Biography

Isaiah Edwin Leopold (November 9, 1886 – June 19, 1966), better known as Ed Wynn, was an American actor and comedian noted for his Perfect Fool comedy character, his pioneering radio show of the 1930s, and his later career as a dramatic actor.

Ed Wynn first appeared on television on July 7, 1936 in a brief, ad-libbed spot with Graham McNamee during an NBC experimental television broadcast. In the 1949–50 season, Ed Wynn hosted one of the first network, comedy-variety television shows, on CBS, and won both a Peabody Award and an Emmy Award in 1949. Buster Keaton, Lucille Ball, and The Three Stooges all made guest appearances with Wynn. This was the first CBS variety television show to originate from Los Angeles, which was seen live on the west coast, but filmed via kinescope for distribution in the Midwest and East, as the national coaxial cable had yet to be completed. Wynn was also a rotating host of NBC's Four Star Revue from 1950 through 1952.

After the end of Wynn's third television series, The Ed Wynn Show (a short-lived situation comedy on NBC's 1958–59 schedule), his son, actor Keenan Wynn, encouraged him to make a career change rather than retire. The comedian reluctantly began a career as a dramatic actor in television and movies. Father and son appeared in three productions, the first of which was the 1956 Playhouse 90 broadcast of Rod Serling's play Requiem for a Heavyweight. Ed was terrified of straight acting and kept goofing his lines in rehearsal. When the producers wanted to fire him, star Jack Palance said he would quit if they fired Ed. (However, unbeknownst to Wynn, supporting player Ned Glass was his secret understudy in case something did happen before air time.) On live broadcast night, Wynn surprised everyone with his pitch-perfect performance, and his quick ad libs to cover his mistakes. A dramatization of what happened during the production was later staged as an April 1960 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse episode, "The Man in the Funny Suit", starring both senior and junior Wynns, with key figures involved in the original production also portraying themselves. Ed and his son also worked together in the Jose Ferrer film The Great Man, with Ed again proving his unexpected skills in drama.

Requiem established Wynn as a serious dramatic actor who could easily hold his own with the best. His role in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) won him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Also in 1959, Wynn appeared on Serling's TV series The Twilight Zone in "One for the Angels". Serling, a longtime admirer, had written that episode especially for him, and Wynn later in 1963 starred in the episode "Ninety Years Without Slumbering". For the rest of his life, Wynn skillfully moved between comic and dramatic roles. He appeared in feature films and anthology television, endearing himself to new generations of fans.

Isaiah Edwin Leopold (November 9, 1886 – June 19, 1966), better known as Ed Wynn, was an American actor and comedian noted for his Perfect Fool comedy character, his pioneering radio show of the 1930s, and his later career as a dramatic actor.

Ed Wynn first appeared on television on July 7, 1936 in a brief, ad-libbed spot with Graham McNamee during an NBC experimental television broadcast. In the 1949–50 season, Ed Wynn hosted one of the first network, comedy-variety television shows, on CBS, and won both a Peabody Award and an Emmy Award in 1949. Buster Keaton, Lucille Ball, and The Three Stooges all made guest appearances with Wynn. This was the first CBS variety television show to originate from Los Angeles, which was seen live on the west coast, but filmed via kinescope for distribution in the Midwest and East, as the national coaxial cable had yet to be completed. Wynn was also a rotating host of NBC's Four Star Revue from 1950 through 1952.

After the end of Wynn's third television series, The Ed Wynn Show (a short-lived situation comedy on NBC's 1958–59 schedule), his son, actor Keenan Wynn, encouraged him to make a career change rather than retire. The comedian reluctantly began a career as a dramatic actor in television and movies. Father and son appeared in three productions, the first of which was the 1956 Playhouse 90 broadcast of Rod Serling's play Requiem for a Heavyweight. Ed was terrified of straight acting and kept goofing his lines in rehearsal. When the producers wanted to fire him, star Jack Palance said he would quit if they fired Ed. (However, unbeknownst to Wynn, supporting player Ned Glass was his secret understudy in case something did happen before air time.) On live broadcast night, Wynn surprised everyone with his pitch-perfect performance, and his quick ad libs to cover his mistakes. A dramatization of what happened during the production was later staged as an April 1960 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse episode, "The Man in the Funny Suit", starring both senior and junior Wynns, with key figures involved in the original production also portraying themselves. Ed and his son also worked together in the Jose Ferrer film The Great Man, with Ed again proving his unexpected skills in drama.

Requiem established Wynn as a serious dramatic actor who could easily hold his own with the best. His role in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) won him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Also in 1959, Wynn appeared on Serling's TV series The Twilight Zone in "One for the Angels". Serling, a longtime admirer, had written that episode especially for him, and Wynn later in 1963 starred in the episode "Ninety Years Without Slumbering". For the rest of his life, Wynn skillfully moved between comic and dramatic roles. He appeared in feature films and anthology television, endearing himself to new generations of fans.

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 42

Birthday 1886-11-09

Day of Death 1966-06-19

Place of Birth Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

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Acting TV ShowsMovies

2008 Shemp Cocktail: A Toast to the Original Stooge as Ed Wynn
1976 That's Entertainment, Part II
1967 The Gnome-Mobile as Rufus
1966 The Daydreamer as The Emperor
1965 That Darn Cat! as Mr. Hofstedder
1965 The Greatest Story Ever Told as Old Aram
1965 Those Calloways as Ed Parker
1964 Mary Poppins as Uncle Albert
1964 The Hollywood Palace(1 episode)
1963 Burke's Law(1 episode)
1963 Son of Flubber as A.J. Allen
1962 The New March of Dimes Presents: The Scene Stealers as Himself
1961 Babes in Toyland as Toymaker
1961 The Absent-Minded Professor as Fire Chief
1960 Cinderfella as Fairy Godfather
1959 The Twilight Zone(2 episodes) as Lou Bookman
1959 Meet Me in St. Louis as Grandpa
1959 The Diary of Anne Frank as Fritz Pfeffer
1959 Rawhide(1 episode)
1958 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse(1 episode)
1958 Marjorie Morningstar as Uncle Samson
1956 The Great Man as Paul Beaseley
1956 Requiem for a Heavyweight as Army
1956 The Dinah Shore Chevy Show(1 episode)
1956 The Steve Allen Show(2 episodes)
1955 The 20th Century Fox Hour(1 episode)
1954 Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color(1 episode)
1954 December Bride(1 episode)
1953 General Electric Theater(2 episodes)
1952 This Is Your Life(1 episode)
1951 Hallmark Hall of Fame(1 episode)
1951 Alice in Wonderland as Mad Hatter (voice)
1950 Four Star Revue(1 episode) as Host
1950 The Colgate Comedy Hour(3 episodes)
1949 The Ed Wynn Show(2 episodes)
1949 The Emmy Awards(1 episode)
1948 The Ed Sullivan Show(3 episodes)
1943 Stage Door Canteen as Ed Wynn
1933 The Chief as Henry Summers
1933 Turn Back the Clock as Cigar Store Customer (uncredited)
1932 Hollywood on Parade
1930 Follow the Leader as Crickets

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