Jack Gilford

Jack Gilford

New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 4 Jun 1990 (aged 81)
Greenwich Village, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA
Plot 76D-3/4 OF LOT 13A-2
Memorial ID 8128 · View Source
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Actor. Born Jacob Aaron Gellman in New York City, New York, his father worked in the fur industry, and his mother owned a restaurant. Discovered working in a pharmacy by comedian Milton Berle, he began performing in amateur theater, where he started doing imitations and impersonations. His first appearance in motion pictures was in a short entitled "Midnight Melodies." In 1938, he worked as the MC in the first downtown New York integrated nightclub, "Cafe Society." He created original spoofs on movies -- in one of them, he coined the now-common phrase "The butler did it". He believed deeply in social change in the United States, integration and Unions. He was quite active both socially and politically. He was put on the Hollywood blacklist in the 1950s, but managed to become successful mostly through roles on the Broadway stage, such as "Drink to me only," "Romanoff and Juliet," "The Diary of Anne Frank," and "No, No, Nanette." He met his future wife, Madeline, at political meetings in 1947. He was a blend of the earlier style of the Yiddish theater, Vaudeville and Burlesque and one of his specialties was pantomime, which was employed to a great extent in the ten years he was the face of the Cracker Jack TV commercials. He was nominated for several Tony awards for best supporting actor in "A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum" (1963), and for his role as Herr Schultz in "Cabaret" (1966). He was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor in 1972 for his role as Phil Green in "Save the Tiger." In 1976, Jack and Madeline Gifford joined forces with their longtime friends Zero and Kate Mostel to pen their joint autobiography, "170 Years in Show Business." Jack started to perform his one man shows in the 1980s. This included appearances at the Paramount Theater in Denver, as well as Town Hall NYC. He became a highly recognizable and loved comedic, serious and character actor. He made numerous appearances in television shows over the years. One of his last performances (if not the very last) was on the ABC TV series "Thirtysomething." After a three-year battle with stomach cancer, he died peacefully in his Greenwich Village home in Manhattan in 1990.

Bio by: Jane Stacy Eubanks

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JULY 25, 1908 - JUNE 4, 1990



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 13 Jan 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 8128
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jack Gilford (25 Jul 1908–4 Jun 1990), Find a Grave Memorial no. 8128, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .