JACKIE GLEASON BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Jackie Gleason was born on February 26th, 1916 in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York with the birth name Herbert John Gleason. Both of his parents were from County Cork, Ireland. He was educated in the New York Public School system and after school he was briefly involved in boxing as well as working as a carnival barker and a pool hustler. His father, Herb Gleason worked as an insurance clerk and was an avid alcoholic who left his family when Gleason was only nine years old. He lost his younger brother and an older brother whom both fell ill. By the age of nineteen, Gleason lost his mother too and was left to fend for himself.
He began working in the entertainment industry as a comedian in nightclubs. By the 1950's he became involved in writing original music and recording a series of albums that became quite popular. Jackie worked with Capital Records and had his own orchestra.
When Gleason was working at New York's Club 18, Jack Warner spotted him and offered him a film contract with a salary of $250 per week. By the time he was twenty four years old he was working in the film industry on such films as, "Navy Blues" (1941), "All Through the Night" (1941), "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp" (1942) and "Orchestra Wives" (1942).
He was always known for how much he disliked rehearsing whether it was for his music or a television production. He was also always known for disliking working with young children. He lived a wild party life and would spend his money as fast as he earned it. Hollywood was not really impressed with him and it was not until he appeared on Broadway in a play, "Follow the Girls" (1944) that he actually became an actor appreciated for his talents.
His big break was in 1949 when he got a role on a television show based off a radio show called, "The Life of Riley". Gleason was then hired to host DuMont's, "Cavalcade of Stars" variety hour in 1950. The show soon was renamed, "The Jackie Gleason Show" and it became the second highest rated television show during the 1954-1954 season.
Even though his professional life was quite successful, his personal life was full of alcohol addiction and a lifestyle which often lead to exhaustion. He is well known for portraying the character, Ralph Kramden on, "The Honeymooners" which was a situation comedy series airing between 1955 and 1956. When the show went into syndication it earned a large audience and became a television icon.
Gleason also made various other television appearances such as, "The Laugh Maker" (1953) and "The Time of Your Life" (1958). Gleason was also responsible for writing, producing and starring in the film, "Gigot" (1962) which was not a success followed by two more unsuccessful films, "How to Commit Marriage" (1969) and "Don't Drink the Water" (1969).
His most famous film roles were, "The Hustler" (1961) starring alongside of Paul Newman, Piper Laurie and George C. Scott in which he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and "Smokey and the Bandit" (1977) which was a movie series. He also earned himself positive critic reviews when he was cast on an HBO special, "Mr. Halpern and Mr. Johnson" (1983).
Jackie Gleason was married three times throughout his life. First to Genevieve Halford from September 20th, 1936 through June 24th, 1970 and together they had two children, one of whom became an actress, Linda Miller. He then married for a second time to, Beverly McKittrick from July 4th, 1970 through November 24th, 1975. His third and final marriage was to Marilyn Gleason from December 16th, 1975 through June 24th, 1987 when he passed away in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from colon and liver cancer. He is buried in Miami.
Gleason was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 1986. He also won Broadway's 1960 Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for, "Take Me Along", however he never won an Emmy. He was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording and for Television. Miami Beach honored him by renaming the Miami Beach Auditorium, the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts.
1986 Nothing in Common
1985 Izzy & Moe
1983 Mr. Halpern and Mr. Johnson
1983 Smokey and the Bandit Part 3
1983 The Sting II
1982 The Toy
1980 Smokey and the Bandit II
1978 Jackie Gleason's Honeymooners' Christmas
1978 The Honeymooners Valentine Special
1977 The Honeymooners Christmas Special
1977 Smokey and the Bandit
1977 Mr. Billion
1976 The Captain and Tennille
1976 The Honeymooners Second Honeymoon
1975 A Lucille Ball Special Starring Lucille Ball and Jackie Gleason
1973 The Jackie Gleason Special
1970 How Do I Love Thee?
1966-1970 The Jackie Gleason Show
1969 Don't Drink the Water
1969 How to Commit Marriage
1968 Here's Lucy
1966 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre
1962-1966 Jackie Gleason and His American Scene Magazine
1963 Soldier in the Rain
1963 Papa's Delicate Condition
1962 Requiem for a Heavyweight
1961 The Hustler
1960 The Big Sell
1960 The Secret World of Eddie Hodges
1958 Playhouse 90
1952-1957 The Jackie Gleason Show
1955-1956 The Honeymooners
1953-1955 Studio One in Hollywood
1954-1955 The Red Skelton Hour
1955 The Best of Broadway
1951 Cavalcade of Stars
1951 The James Melton Show
1951 Musical Comedy Time
1951 The Frank Sinatra Show
1950 The Desert Hawk
1949-1950 The Life of Riley
1942 Springtime in the Rockies
1942 Orchestra Wives
1942 Escape from Crime
1942 Larceny, Inc.
1942 Tramp, Tramp, Tramp
1942 Lady Gangster
1941 Steel Against the Sky
1941 All Through the Night
1941 Navy Blues