obituary, June 20, 1966)

Wynn's name is honored in the last two call letters of radio station WNEW, the only vestige of the proposed Amalgamated Broadcasting System in which he played a prominent role.