Actor, Comedian. Best known for his classic television series "The Honeymooners" and his character of bus driver 'Ralph Kramden.' He started out in show business at the age of 15, after winning an amateur night contest at the Halsey Theater in Brooklyn. He was then hired by the manager as emcee. From that start, he began his career as a nightclub comic. He was discovered at New York's Club 18 by Jack Warner, who signed him to a contract. He then went to Hollywood and made five films, starting with "Navy Blues," which co-starred Jack Haley. After leaving Hollywood, he returned to New York, where he appeared on Broadway and made his television debut on Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town." After that, he appeared on the television series "The Life of Riley." From there he returned to nightclubs and the stage until he appeared on "Cavalcade of Stars," which made him an overnight sensation. He stayed on the show for two years, creating many of his famous characters, including 'Ralph Kramden', and 'Reginald Van Gleason the III,' among others. He left "Cavalcade of Stars" after signing a contract with CBS, where "The Honeymooners" debuted in 1955. The show co-starred now legendary telvision names like Audrey Meadows, Art Carney, and Joyce Randolph. The series only ran for one season, and thirty nine episodes were produced. Jackie Gleason also appeared in movies again, starring in movies such as "Gigot," "The Hustler," and "Papa's Delicate Condition," garnering an Academy Award nomination for "The Hustler." He had returned to Broadway as well, winning a Tony Award for "Take Me Along" in 1959. He composed several records as well during this time, his most popular possibly being "Music for Lovers Only." After starring in "The Jackie Gleason Show" in the 1960s, he would never star in a regular television series again. He revitalized his movie career in the 1970s with the "Smokey and the Bandit" movies, alongside Burt Reynolds. In 1985 he revealed the existence of 'lost episodes' of "The Honeymooners." These previously unseen episodes would introduce the show to a newer audience and further establish his standing as one of the greatest television performers of all time. Jackie Gleason had moved to Miami, Florida, in the 1960s, because he wanted to be able to play golf every day. He died at his home in Fort Lauderdale with his family at his bedside.
Clement J. Gleason
"AND AWAY WE GO"