Bert Lahr

Actor, Vaudevillian, Burlesque performer
One of the leading burlesque and vaudeville stars who went on to Broadway musical comedies, Bert Lahr had a fitful and rather unremarkable film career highlighted only by his delightful turn as the Cowardly Lion in the ... Read more »
Born: 08/13/1895 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Actor (14)

The Night They Raided Minsky's 1968 (Movie)

Professor Spats (Actor)

The Man Who Came to Dinner 1954 - 1955 (TV Show)

Actor

Anything Goes 1953 - 1954 (TV Show)

Actor

Rose Marie 1954 (Movie)

Barney McCorkle (Actor)

Always Leave Them Laughing 1948 (Movie)

Eddie Eagen (Actor)

The Wizard of Oz 1938 (Movie)

Cowardly Lion (Actor)

Zaza 1938 (Movie)

Cascart (Actor)

Josette (Movie)

Barney Barnaby (Actor)

Just Around the Corner (Movie)

Gus (Actor)

Love and Hisses (Movie)

Sugar Boles (Actor)

Meet the People (Movie)

The Commander (Actor)

Merry-Go-Round of 1938 (Movie)

Bert (Actor)

Ship Ahoy (Movie)

"Skip" Owens (Actor)

Sing Your Worries Away (Movie)

Chow Brewster (Actor)

Biography

One of the leading burlesque and vaudeville stars who went on to Broadway musical comedies, Bert Lahr had a fitful and rather unremarkable film career highlighted only by his delightful turn as the Cowardly Lion in the now classic 1939 version of "The Wizard of Oz". Born to a German immigrant father in the Yorkville section of Manhattan, the precocious Lahr dropped out of school at age 15 and quickly found success with the Seven Frolics, a children's stage act. Altering his last name from Lahrheim to Lahr, he went on to a successful career as a burlesque comic (performing "Dutch" characters, replete with accent) and later in an acted paired with his future wife Mercedes Delpino, eventually playing the Palace Theater in 1925. After debuting on Broadway in "Harry Delmar's Revels" in 1927, Lahr had his first major success in a stage musical playing the prize fighter hero of "Hold Everything" (1928-29). Several other musicals followed, notably "Flying High" (1930), Ziegfeld's "Hot-Cha!" (1932) and "The Show Is On" (1936), which teamed him with Beatrice Lillie in a show conceived and directed by Vincente Minnelli. Audiences loved Lahr's penchant for mugging. twisting his face into comic grotesques and ad-libbing hilarious quips. Often onstage, he would perform routines that became signature pieces, like his famous "Stop in the name of the fire house" routine.

Relationships

Mercedes Delpino

Wife
Teamed up for a dance act c. 1919 Had common law marriage until officially wed Aug. 29, 1929 Lahr granted annulment 1940 on the grounds Delpino was clinically insane

Jane Lahr

Daughter
mother, Mildred Lahr survived him

Herbert Lahr

Son
born in 1929 mother, Mercedes Delpino survived him

John Lahr

Son
born on July 12, 1941 mother, Mildred Lahr survived him

Jacob Lahrheim

Father
German immigrant settled in the Yorkville section of Manhattan

Mildred Schroeder

Wife
Married Feb. 11, 1940 until his death Dec. 4, 1967

EDUCATION

droppped out of school at age 15

Milestones

1967

Collapsed during filming of last movie, "The Night They Raided Minsky's"

1964

Won Tony Award for turn as Volpone in the musical "Foxy"

1964

Played the father in the TV production of "The Fantasticks" (NBC)

1962

Appeared in "The Beauty Part" by S J Perelman

1960

Made first appearance in Shakespeare, cast as Bottom in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and Autolycus in "The Winter's Tale"

1959

Starred in the unsold pilot "Mr. O'Malley" (CBS)

1959

Appeared alongside Nancy Walker, Dick Van Dyke and Shelley Berman in the revue "The Girls Against the Boys"

1956

Returned to the stage opposite Tom Ewell in Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, Florida

1956

Had leading roles in two TV productions, "Androcles and the Lion" and "School for Wives"

1956

Played opposite E G Marshall in the Broadway production of "Waiting for Godot"

1951

Starred in the revue "Two on the Aisle"

1949

Reprised stage role in the TV adaptation of "Burlesque" (NBC)

1948

Toured in "Make Mine Manhattan" in the role originated by Sid Caesar; appeared in film version

1946

Made rare dramatic appearance onstage in "Burlesque"

1943

Reunited onstage with Beatrice Lille to star in Billy Rose's "Seven Lively Arts", featuring songs by Cole Porter

1939

Portrayed the Cowardly Lion/Zeke in "The Wizard of Oz"

1936

Played opposite Beatrice Lillie in "The Show Is On", staged and conceived by Vincente Minnelli

1932

Starred in "Hot-Cha!", produced by Florenz Ziegfeld

1931

Feature film debut in "Flying High"

1930

Appeared in the stage show "Flying High"

1927

Broadway debut in "Harry Delmar's Revels"; show closed in 16 weeks

1925

First played NYC's Palace Theater

1919

With Mercedes Delpino, formed act Lahr & Mercedes

1913

At age 18, joined the Columbia burlesque circuit; perfected act playing burlesque "Dutch" characters

1910

Spent three years touring with Seven Frolics, a children's vaudeville act; adopted stage surname of Lahr

Starred opposite Ethel Merman in the Cole Porter musical "DuBarry Was a Lady"

Starred in the Broadway production "Hotel Paradiso", featuring Angela Lansbury

Had year-long run as the prize fighter hero of the musical "Hold Everything"

Appeared in a series of TV commercials for Lay's Potato Chips

Was first comedian and stage manager for "Roseland Girls"

Had biggest success in burlesque in "Keep Smiling"

Served in the US Navy during WWII

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