Actor. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, the youngest of three children, in the late 1920s, he drifted to New York City, where he had numerous jobs including selling vacuum cleaners, clerking at Macy's, and working as a runner on Wall Street. He then made two trips to South America as an ordinary seaman on an ocean liner, after which he was fired for disobeying orders. In 1933 he joined Eva Le Gallienne's theatre company in New York. His debut role of Red Barry in 'Little Ol' Boy', a play of reform school life gained him notice. His film premier was 'Winterset' in 1936. He was a founder of the New Stage Society in 1937 and in the following year served as vice president of Actors' Equity. He attracted attention as 'George' in a 1939 film adaptation of the book 'Of Mice and Men'. His career was put on hold during World War II when he joined the United States Army Air Corps, where he attained a captaincy. With the end of the war he demonstrated his versatility in both dramatic and comedic roles, and appeared in four different starring roles in the 'The Twilight Zone' until being named an unfriendly witness and blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee, after which studio work disappeared. There is a conspicuous gap in his filmography between 1950 and 1957 as a result. With the help of industry friend including Otto Preminger, Meredith came back to the screen with a vengeance appearing in more than eighty roles after the end of his working exile, most memorably perhaps as 'The Penguin' on the television series "Batman". In 1960, he received a special Tony Award for 'A Thurber Carnival'. He appeared in 'Madame X' in 1966 with Lana Turner; and 'Stay Away, Joe' with Elvis Presley in 1968. He was nominated for a Tony Award in 1974 as Best Director for 'Ulysses in Nighttown.' He landed the role of Rocky Balboa's trainer, 'Mickey', in 'Rocky', to great acclaim. He returned for four of the five 'Rocky' sequels, appearing in flashback in 'Rocky V'. He earned back-to-back Academy Award nominations, in 1975 for 'The Day of the Locust' and in 1976 for 'Rocky'. He also did a great deal of voice over work, serving as the spokesman for Skippy Peanut Butter and United Air Lines, among others including the narrator's role in 'Twilight Zone: The Movie' in 1983. His last films included the 'Grumpy Old Men' duology the last of which was released in 1995. He died two years later at his home in Malibu, California.
Bio by: Iola