BERLE, MILTON (formerly Mendel Berlinger; 1908–2002), U.S. comedian, known as "Mr. Television" and "Uncle Miltie." Born in New York, Berle played in nightclubs, films, and Broadway shows, including the Ziegfeld Follies of 1943. From 1948 to 1956 he did a weekly variety show on television in modern slapstick style. In the 1960s he also appeared in serious parts, including a role in the film The Loved One. Berle's career began when he was five years old and spanned more than 80 years on stage, film, radio, and television. At the age of five, Berle won a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest. And as a child he appeared in the silent films The   Perils of Pauline and Tillie's Punctured Romance. He moved up through the vaudeville circuit, finding his niche in the role of a brash comic known for stealing the material of fellow comedians. In 1931, he played the Palace Theater in New York, becoming the youngest master of ceremonies on Broadway. He also wrote some 400 published songs. But it was on television in the 1940s and 1950s that he made his most enduring mark. The Texaco Star Theater, featuring Berle and guest stars in what would become legendary comic skits, debuted in 1948 and caught on with the public almost immediately. It became a Tuesday night fixture in homes across America and was credited with helping sell millions of first-time TV sets to a nation just getting acquainted with the new medium. Known for his trademark cigars and for occasionally donning women's clothes to get a laugh, Berle, who hosted the show, was a mainstay on network television for nearly two decades. Even before his television success, he was reportedly one of the highest-paid comedians in show business. But Texaco Star Theater cemented Berle's fame. NBC gave him a "lifetime contract" of 30 years in 1951, paying him $200,000 a year. In 1954 the show, replete with singers, comedians, acrobats, and comedy skits, was renamed The Milton Berle Show. In 1965, Berle renegotiated his 30-year contract with NBC, allowing him to appear on any network. He later made guest appearances in dramas as well as comedy programs. In addition to television, Berle's career in later years included film, nightclubs, and benefit shows. He was the subject of nearly every show business tribute and award, including TV specials devoted to his contributions and legacy in broadcasting. He won an Emmy award in 1949 for Most Outstanding Kinescope Personality and received another Emmy in 1979 for Lifetime Achievement. He was one of the first members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame, and for more than a decade he was president of the Friars Club. In 1984 he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, and he was the first entertainer to be inducted into the International Comedy Hall of Fame (1991). In 1996 he was awarded the American Comedy Lifetime Achievement Award. Berle also wrote a number of books: Laughingly Yours (1939); Out of My Trunk (an autobiography, 1945); Earthquake (1959); Milton Berle: An Autobiography (with Haskel Frankel, 1974); B.S. I Love You: Sixty Funny Years with the Famous and the Infamous (a collection of stories and anecdotes, 1987); Milton Berle's Private Joke File (1989); and More of the Best of Milton Berle's Private Joke File (1993). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Allen, The Funny Men (1956); D. Glut and J. Harmon, The Great Television Heroes (1975); W. Berle and B. Lewis, My Father Uncle Miltie (1999); J. Forray, I Laughed Until I Cried: My Life with Milton Berle, Broadway, Hollywood, and Beyond (2002). (Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Berle,Milton — Berle (bûrl), Milton. Originally Milton Berlinger. Born 1908. American entertainer and comedian. His television series Texaco Star Theater (1948 1956) earned him the name “Mr. Television.” * * * …   Universalium

  • Berle, Milton — orig. Milton Berlinger born July 12, 1908, New York, N.Y., U.S. died March 27, 2002, Los Angeles, Calif. U.S. comedian. He appeared in vaudeville from age 10 and later acted in more than 50 silent films. He worked chiefly as a nightclub comedian… …   Universalium

  • Berle, Milton — orig. Milton Berlinger (12 jul. 1908, Nueva York, N.Y., EE.UU.–27 mar. 2002, Los Ángeles, Cal.). Comediante estadounidense. A la edad de 10 años comenzó su carrera en espectáculos de vodevil y más tarde actuó en más de 50 películas mudas. Trabajó …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Milton Berle — Berle at the 41st Primetime Emmy Awards in 1989 Born Milton Berlinger July 12, 1908(1908 07 12) Manhattan, New York, U.S …   Wikipedia

  • Milton Berle — Nombre real Mendel Berlinger Nacimiento 12 de julio de 1908 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Milton Berle — [Milton Berle] (1908–2002) a US ↑comedian known as ‘Mister Television’. He became the first national television star in the 1950s with his programme Texaco Star Theater …   Useful english dictionary

  • Berle (disambiguation) — Berle is the surname of these notable people:* Adolf Berle (1895 1971), U.S. educator and diplomat * Marshall Berle * Milton Berle (1908 2002), U.S. comedian and actoree also* Emmanuel Berl …   Wikipedia

  • Milton — Milton, John * * * (as used in expressions) Babbitt, Milton (Byron) Berle, Milton Milton Berlinger John Milton Cage, Jr. Friedman, Milton Hart, Lorenz (Milton) Hay, John (Milton) Milton Gruenwald Lear, Norman (Milton) Milton, John Obote, (Apollo) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Milton — /mil tn/, n. 1. John, 1608 74, English poet. 2. a town in SE Ontario, in S Canada. 28,067. 3. a town in E Massachusetts, near Boston. 25,860. 4. a male given name: a family name taken from a placename meaning mill town. * * * (as used in… …   Universalium

  • Milton Berle — und seine Frau bei der Premiere von Bette Midler s The Rose 1979 (Foto: Alan Light) Milton Berle (bürgerlich: Mendel Berlinger; * 12. Juli 1908 in New York, N.Y.; † 27. März 2002 in Los Angeles in Kaliforni …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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