Veteran actor Jack Warden has died in New York. He was 85.
The Emmy-winning Heaven Can Wait star, who was twice nominated for an Academy Award, was born John H. Lebzelter in September 1920.
He was raised in Louisville, Kentucky, where he was expelled from Du Pont Manuel High School for fighting and decided to put his violent streak to good use in the boxing ring.
After boxing professionally, he then joined the Navy in the late 1930s, and served in China before becoming a Merchant Marine and later signing up for the U.S. Army, where he became a paratrooper with the elite 101st Airborne Division.
A training injury landed him in the hospital, where Warden became inspired to act after reading a play. He turned professional in 1947, making his TV debut a year later and enjoyed steady work until 1952 when he earned his big Broadway break in Golden Boy.
His movie career took off shortly afterwards with an impressive debut opposite Lee Marvin in You’re in the Navy Now. The 1950s also saw Warden appear in movie classics From Here to Eternity, Twelve Angry Men and Run Silent, Run Deep.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Warden became a regular face on TV and won an Emmy for his portrayal of a football coach in drama Brian’s Song in the early ‘70s.
Warden is survived by his wife of 48 years, former French actress Vanda Dupre, and their son Christopher.
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