Jackie Gleason


Actor, Comedian
Jackie Gleason

About

Also Known As
Herbert John Gleason, Jackie C. Gleason
Birth Place
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Born
February 26, 1916
Died
June 24, 1987
Cause of Death
Colon Cancer

Biography

Dubbed "The Great One" by none other than Orson Welles and beloved as one of the biggest stars of television's golden era, multi-talented comedic actor Jackie Gleason enjoyed a life and career as robust as his onscreen persona. After gaining recognition as a performer in the nightclubs of New York and on the stages of Broadway - interrupted by a brief, unsatisfying stint in Hollywood - G...

Photos & Videos

The Hustler - Movie Poster
Gigot - Movie Poster
All Through the Night - Scene Stills

Family & Companions

Genevieve Halford
Wife
Married September 20, 1936; leagally separated on December 15, 1954; divorced 1971; mother of Gleason's two daughters.
Honey Merrill
Companion
Former secretary. Together from 1956 until 1970.
Beverly McKittrick
Wife
Married 1971; divorced 1974.
Marilyn Taylor
Wife
Originally dated c. 1953; sister of dancer June Taylor; married in 1975 until his death.

Bibliography

"Jackie Gleason: An Intimate Portrait of the Great One"
W J Weatherby, Pharos Books (1992)
"The Great One: The Life and Legend of Jackie Gleason"
William A Henry III, Doubleday (1992)

Notes

Although he was nominated for an Emmy Award, Gleason never won one.

He recorded nearly 40 albums with the Jackie Gleason Orchestra.

Biography

Dubbed "The Great One" by none other than Orson Welles and beloved as one of the biggest stars of television's golden era, multi-talented comedic actor Jackie Gleason enjoyed a life and career as robust as his onscreen persona. After gaining recognition as a performer in the nightclubs of New York and on the stages of Broadway - interrupted by a brief, unsatisfying stint in Hollywood - Gleason took on the new medium of television as the star of "Cavalcade of Stars" (DuMont, 1949-1952). There, he introduced several of his famous long-running characters, including Reginald Van Gleason III, The Poor Soul, and Joe the Bartender. But it was another character, New York bus driver Ralph Kramden, that led to the creation of "The Honeymooners" (CBS, 1955-56), considered one of the greatest programs in the history of television. Often underappreciated for his substantial dramatic talent, Gleason was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in "The Hustler" (1961) and earned high marks for his turn in "Requiem for a Heavyweight" (1962). A decade and a half later, he attracted scores of new fans as the caustic Sheriff Buford T. Justice in the Burt Reynolds hit "Smokey and the Bandit" (1977). More film work and the occasional "Honeymooners" revival occupied Gleason's later years, although he never abandoned his favorite pastimes - golf, food and alcohol - even as his health declined. A revered entertainer to generations of fans, Gleason's famous tagline of "How sweet it is!" reflected both his body of work and his thirst for life.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Nothing in Common (1986)
Izzy and Moe (1985)
SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT, PART 3 (1983)
The Toy (1982)
The Sting II (1982)
Smokey And The Bandit II (1980)
Mr. Billion (1977)
Smokey And The Bandit (1977)
How Do I Love Thee? (1970)
Stanley Waltz
How To Commit Marriage (1969)
Oliver Poe
Don't Drink the Water (1969)
Walter Hollander
Skidoo (1968)
Tony Banks
Papa's Delicate Condition (1963)
Jack "Papa" Griffith
Soldier in the Rain (1963)
M/Sgt. Maxwell Slaughter
Gigot (1962)
Gigot
Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)
Maish Rennick
The Hustler (1961)
Minnesota Fats
The Desert Hawk (1950)
Aladdin
Springtime in the Rockies (1942)
The Commissioner
Tramp, Tramp, Tramp (1942)
Hank [Tomlin]
Orchestra Wives (1942)
Ben Beck
Escape from Crime (1942)
Convict
Larceny, Inc. (1942)
Hobart
All Through the Night (1942)
Starchy
Lady Gangster (1942)
Wilson
Steel Against the Sky (1941)
Cliff
Navy Blues (1941)
Tubby

Writer (Feature Film)

The Wool Cap (2005)
Source Material (From Original Story: "Gigot")
Gigot (1962)
Story

Music (Feature Film)

The Irishman (2018)
Song
The Irishman (2018)
Song Performer
Whatever Works (2009)
Song Performer
We Own the Night (2007)
Song Performer
Northfork (2003)
Song Performer ("It All Depends On You")
Hollywood Ending (2002)
Song Performer
Return to Me (2000)
Song
Blast from the Past (1999)
Song ("Honeymooner'S Theme")
Resurrection Man (1997)
Song Performer ("Melancholy Serenade")
Resurrection Man (1997)
Song
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Song Performer ("But Not For Me")
Nadine (1987)
Song Performer ("Love Is Here To Stay")
Izzy and Moe (1985)
Music
Gigot (1962)
Music Composition

Director (Special)

The Honeymooners Christmas Special (1978)
Director
The Honeymooners Valentine Special (1978)
Director
The Honeymooners Christmas (1977)
Director
The Honeymooners Second Honeymoon (1976)
Director

Cast (Special)

60 Minutes... 25 Years (1993)
The Television Academy Hall of Fame (1986)
Performer
Today at Night, Volume II (1986)
The Honeymooners Anniversary Celebration (1985)
Host
The Honeymooners Reunion (1985)
Host
Seasons Greeting From the Honeymooners (1985)
Host
Mr. Halperin and Mr. Johnson (1983)
The Honeymooners Christmas Special (1978)
Ralph Kramden; A Bus Driver
The Honeymooners Valentine Special (1978)
Ralph Kramden; A Bus Driver
The Honeymooners Christmas (1977)
Ralph Kramden; A Bus Driver
The Honeymooners Second Honeymoon (1976)
Ralph Kramden; A Bus Driver
A Lucille Ball Special Starring Lucille Ball and Jackie Gleason (1975)
A Show Business Salute to Milton Berle (1973)
The Jackie Gleason Special (1973)
Host
The Million Dollar Incident (1961)
Jackie Gleason
The Big Sell (1960)
Guest
Step on the Gas (1960)
Guest
The Showoff (1955)
Aubrey Piper

Music (Special)

The Honeymooners Christmas Special (1978)
Music
The Honeymooners Valentine Special (1978)
Music Conductor
The Honeymooners Christmas Special (1978)
Music Conductor
The Honeymooners Valentine Special (1978)
Music
The Honeymooners Christmas (1977)
Music Conductor
The Honeymooners Christmas (1977)
Music
The Honeymooners Second Honeymoon (1976)
Music
The Honeymooners Second Honeymoon (1976)
Music Conductor

Life Events

1931

Won an amatuer night contest in Brooklyn at age 15 (date approximate)

1935

First professional nightclub appearance in Newark, NJ

1938

Made Broadway debut in "Hellzapoppin'"

1940

Put under contract by Warner Bros after Jack Warner spotted him performing at a Manhattan nightclub

1941

Feature film debut in "Navy Blues"

1948

Made TV debut on "Talk of the Town", hosted by Ed Sullivan

1949

Made TV series debut starring in "The Life of Riley" (NBC), show filmed in California

1950

Returned to NYC

1953

Recorded first album for Capitol Records

1953

Had first dramatic role in "The Laughmaker", co-starring Art Carney

1955

Signed $14 million contract with CBS and Buick (the sponsor of his variety series)

1961

Earned Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Minnesota Fats in "The Hustler"

1961

Hosted disastrous "You're in the Picture" (CBS)

1961

Wrote and starred in "The Million Dollar Incident" (CBS)

1962

Co-wrote and starred in "Gigot"; also wrote the music score

1963

Starred as Jack Griffith in "Papa's Delicate Condition"

1964

Permanently moved to Florida

1968

Co-starred in the disastrous "Skidoo"

1977

First played Sheriff Buford T Justice in "Smokey and the Bandit"; would appear in two sequels

1978

Returned to Broadway for brief run in "Sly Fox"

1983

Starred with Laurence Olivier in the HBO TV-movie "Mr. Halpern and Mr. Johnson"

1985

Reteamed with Art Carney as co-stars in the CBS TV-movie "Izzy and Moe"; also wrote the musical score

1986

Made final film appearance in "Nothing in Common", playing Tom Hanks' father

Photo Collections

The Hustler - Movie Poster
Here is an original release Half-Sheet movie poster for The Hustler (1961), starring Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason. Half-sheets measured 22 x 28 inches and usually featured different artwork from the movie's One-Sheet poster.
Gigot - Movie Poster
Gigot - Movie Poster
All Through the Night - Scene Stills
Here are several scene stills from Warner Bros' All Through the Night (1942), starring Humphrey Bogart, Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre, and Jane Darwell.

Videos

Movie Clip

All Through The Night (1942) - Miracle On 48th Street Future TV stars William Demarest, Phil Silvers and Jackie Gleason in the opening scene, when their ringleader Gloves (Humphrey Bogart) appears, sidekick Barney (Frank McHugh) joining, ex-actor Vincent Sherman directing, in Warner Bros' gangster-comedy-propaganda hybrid All Through The Night, 1942.
Larceny, Inc. (1942) - I'm Allergic To Badges Ex-cons Pressure (Edward G. Robinson), Weepy (Edward Brophy) and Jug (Broderick Crawford) need to find a way to case the luggage store next door to the bank they're thinking about robbing, young Jackie Gleason the unwitting counter-man, early in Warner Bros.' Larceny Inc., 1942.
Hustler, The (1961) - He's A Loser Well into their marathon first match, now observed by gambler/promoter Gordon (George C. Scott), who was summoned to the table by Fats (Jackie Gleason), Eddie (Paul Newman), though well ahead, refuses when partner Charlie (Myron McCormick) advises him to quit, in Robert Rossen’s The Hustler, 1961.
Requiem For A Heavyweight (1962) - No More Fights Defeated "Mountain" Rivera (Anthony Quinn) learns from manager Maish (Jackie Gleason) and trainer Army (Mickey Rooney) that he can't risk another fight, early in Requiem for a Heavyweight, 1962, directed by Ralph Nelson from Rod Serling's script.
Requiem For A Heavyweight (1962) - The Old Pro Won't Quit Famous opening with Cassius Clay, before he was Muhammad Ali, who has just pounded "Mountain Rivera" (Anthony Quinn), Mickey Rooney and Jackie Gleason helping the loser from the ring, in Requiem for a Heavyweight, 1962, directed by Ralph Nelson from Rod Serling's script.
Hustler, The (1961) - I Hear You've Been Looking For Me Shooting in the Ames Billiard Academy on Times Square, Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) has made a grand entrance and Eddie (Paul Newman, title character), with partner Charlie (Myron McCormick), confirms that he’s looking for a game, their first meeting, in Robert Rossen’s The Hustler, 1961.
Soldier In The Rain (1963) - Being A Fat Narcissist Sgt. Clay (Steve McQueen) delivers a cleaning detail to his chosen role-model Master Sgt. Slaughter (Jackie Gleason), the two then trading new underwear for wisdom, in Soldier In The Rain, 1963, Ralph Nelson directing from the William Goldman novel.
Smokey And The Bandit (1977) - Complete Lack Of Respect Bandit (Burt Reynolds) and fugitive bride Carrie (Sally Field) getting to know each other, while Cledus (Jerry Reed), running the beer, is really starting to bother pursuing Texas sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason), provoking his famous line, in Smokey And The Bandit, 1977.
Skidoo - Induction Tony enters jail and meets cellmates Leech (Michael Constantine) and Professor (Austin Pendleton) in Otto Preminger's Skidoo, 1968.
Skidoo - Open, Remotes Tony and Flo (Jackie Gleason and Carol Channing) discover remarkable TV fare as they battle with remotes in this opening scene from Skidoo, 1968.
Skidoo - Trip Early stages of retired mobster Tony Banks' (Jackie Gleason) acid trip, with help from Professor (Austin Pendleton) in Otto Preminger's Skidoo, 1968.
Skidoo - Blue Chips Mickey Rooney is super cool as inmate "Blue Chips" Packard, contacted by Tony (Jackie Gleason) and the Professor (Austin Pendleton) in Skidoo, 1968.

Trailer

Requiem for a Heavyweight - (Original Trailer) Anthony Quinn is an aging boxer trying to escape a crooked manager (Jackie Gleason) in Rod Serling's drama Requiem For A Heavyweight (1962).
Navy Blues (1941) - (Original Trailer) Look for a young Jackie Gleason with lots of Warners' best comedians in the service comedy Navy Blues (1941).
Gigot - (Original Trailer) A mute janitor (Jackie Gleason) takes in a prostitute and her young daughter in Gigot (1962), directed by Gene Kelly.
All Through the Night - (Original Trailer) A criminal gang turns patriotic to track down a Nazi spy ring in All Through the Night (1942) starring Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre.
Smokey And The Bandit - (Original Trailer) The Bandit (Burt Reynolds) clears the road of Smokey (Jackie Gleason) for a cross-country beer run in Smokey And The Bandit (1977).
Steel Against The Sky - (Original Trailer) Future husband and wife Craig Stevens and Alexis Smith first met on the bridge-building drama Steel Against The Sky (1941).
Hustler, The - (Original Trailer) A pool shark (Paul Newman) falls into the clutches of a crooked gambler (George C. Scott).
Escape From Crime - (Original Trailer) Escape From Crime (1942), a remake of the Cagney movie Picture Snatcher (1933) with an appearance by a young Jackie Gleason.
Lady Gangster - (Original Trailer) Faye Emerson is an aspiring actress who double-crosses bank robbers when she becomes Lady Gangster (1942).
Larceny, Inc. - (Original Trailer) Edward G. Robinson parodies his gangster roles in the comic heist movie Larceny, Inc. (1942) as an ex-con who buys a store as a front for robbery.

Family

Herb Gleason
Father
Insurance auditor. Abandoned the family when Gleason was nine years old on December 15, 1925.
Mae Gleason
Mother
Subway booth attendant. Died in 1932.
Clemence Gleason
Brother
Older; died in 1919.
Geraldine Gleason
Daughter
Born July 31, 1939; mother, Genevieve Halford.
Linda Gleason
Daughter
Actor. Born on September 16, 1941; mother, Genevieve Halford; formerly married to writer-actor Jason Miller, with whom she had three children including actor Jason Patric.
Jason Patric
Grandson
Born June 1966; mother, Linda Gleason; father, Jason Miller.

Companions

Genevieve Halford
Wife
Married September 20, 1936; leagally separated on December 15, 1954; divorced 1971; mother of Gleason's two daughters.
Honey Merrill
Companion
Former secretary. Together from 1956 until 1970.
Beverly McKittrick
Wife
Married 1971; divorced 1974.
Marilyn Taylor
Wife
Originally dated c. 1953; sister of dancer June Taylor; married in 1975 until his death.

Bibliography

"Jackie Gleason: An Intimate Portrait of the Great One"
W J Weatherby, Pharos Books (1992)
"The Great One: The Life and Legend of Jackie Gleason"
William A Henry III, Doubleday (1992)

Notes

Although he was nominated for an Emmy Award, Gleason never won one.

He recorded nearly 40 albums with the Jackie Gleason Orchestra.

Inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1986.

"Jackie Gleason is my favorite two comedians." --Miton Berle

"Critics report on accidents to eye witnesses." --Jackie Gleason

"Everyone is insecure to a degree. My business is composed of a mass of crisis. It all adds up to the manufacturing of insecurity. Some people find escape in comfort, dames, liquor, or food. But that is not enough." --Jackie Gleason

"Playing a serious rle is easy for a comedian, It's the other way around that's tough. Name one serious actor who can make it in comedy." --Gleason quoted in press material for "Nothing in Common" (1986)

"As my wife would tell you, I am not entralled with awards - I would rather received payment for my performance." --Jackie Gleason in a 1985 TV interview