Ed Wynn

Actor, Playwright, Producer
Hugely popular vaudeville and Broadway comedian who, after being boycotted by the Shuberts for organizing an actor's strike, continued his success by writing and producing his own shows. Billed as "The Perfect Fool" ... Read more »
Born: 11/08/1886 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Filmography

Actor (21)

American Lifestyles 1986 (Movie)

("The Nightclub Boom" - "Show Business: The Postwar Years") (Actor)

The Gnome-Mobile 1966 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Greatest Story Ever Told 1965 (Movie)

Old Aram (Actor)

Dear Brigitte 1964 (Movie)

The Captain (Actor)

Mary Poppins 1964 (Movie)

Uncle Albert (Actor)

That Darn Cat 1964 (Movie)

Mr Hofstedder (Actor)

Those Calloways 1963 (Movie)

Ed Parker (Actor)

Son of Flubber 1962 (Movie)

AJ Allen (Actor)

The General Electric Theater 1952 - 1962 (TV Show)

Actor

Babes in Toyland 1961 (Movie)

The Toymaker (Actor)

The Absent-Minded Professor 1961 (Movie)

Fire Chief (Actor)

Cinderfella 1960 (Movie)

Fairy Godfather (Actor)

Miracle on 34th Street 1959 - 1960 (TV Show)

Actor

Marjorie Morningstar 1958 (Movie)

Uncle Samson (Actor)

The Diary of Anne Frank 1958 (Movie)

Mr Dussell (Actor)

The Great Man 1957 (Movie)

Paul Beaseley (Actor)

The All-Star Revue 1950 - 1953 (TV Show)

Actor

Alice in Wonderland 1950 (Movie)

of the Mad Hatter (Voice)

Stage Door Canteen 1942 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Chief (Movie)

Henry Summers (Actor)

The Twilight Zone (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

Hugely popular vaudeville and Broadway comedian who, after being boycotted by the Shuberts for organizing an actor's strike, continued his success by writing and producing his own shows. Billed as "The Perfect Fool" after the title of one of his Broadway shows, Wynn was known for his trademark zany hats, misfit clothes, oversized shoes, lisping speech, fluttering hands, squeaky giggling and his exit line, "I'll be back in a flash with more trash." Progenitor of a topsy-turvy career, Wynn conquered radio with his first-time broadcast of a full-length comedy show to a radio audience in 1922 and followed with his own popular radio series as the Texaco "Fire Chief" (1932-35). He pioneered in combining his comedy routines with spoofs of the sponsor's commercial messages. Primarily a visual comic, he reemerged in the following decade as a popular figure in the new medium of television, winning the first Emmy Award as Most Outstanding Live Personality. In the late 50s, after having appeared in only a handful of films, Wynn began a successful career as a character actor, playing his first dramatic role in "The Great Man" (1956) and following with an Oscar-nominated performance as the Dutch dentist in "The Diary of Anne Frank" (1959). He alternated dramatic roles with the comedies "Cinderfella" (1960), "The Absentminded Professor" (1961) and "Mary Poppins" (1964). Father of actor Keenan Wynn (1916-86) who co-starred with him in "The Great Man" and the 1956 Rod Steiger teleplay "Requiem for a Heavyweight".

Relationships

Hilda Keenan

Wife
married in 1914 divorced in 1937 daughter of Irish-American actor Frank Keenan

Joseph Leopold

Father
born near Prague

Minnie Leopold

Mother
born of Sephardic Jews in Istanbul, Turkey

Frieda Mierse

Wife
married 1937 divorced 1939 married one month after divorce from Hilda Keenan

Dorothy Nesbitt

Wife
married 1946 marriage dissolved 1955

Ned Wynn

Grandson
author of autobiographical "We Will Always Live in Beverly Hills" (1991)

Tracy Wynn

Grandson

EDUCATION

Central High School

Philadelphia , Pennsylvania
attended until age 15

Milestones

1964

Had featured role in the Disney film "Mary Poppins"

1957

Played first straight dramatic film role in "The Great Man" (filmed 1956, released 1957)

1956

Played dramatic role in Rod Serling's teleplay, "Requiem for a Heavyweight" on "Playhouse 90"

1940

Returned to Broadway in "Boys and Girls Together"

1932

Starred in his first radio series, "The Fire Chief"

1930

First sound film, "Follow the Leader"

1927

Film debut, "Rubber Heels"

1922

Made first broadcast of a full-length comedy show to a radio audience

1920

Wrote and produced own shows beginning with Broadway musical revue, "Ed Wynn's Carnival"

1919

Joined actor's strike, subsequently boycotted by Shuberts

1914

Made stage debut in "Ziegfeld Follies of 1914"

1910

Broadway debut in short-lived musical, "The Deacon and the Lady"

1903

Began vaudeville career

Teamed with Jack Lewis as Win and Lose for two years

Moved to New York at age 16

Returned home when repertory company went bankrupt; sold hats

Hosted independent variety show on TV, "The Ed Wynn Show"

Suffered nervous breakdown; retired briefly; had a highly publicized income tax settlement for $510,000 with government during 1930s

Starred on TV in own situation comedy, "The Ed Wynn Show"

Became successful solo vaudeville comic before age 18

Ran away from home and joined the Thurber-Nasher Repertoire Company, traveling stage company as backstage helper and occasional onstage player at age 15

Bonus Trivia

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"No one can exceed him in solid, impenetrable asininity. But no one can, at the same time, be more amiable, well-meaning and attractive. Nature gave him a large and solemn face which seemed to promise an unending series of well-intentioned blunders, and his art, succeeds, somehow, in giving the impression that his career has been more the result of the following with an admirable consistency Polonius's advise--"To thine own self be true.'"--Joseph Wood Krutch wrote in "The Nation" (quoted in "New York Times" obituary, June 20, 1966)

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Wynn's name is honored in the last two call letters of radio station WNEW, the only vestige of the proposed Amalgamated Broadcasting System in which he played a prominent role.

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