Ed Wynn was a giggling, squeaky-voiced vaudeville comic who became one of Hollywood's best-loved performers.
Wynn was a master performer in drama as well as comedy. After 53 years as a comic, he turned to dramatic roles in 1956 and scored several notable successes, including his portrayal of a prize fight trainer in "Requiem for a Heavyweight," a television play.
But it was his zany comedy roles — the outlandish costumes and fluttering hand gestures — that most audiences will remember him for.
Delivering his lines with a slight lisp and nervous laugh, he would exhibit such inventions as his 11-foot pole "for people you wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole" and a bell-less alarm clock "for people who don't have to get up."
The man whose career touched the golden years of vaudeville, radio and the movies, and even the early years of television, was the son of a Philadelphia businessman.
Wynn made his acting debut when he was 16 with a touring repertory company in New England.
He wrote, managed, produced and starred in such shows as "The Ed Wynn Carnival," "The Grab Bag" and "The Perfect Fool." The last title became a personal nickname that Wynn adopted.
When television came along, he was among the first big names in Hollywood to try the new medium, starring in the premiere telecast of "The Ed Wynn Show," the first to originate from Hollywood on KTTV in 1949.
Late in his career, Wynn went to work on a serious role in "Requiem for a Heavyweight." It was a role that won him wide acclaim. He went on to play serious parts in in another television drama, "The Great American Hoax," and in two movies, "Marjorie Morningstar" and "The Great Man."
Wynn was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance as the dentist in "The Diary of Anne Frank."
Points of interest
|1959||Best Supporting Actor||The Diary of Anne Frank||Nomination|