Art Carney won a best actor Oscar for "Harry and Tonto" and originated the role of fussy Felix Ungar in "The Odd Couple" on Broadway, but is best remembered as Jackie Gleason's lovable sewer-worker pal Ed Norton on television's "The Honeymooners."
Clad in his trademark T-shirt, open vest and beat-up felt hat with upturned brim — a hat Carney paid $5 for in 1935 while still in high school — he became one of the most enduring second-bananas in TV history.
Carney viewed his lovable, dim-bulb Norton and Gleason's blustery bus driver Ralph Kramden as a Brooklyn version of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
Although quiet and introverted, Carney was a born mimic who by grade school was entertaining family members with his impressions of everyone from Edward G. Robinson to Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1950, he began his association with Gleason, the new host of "Cavalcade of Stars," a big-budget comedy-variety show on the DuMont television network. Carney originally played dozens of walk-on roles and character parts in Gleason sketches. He then began playing a number of regular characters.
"The Honeymooners" sketches were introduced in 1951.
When Gleason moved his variety show to CBS in 1952, "The Honeymooners" became the show's main sketch for the next three years. "The Honeymooners" then ran as a 39-episode, half-hour series from 1955 to 1956 before returning as a sketch for one season on the new "Jackie Gleason Show."
Carney said later that he and Gleason never had a cross word with each other.
|1974||Best Actor||Harry and Tonto||Win|