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November 11, 1906
Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, German Empire
|Died||April 5, 2001
New York City, New York, USA
Brother Theodore (November 11, 1906 – April 5, 2001), born Theodore Gottlieb, was a German-American monologuist and comedian known for rambling, stream-of-consciousness dialogues which he called "stand-up tragedy".
Early years 
Gottlieb was born into a wealthy Jewish family in Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, where his father was a magazine publisher. He attended the University of Cologne. At age 32, under Nazi rule, he was imprisoned at the Dachau concentration camp until he signed over his family's fortune for one Reichsmark. After being deported for chess hustling from Switzerland he went to Austria where Albert Einstein, a family friend and alleged lover of his mother, helped him escape to the United States.
To America 
He worked as a janitor at Stanford University, where he demonstrated his prowess at chess by beating 30 professors simultaneously, and later became a dockworker in San Francisco. He played a big part in Orson Welles's 1946 movie The Stranger. This was one of the several movie appearances he made beginning in the 1940s and continuing into the 1990s. These were mostly small parts in B-movies, although he did provide the voice of Gollum in the 1977 made-for-television animated version of The Hobbit and the follow-up adaptation of The Return of the King (1980). He also voiced Ruhk — Mommy Fortuna's assistant and carnival barker in The Last Unicorn (1982).
Theodore's career as a monologuist began in California in the late 1940s, with dramatic Poe recitals. He moved to New York City, and by the 1950s his monologues, now darkly humorous, had attracted a cult following. In 1958 he presented a one-man show that promoted the idea that human beings should walk on all fours. He reached a wider audience through television, with 36 appearances on The Merv Griffin Show in the 1960s and '70s, and was also a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Dick Cavett Show, and The Joey Bishop Show. After his nightclub and TV appearances in the 1950s and '60s waned, he retired in the mid-1970s.
He was pulled out of retirement and booked by magician Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brooks in the Magic Towne House on the affluent Upper East Side of Manhattan for special weekend midnight performances. Years earlier, Brooks had remembered seeing Brother Theodore drawing packed crowds at small, funky and eclectic clubs all across the Lower East Side (Greenwich and the East Village) and sought him out for his new club. This resulted in a resurgence of interest in Brother Theodore that brought him success in his later years starting with Tom Snyder's Tomorrow Show in 1977 followed by more TV appearances and movies. According to Brooks, it took multiple calls to Theodore to convince him to make a comeback. Theodore's attitude was very bleak, and he felt his career was over. Brooks wanted to charge ten or more dollars, but Theodore insisted on four dollars, so as not to scare people away. The show was a success and ran for several seasons. A picture of the Magic Towne House ad appeared in local New York newspapers such as the Village Voice and The New York Post.
Theodore made 16 appearances on NBC's Late Night with David Letterman in the 1980s. In the early 1980s, he was a regular on the Billy Crystal Show. In 1989 he appeared in the Joe Dante comedy film The 'Burbs. Up until the late 1990s, he was a guest actor in several episodes of Joe Frank: Work in Progress radio show on National Public Radio (NPR).
An article on Theodore appeared in RAVE magazine with color photos. Segments from it are in the book Who's Who in Comedy. Just prior to his death from pneumonia, he recorded several monologues for the controversial documentary series, Disinformation. He appeared in Billy Crystal's mockumentary Don't Get Me Started and voiced the character of an ointment expert on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday version of Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer in 1995.
His headstone reads: Known as Brother Theodore / Solo Performer, Comedian, Metaphysician / "As Long As There is Death, There Is Hope"
- Entertainment of Sinister and Disconcerting Humor (Tears from a Glass Eye, With a Tongue of Madness): (10 in. disc, Proscenium 21)
- Coral Records Presents Theodore: (Coral S 7322)
Television appearances 
- The Joey Bishop Show: 10/31/1967, 11/8/1967 [dates needed]
- The Merv Griffin Show: [dates needed]
- The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder: 10/31/1977
- Late Night with David Letterman (NBC): 9/10/1982, 10/20/1982, 2/3/1983, 5/19/1983, 7/8/1983, 9/7/1983, 2/21/1984, 5/16/1984, 9/17/1984, 12/19/1984, 7/8/1985, 10/31/1985, 9/17/1986, 7/24/1987, 1/13/1988, 2/17/1989
Radio appearances 
- Joe Frank's radio shows. Episodes: The Decline of Spengler, The End, A Tour of the City, Black Light
- Steve Post's The Outside radio show on WBAI in New York during the 1960s and 70s.
- Bob Claster's Funny Stuff on KCRW in Santa Monica, September 24, 1989.
- The Ointment Expert: Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer
- DOUGLAS MARTIN (April 6, 2001). Obituary. New York: New York Times.
-  Adams, Kathleen; August, Melissa; Hartwell, Randy; Martens, Ellin; Pierro, Joseph; Song, Sora (April 16, 2001). Milestones. New York: Time Magazine. p. c.
- See here at Shock Cinema Magazine
- http://groups.google.com/group/alt.fan.letterman Source:alt.fan.letterman
Further reading 
- Martin, Douglas (April 6, 2001). "Theodore Gottlieb, Dark Comedian, Dies at 94". The New York Times. Retrieved on 2008-08-01.
- Adams, Kathleen; August, Melissa; Hartwell, Randy; Martens, Ellin; Pierro, Joseph; Song, Sora (April 16, 2001). "Milestones". Time Magazine. Retrieved on 2008-08-01.
- Brother Theodore at the Internet Movie Database
- "Brother Theodore". Find a Grave. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- a personal memoir of Theodore by Robert "Bob" Martin